By Kelly Corbett
Social Media Editor
This semester, the College’s Group Fitness Program initiated a membership fee for students to attend the classes offered in the Recreation Center Fitness Center and the Travers and Wolfe Fitness Center. For $25, students can find their inner zen during yoga, release their mighty uppercut punch during kickboxing or sweat through intervals of push-ups and burpees in Pump Up the Pulse.
Previously, the Group Fitness classes were free to all students. Until last semester, students would rhythmically groove to top tunes in Zumba or strengthen their core in Ab Blast, free of charge.
Since classes have been free for so long, what prompted this new fee?
Fitness Center Administrator David Ilaria said that with this funding, the Office of Recreation was able to “increase the number of classes from 20 hours per week up to 35 hours per week,” since they were able to compensate the class instructors for more hours. Also, new equipment was purchased to allow for a larger variety of classes.
This semester, Insanity started being offered, defined as “a HIIT (high intensity interval training) class that tones and strengthens the whole body,” according to the the College’s Recreation Center Fitness website.
“Basically all of the money being made by implementing this fee is going directly back into the program to make it better and to enable us to offer more to the students on campus,” said Gina Costanzo, a yoga instructor at the College. “But I have noticed a difference in attendance from last year to this year since implementing this fee.”
As of last month, there are 165 students enrolled in the classes, according to Ilaria. He said that fewer students enrolled than in previous years. Ilaria also said that a spinning class is in the works for the spring semester.
“We have funds approved and plan to bring in 12 group cycling bikes later this semester,” he said, which would allow the Office of Recreation “to offer some trial classes to our existing members in order to build interest for next semester.”
Furthermore, new yoga mats and yoga blocks are on the way, according to Ilaria. A portion of the funds will also be used in supplementing the cost of re-organizing and equipping the Travers and Wolfe Fitness Center, which just reopened this semester, Ilaria said.
The Group Fitness students are more than just students who have a passion for a certain type of exercise. They are certified instructors who not only dedicate their time to perfecting their poses and raising their heartbeats, but who also spent a large sum of money and hours of commitment to get certified. Depending on where the instructors receive their certification and what type of certification they earn, the price of training may vary. After being certified, they must coordinate workout routines for their weekly class, just as teachers create lessons plans.
To become a yoga instructor, one must complete 200 hours of training. Costanzo completed her training at Kripalu, a yoga retreat center in Massachusetts. She lived there for 27 days, with eight hours of training each day and one day off each week. Her day would begin at 6 a.m and end at 8 p.m.
“It was a really great experience. It was really busy and packed full of information,” Costanzo said. “We were able to be completely immersed in living our yoga practice for the entire 27 days that we were there.”
During her training, she was required to complete five practice sessions, where she would instruct a class to other students in the program, being observed by a certified instructor for two of these classes.
Costanzo paid $3,200 for her training and says that most teacher-training programs run between $2,500 and $5,000.
In comparison to classes offered in fitness center chains, such as Retro Fitness, students are paying much less at the College for classes than at other local facilities. According to the Lawrenceville Retro Fitness website, members pay a monthly fee of $19.99, an extra $9.99 if they want to attend fitness classes and an enrollment and maintenance fee. That is a significantly larger amount compared to the $25 students pay at the College, which covers the four months during a semester.
While the fee may have driven some students out of the classes, one student finds solace in a smaller class as the instructor is now able to work more closely with students to perfect their form.
“The fee isn’t all the bad,” sophomore biology major Kristin Sorrentino said. “If you do the math, by going to a class once a week, you’re really only paying a dollar or two a class anyway.”
The Rec Center Fitness Studio, home to the high energy jumps and swift footwork of students laced in Nikes, currently hosts a Barre class, a Kickboxing class, Ab Blast, Pump Up the Pulse, Boot Camp, Insanity and several different Zumba classes. The Travers and Wolfe Fitness Studio hosts a variety of yoga classes, including Yoga, YogaFit and regular and advanced yoga stream classes. Classes are taught throughout the week and the schedule can be found on the College’s Group Fitness website.