We Tried Group Fitness at UWF and Here’s What Happened

Kickboxing with Grace

When: Tuesday/Thursday 4:15-5 p.m.

Where: Blue Studio

Level 1-3

Author: Anna Kellner

My fitness level: I walk to school everyday and I can do approximately 1.3 pushups.

3 things I loved:

1. The majority of students in this class are female and that gives it a fun and empowering vibe. I’m sure it would be fun if other gendered people were there, but there’s something about a bunch of small girls punching things in the corner of the gym that makes me really happy.

2. Grace, the instructor, is an energetic and upbeat angel on Earth. She doesn’t critique, but she politely instructs. She also turns the music up loud enough to drown out your insecurities!

3. On busy days, you get to team up with your gym buddy on a punching bag. If you don’t have a predetermined gym buddy, everyone in the class is so positive and encouraging that you’re sure to be fast friends.

3 things I disliked:

1. My hands get so sweaty in those gloves!

2. I honestly can’t think of anything else that I dislike.

How I felt during the workout:

I’m sweaty, I’m awkwardly staring at myself in the mirror and I have abominable hand-eye coordination. Luckily, everyone else is sweaty and awkward too. I feel powerful, and I like that I can blow off a little steam in a constructive way.

How I felt after the workout:

My body hurts but I was successfully in motion for 45 minutes, so that’s definitely a win! You get out what you put into this class. If you don’t push yourself, you’ll leave feeling like you had a light workout. If you push yourself, you can leave drenched in sweat and aching.

Paddleboard Yoga with Alisha

When: Tuesday/Thursday 1-2 p.m.

Where: Aquatic Center

Level 1-3

Author: Sara Janosik

My fitness level: I run 1-3 miles everyday, but pretty slowly.

3 things I loved:

  1. The first time I ever tried yoga was in this class. It was probably not the best way to start, but it wasn’t as hard as you would think. Most of the class is super beginner-friendly. Toward the end of the class, Alisha gives you the chance to try a few harder moves.

  2. Having to balance on the board adds an extra challenge to the workout. It makes downward dog more difficult. However, I’ve never fallen into the water and it is rare that someone does.

  3. The environment is relaxing despite the constant splashing. Alisha plays soothing music and has a very calming voice as well.

3 things I disliked:

  1. The water can be fairly cold sometimes, and you have to completely submerge yourself.

  2. There are only nine spots and it fills up fast, so make sure you get there at least 20 minutes early!

  3. The boards are heavy, but maybe I’m just weak.

How I felt during the workout:

I feel super relaxed most of the time. I don’t sweat that much because I’m wearing minimal clothing and will occasionally get a splash of water. Because I’m not an avid yogi, I sometimes feel awkward and unathletic, but everyone is accepting.

How I felt after the workout:

After the workout, I feel relaxed and at ease. I was in a much better mood the rest of the day. The day after I was sore.

Hatha Yoga with Trevin

When: Monday/Wednesday 1-2 p.m.

Where: Blue Studio

Fitness Level: 1-3 (Beginners Class)  

Author: Kathryn Wisenbaker

My fitness level: I can touch my toes but don’t expect me to do a push up

3 things I loved:

  1. Small groups make the workout more personal and more comfortable. Trevin is very personable, so it made it easier to be in there were some people I have never seen in my life.

  2. It was easy to follow along with everyone. We all followed the instructor, but we were able to put our own spin on each pose.

  3. I didn’t have to provide my own yoga mat to try out this class. Mats are provided by the Rec Center, which helped since the only yoga related thing I owned was yoga pants that were never used for yoga before now.

3 things I disliked:

  1. I have no core strength, which didn’t help me because that is all this yoga class focuses on. Planking is not a trend that I was a part of and may never be able to be.  

  2. All the breathing made me yawn so much that I actually would have gone to sleep in child’s pose if I was by myself.

  3. Don’t wear socks when doing yoga. I followed Trevin and wore my socks when we started yoga, but ended up taking them off halfway into the class because it became so uncomfortable.

How I felt during the workout:

What was going through my head was, “Oh my goodness I am so under prepared for this class.” However, I felt that it was a positive way I could reduce my stress that I always build up and never have a way to release it.

How I felt after this work: After the workout driving home, I felt great and better for the rest of the day. Normally I can’t make it through a 15 hour day without at least a cat nap or an energy drink. I was able to go through the rest of my day awake with energy. However, the day after my core area was so sore from the planking and other positions. It still feels worth it though!

Yoga Abs with Alisha

When: Tuesday/Thursday 8:15-8:45 a.m.

Where: Blue Studio

Level 1-3

Author: Evangeline Murphy

My fitness level: I sit up to pull my sheets up and I walk to the fridge.

3 things I loved:

  1. I love yoga and I used to do it quite often. I did not think this would be much different than a regular yoga class, just more concentrated on the core. I have arthritis, so any class that is about stretching already makes me feel good.

  2. I did like the concentration on the abs. I do need to tone and cut down, and while I like full body workouts, I prefer workouts that focus on just one area for the day.  

  3. The environment is calming and relaxed. As Sara mentioned before, Alisha sets a nice tone for the whole experience with music. She is also thorough explaining the exercises we are doing that day.

3 things I disliked:

  1. I had to wake up earlier than normal; I love all the sleep I can get.

  2. I cannot plank. I can barely hold downward dog, or balance myself on my bottom because I am weak and have no strength. You can only get better though, right?

  3. I yawned a lot in my class. I’m not sure if it was because I woke up early or if all the deep breathing really relaxed me.

How I felt during the workout:

I realized how out of shape I am. I don’t have a lot of strength, so I was unable to do the poses correctly, or for very long. The class was more intense than I had assumed. But I still loved it, the music and the deep breathing helped me relax and enjoy the class.

How I felt after the workout:

After the workout, I was sore. Not only did my core hurt, which you would expect from this type of class, but my back hurt as well. I don’t know if I pulled something, my arthritis acting up, or I stretched something that wasn’t used to stretching, but it was difficult to move much for days days after. While I didn’t enjoy that aspect, I would totally do it again. I just need to get better at it and remember to stretch afterward.

Cover image via YMCA Auckland