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Ranking the Nick Workout Classes I’ve Been to So Far

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

A newbie’s honest review

In the midst of juggling classes, clubs, internship searching and all the other grueling demands of college life, it can be difficult to find time for the gym. As somebody who enjoys working out pretty much daily, I was a bit panicked when I saw my spring semester schedule. There was just about no time for my typical gym routine, which usually lasted over an hour. I may be embarrassingly late to the game, but I think I’ve unlocked the secret life hack to staying active in college during the colder months and tighter schedules: workout classes.

It took me two and a half years but I finally discovered the $40 group fitness pass that gives you access to just about every workout class the Nicholas Recreation Center offers, and there are a lot. It’s only February and I’ve already hit six different ones this semester (which isn’t even close to all of them). They’re all an hour or less and have left me feeling energized and absolutely dead at the same time. Let me give you my ranking of the ones I’ve been to so far.

glute strength

This class was a short 30 minutes but still killer. We used weights, a riser and a resistance band to do various strength exercises solely focused on our glutes. It’s perfect if you want to be in and out of there, but I personally think everything hit in this class also gets hit in group strength (which I’ll discuss later). The only reason I have this last is because I think better classes are offered. But it still left my glutes sore the next day!


I feel like putting barre this low may be an unpopular opinion. It’s not that I didn’t love the class, but I tried to attend it three times before finally getting in before it filled up, and the only way I was able to get in was by arriving 20 minutes early. When I arrived there was already a line outside the studio and some people behind me still didn’t get in. When I did finally get in I embarked on a 45-minute battle with my lackluster balance through a series pliés and grand jetes that harmonized with the rhythm of frat remixes played over the speaker. We used a ball, a resistance band and of course, the barre, and I woke up the next day sore in muscles I didn’t even know I had. I highly recommend it if you’re looking to improve your balance, core and leg strength. But forget about Tuesday afternoons if you can’t commit to 20 minutes of sitting on the Nick floor waiting to get in.


I’ve recently entered an on-and-off situationship with yoga. I decided to try the Nick yoga class on a random night when I wasn’t feeling up to a “real” workout. Let me be the first to warn you – it’s a real workout. Yes, it’s slow and flows with your breathing and there’s plenty of rests, but this class will still test your strength. There was no equipment and it was complete with bodyweight exercises, but holding a pose is just as hard (if not harder) than doing fast or weighted movements. If you’re looking for a class that tests your core, flexibility, body awareness and balance but is a little more relaxed than barre and powerflow, I’d definitely recommend the yoga class. 


The powerflow class was like Yoga’s rowdy older brother. It definitely had more strength-based movements and felt more like a perfect blend of pilates and yoga. The movements in this class really test your mind-to-muscle connection by having you move through short, small movements that feel like they shouldn’t be hard, but make your muscles shake like crazy. I know a lot of people like to begin their day with a powerflow class – but I actually like to end my days with them. It’s a perfect solid 45 minutes of strength and balance-based movement and it concludes with moves that allow your body to relax, which is a perfect way to end a long day in my opinion. 


This is my favorite morning class. There is nothing that sets me up for the rest of the day like a good HIIT class. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, so the class consists of long-ish intervals of cardio movements and shorter intervals of strength. The Nick offers both 60 minute and 45 minute classes in which we use a weighted bar, a riser and a mat. There’s four different options of weight for the bar, so you can make the class however challenging you want. When I leave this workout I truly feel like I’ve hit everything. My heart rate is high, my muscles are shaking and my body’s energized – and it feels amazing to be doing something for an hour in the morning before class where you can just turn your brain off!

group strength

We’ve officially made it to my holy grail: the group strength class. My personal favorite kind of workout is muscular-conditioning. Quite honestly though, the machines around the gym intimidate the crap out of me – especially at the Nick where it’s almost always crowded. If you want to get stronger muscles but don’t want to wait for certain machines to be open or just simply don’t know where to start, group strength is for you. They’re offered in 60 minute or 45 minute classes and I always leave feeling like I’ve worked every single one of my muscles. We use a barbell, weights and a riser for this class, and chances are you’re somewhat familiar with most of the moves we do. This is another one where you can change up the weight to suit your strength level; I love this in particular because I can go to the same class over and over but increase the weight each time to continue challenging myself. I would literally recommend this class to anyone – it’s my favorite workout class I’ve ever done!

A benefit all these classes have in common is the fact that you’re immersed in a group setting. Nothing motivates me like being surrounded by people who are also trying to do something good for themselves. It’s easy to make your way through a workout rather lazily when doing it on your own, but harmonizing your movement with the people around you is a guaranteed effective way to hold yourself accountable. I’ve also just had the chance to talk to some really friendly people in these classes. After a while, you start to recognize familiar faces and you even figure out which instructors work best for you. You can certainly keep to yourself the whole time, and sometimes I do (those 7:30am HIIT classes have seen me at my most anti-social). But these classes are also a perfect way to socialize and workout at the same time! I highly recommend purchasing the $40 pass. I know college budgets can be tight, but signing up for the individual classes can be up to $10 each, so if you attend more than four a semester, you’ve already made your money back (girl math?). If you’re motivated by a group setting, tight time to exercise and enjoy variety and experimentation in your workouts, give the Nick workout classes a go! 

Madison Wismer

Wisconsin '25

Hi, I'm Maddie! I'm from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I'm a junior studying English and Elementary Education at UW-Madison. I love listening to podcasts, reading and writing, and at any given moment there's a 95% chance I'm on FaceTime with one of my sisters. I'm so excited to share about my experiences with you!