Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Campus Recreation

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo/ GVSU Campus Recreation

Rachel McLaughlin

Exercise classes at Grand Valley State University are now a group event, with fitness and wellness classes like Zumba, Groove, Power Yoga and Spinning becoming more available to students as well as the public.

Zumba, an international dance inspired workout, is all about creating an energizing “come party” atmosphere to make the students of Grand Valley State want to exercise and get healthy. If not the 45-minute Zumba course, students are joining the next most popular class: Groove.

“People enjoy Groove because you don’t have to be on beat, you don’t have to copy what the instructor does – you are free to do whatever you want, how you want – you can’t get the move wrong. Groove’s 2 to 3 easy moves make it fun, creative, and inspirational to each participant,” said Groove and Zumba instructor Ashton Cotter.

For those not quite sold on dancing, there are other alternatives such as spinning or the newest class format called Body Blast taught by Sabrina Norcia. For Norcia, exercise is more than just looking good.

“I looked up to instructors and considered them to be my role models. They were fit, smart, and enthusiastic,” Norcia said. “I considered them ‘superior to the general student body’ because I never saw them outside of their classes, like we never see movie stars after a movie, and they were always so positive and motivational, which was a nice break from stress and school work. Their lives seemed exclusive, and there was always a part of me that wondered how they became such inspiring figures. I thought to myself one day after a TurboKick class, ‘Wow. I wish I could teach a class like this and be someone’s role model.’”

Just for fun, Norcia decided to take a Turbokick class certification and was thrilled when Campus Recreation offered her a job as an official Group Exercise Turbokick class instructor.
“It has been a life changing experience; this opportunity has helped me gain great leadership skills and has allowed me to reach out to fellow students around me on a personal level in terms of inspiring and motivating others to energize their life and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is something I value as a current student nurse. Being an instructor has given me the chance to encourage my big Italian family to participate in health goals like 5K walks and runs,” Norcia said. “This opportunity has impacted my life as a whole.”

At least a handful of the Mind/Body and Land/Spin instructors have made health a part of their long-term career goals due in part to their experience teaching certain courses of group exercise.

Two-year Spinning instructor Emma Patrick, who is majoring in Exercise Science: Health & Fitness Instruction, is one of these instructors. Being a trainer has proven itself to be not only about the experiences for the instructors but about the class participants and what they take away from their involvement there so class instructors try and make their sessions as positive and enjoyable as can be.

“The SPIN studio has twelve participant bikes and one instructor bike. The lights are dimmed in the room and the music is cranked up- ranging in all varieties of music, giving everyone something to enjoy in a fun upbeat environment,” Patrick said.

“I feel that with group exercise you not only get a physical workout, but also a mental/social workout as well. You can bring your friends, and meet new ones. Group exercise is a great stress relief for many, including me. I can show my creative side with my routines, have fun, enjoy others having fun, and get a great workout,” said first-year Zumba instructor Amber Mistopoulos.

Yoga is a prime example of how a relaxant and stress reliever can also be a beneficial exercise that is healthy for the body as well as the mind.

“I personally feel Power Yoga is a nice variation of so called stereotypical yoga of just relaxing and stretching to where people need to try it to find it’s more (of) an athletic practice. Yoga is low key to where I can help people of all levels during the class and it doesn’t seem out of place or distracting. It has so many benefits and it’s awesome to see people succeed and to know they want to come back,” said Power Yoga instructor Jaclyn Catenacci.

Students who want to find out more information on the weekly class schedules, reserving a bike for Spinning, and purchasing Land/Spinning, Mind/Body, or Combo passes can sign onto Classes are on a drop-in basis, and with the passes students and non-students alike can go to as many classes within the chosen passes’ class options as many times a week as they would like.

[email protected]