Athlete-students

free, fun and together: group exercises classes

Kiara Jackson

More stories from Kiara Jackson

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Photo by Marisa Valdez

I hate working out. Well… it’s a mutual love-hate relationship at the very least. 

As a college student, working out is always one of the hardest things to fit into my very busy schedule. With the very little free time that I do have, I don’t always want to be spending it jogging on a treadmill or lifting weights. 

Sometimes I need a way to be engaged in my workouts, while also having fun and hanging out with friends. 

As someone who has pretty bad asthma which impedes my ability to use the hill for exercise, and also someone who is way too uncoordinated to use rock climbing as a way to stay in shape, this doesn’t leave me many other options to stay active while living on campus. 

I have a gym membership and use it from time to time, but that’s expensive and gets boring really fast. Plus, it doesn’t really get you excited to stay active. 

This is why I use the UW-Eau Claire free group exercise classes

I know, I know, boring! But, hear me out… they aren’t. Well, at least I don’t think so and neither does second-year, rehab science major and group exercise instructor, Ruby Kosiak. (I know… a real convincing argument I got there.) 

“We offer a wide variety of group exercises so that it can fit everyone’s desires and needs,” Kosiak said. “It’s a great way to get rid of stress and I feel like we make it a very inclusive environment.” 

As someone who has tried almost all of the group exercise options UW-Eau Claire’s campus has to offer, I am here to tell you which classes are the most fun and what are the pros and cons for each exercise option.

Strength and Tone

Ten out of ten. This is in my top two classes that I have tried so far. I took this class with instructor Savy and she is lots of fun, has the best playlists and never judges you for needing a breather.

This class is a fun, music-filled, mix of weightlifting, High Intesity Interval Training, or HIIT, exercises and a healthy balance of core, legs and arms strengthening. This class has no cons for me. 

Cycling

Eight out of ten. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy this class but sometimes my bad hips and knees just can not take the constant rotation. 

This class is exactly what it sounds like! It involves stationary cycling, some good music, and of course instructions giving you directions for speed and intensity. 

I usually take this class with Jackie, and let me tell you, when you are ready to give up the only thing that’s going to keep you motivated is her voice telling you that you can do it as she pounds away on that bike. I don’t know how she does it. 

This class is great cardio, but if you have bad joints I’d say try a different class. 

Yoga

Six out of ten. Personally, I’m not really a yoga person, so don’t take my score too seriously for this one. 

There are many different yoga classes offered on campus from meditation yoga to yoga sculpt, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the instructors. 

Pros are that the class is calming and low intensity. A con, at least for me, is that you don’t really feel like you worked out afterwards. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or something but I just never walk away satisfied. 

Kickboxing

Ten out of ten. This is my favorite class. It’s a mix of dance, strengthening and boxing that I absolutely love. Sadly, the class is only available once per week and I have class at that time. 

Pros are that the class keeps you active, engaged and laughing the entire time, and honestly there are no cons for this one either!

Zumba

Eight out of ten. This is the class that I took with Ruby, and don’t get me wrong she is great, but gosh that class is embarrassing.

I mean, I am by no means a dancer and now I’ve put myself in a space for people to see me dancing – how does she even make her hips move like that? This class is so much fun and always has good vibes but it is not for the easily embarrassed.

Jackson can be reached at [email protected]