Students take the lead in group fitness classes

Campus Rec offers a variety of student-led classes for free

Katie Leibel
Staff Writer

Students have become the teachers in student-led fitness classes on campus.

When current Campus Recreation Director Todd Pfingsten started working in Campus Recreation in the fall of 1986, group fitness classes were already being offered. It hasn’t changed since then, and the classes have been beneficial to those teaching and those participating in the classes.

Currently, 22 group fitness classes are held every week Monday through Friday. Classes are typically held in Pennington Hall 102 and Highland North 225.

Fitness classes range from yoga, meditation, core conditioning, Zumba, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Thai dance, cardio based classes, Hip Hop, circuit training, strength training and stretching classes.

All of the instructors for the fitness classes are student employees. Some classes, such as Zumba, need certified instructors, while others can be taught by almost anyone that has some experience.

Carly Hopper, program coordinator of Fitness and Wellness Programs, is always looking for new students to teach fitness classes. She stated that when hiring student instructors, she looks for the ones who have a passion for what they do and talks with them about any prior teaching experience they may have.

Some of the benefits the instructors receive include: being paid to work out, learning from their students, gaining experience by teaching fitness classes and more. The students that participate in these classes also benefit from them.

“Group fitness classes not only offer participants a set time to exercise, but also provides an opportunity for friends to be active together and/or meet new people who also want to be physically active,” Hopper said.

The classes are free to students that want to attend. About 4,000 participants attended group fitness classes in fall of 2017.

“As a participant, you don’t have to plan your work out. All you need to do is show up, sweat, and have fun,” Hopper added.

Hopper believes the group fitness classes are successful, with anywhere from 9,000-12,000 participants who attend group fitness classes in a year.

She also added that the talented instructors help the classes to be successful as they can be a huge draw for the participants.

“Participants may come to class because of the time or day it is offered; but, if they can connect with the instructor and other participants in the class they will come back because they enjoy the whole package,” she said.

Hopper encourages anyone looking to or considering teaching a class to reach out to her. She started teaching classes in 1990. She stresses that there is a big difference between participating in a classes and teaching or planning fun and safe workouts, but she is willing to talk with anyone interested in the position.

Lastly, Hopper wants to remind everyone that, “everybody and anybody, regardless of their health, fitness level, experience or lack of experience, is welcome in group fitness classes. You need to learn to love your body; it is the only place you have to live.”

A full list of classes is available online here. Anyone interested in teaching a class is encouraged to reach out to Hopper.

Photo: (David Bassey | MSU Reporter)

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