By Erin Levasseur, Staff Writer
With February upon us, our New Year’s resolutions to stay in shape seem to many like an ambitious dream made long ago. However, the UMF Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) has updated its group fitness space, creating a larger, more secluded room to assist students and community members alike in staying on track with their fitness goals.
Alison Thayer, Assistant Director of Fitness and PHE Coordinator, shared her positive thoughts about the spacious new layout and the privacy it provides group fitness participants. “Despite what some people think, it is actually a bigger space,” Thayer said. “I think gives them a greater sense of comfort and less of a fish in the fishbowl feeling. It can be vulnerable for people, being the visual attraction of everyone in here.”
Willa Barron, a new cardio PHE teacher and assistant Zumba instructor, is also excited about the new group fitness area. “I absolutely love the group fitness area because it is so much better than what it used to be; there is much more privacy,” Barron said. “I mean, it would be great if there was a building dedicated to group fitness, but one step at a time.”
Since the layout change occurred, Thayer noted that twice as many people have been attending group fitness classes. Thayer said, “We increased the number of classes as a result, and all of the classes are averaging great numbers.”
Thayer hopes that more people will branch out from their regular workout routine and try a group fitness class. Thayer said that these classes help hold people accountable for their workout and provide a sense of community and support.
“I know even when I used to participate in group fitness it was easy to want to quit, but you can’t walk out of a class,” Thayer said. “Nobody wants to be the person that walks out of a class, not that it’s a bad thing. People want to quit, but they have it within them to finish to the end.”
Anna Dowling, a participant in group fitness, agrees. “I really like the idea that everyone who is taking the class with you is going through the same thing as you. It makes it easier to work hard.”
Barron hopes to see more people in her classes, as well. “I enjoy getting the people excited about working out and moving,” Barron said. “I want people to know that that FRC is not a scary place, but it is in fact welcoming. There are always instructors and staff willing to help, classes one can take, and equipment to use.”
Thayer added that most group fitness classes are taught by students. “People get used to seeing community instructors in here, but it’s always part of our mission to be training future instructors. People have forgotten that as part of the university system we are an educational facility for our students,” Thayer said. “One of our main purposes and goals is to educate them to be competent, knowledgeable, safe instructors in whatever it is that they to if it’s swimming or personal training. They can gain knowledge, experience, and training to further instruction in the real world with resume builders.”