While many students make pushing the snooze button a part of their morning routines, senior Kate Harder makes pushing the pedals on her a stationary bike at 6:15 a.m. part of hers.
Harder, who has been in her routine of spinning three mornings a week for about a year, said the morning classes help her feel more organized and leave her with more energy for the rest of her day.
“If I don’t get (exercising) in in the morning, I won’t do it at all,” she said.
But all patrons are different, and according to Miami University kinesiology and health instructor Brian Phillips, the most important thing is setting a routine to stick with.
The Recreational Sports Center (RSC) offers a wide range of classes and workshops-from spinning to Indian classical dance-allowing patrons to add variety, fun and friends to fitness routines. And what motivates patrons to attend these classes, and instructors to teach even the earliest time slots, varies according to personal fitness routines.
Adding variety to a workout is important according to Phillips, as variety essentially is cross-training.
“It is really good to shock your system,” he said. “If your body gets used to doing the same thing over and over and over it stops adapting. If people are looking for body fat loss and increasing aerobic activity, eventually you are going to plateau and you are not going to get as much out of it,” Philips said.
Workshops are one way the RSC has been adding variety over the past few years. They are more specific activities that are not offered as part of the regular group fitness schedule or included in the group fitness passes, explained Mindy Stephens, assistant director of fitness and marketing.
The workshops are open to both students and community members and the length, price, participation and especially the content vary among them. One such example is hip-hop, which has remained a favorite, Stephens explained. Sophomore Andrea Bosco teaches both the hip-hop dance and the hip-hop II workshops. Bosco has been dancing since she was seven years old, was the captain of her high school dance team and wanted to find a way to continue dancing while at school. She approached administration at the RSC last year to see if she would be able to teach, and after auditioning last December, Bosco taught a kid’s dance workshop during the spring semester.
“(Hip-hop) is one of the best ways to express yourself through dance,” said Bosco, who has also practiced jazz and ballet. “You can add your own style to it.”
Since each of her workshops are only four weeks long, she believes participants can truly become immersed in the dances and are traditionally excited about learning routines. And although Bosco does work on some specific routines, her main focus isn’t on learning the steps, rather on participants having fun throughout the instruction.
On the other hand, senior Kavita Patel, the instructor for the Introduction to Contemporary Indian Classical Dance, teaches a very specific routine in her workshop that is performed at Miami’s annual Diwali celebration. Although the entire dance can’t be learned during the workshop, Patel meets with patrons out of class if they are interested in learning the entirety of the routine.
Patel has been dancing since she was eight years old and went through eight years of dance training before a three-hour graduation ceremony that gave her the qualification to teach.
After coming to college, Patel realized how much she missed dancing and like Bosco, asked RSC administration if she could teach.
Even though her participants are learning classical steps, her instruction fuses it with modern songs.
Dive on in
Fusion such as this is common at the RSC, and from the classes of Step, Spin and Sculpt to Yoga-Pilates, instruction is combining more and more fitness elements. One of the newer options is Poolates, part of the RSC’s water fitness program, which ranks among the top 50 in the country. The water fitness program also incorporates Tai Chi, both Deep and Shallow Water Power courses and Aqua Toners.
“We choose (the courses) based on the number of people that attend, so throughout the years we have added more classes,” Stephens said. “Poolates is one of our newest and just now this semester are getting some students more than I have seen. But they are mostly attended by community members.”
Marketing attempts to attract more students have not been successful in the past said Stephens, including last year’s “liquid lunch program,” which timed classes to coordinate with students’ class breaks.
“(Water aerobic classes are) good for students, but it think they have that stereotype in their head that it is for old people,” she said.
Phillips, as the kinesiology and health instructor, explained that one of the major benefits of water aerobics is that it lowers the impact and stress on the joints, still allowing participants to get the resistance, without the strain.
Becoming the expert
Certification and training is required for all RSC instructors and is available through the RSC, except for Jazzercise training, which is only available through the Jazzercise, Inc. franchise. Senior Danielle Dublo went through this training while she was home for the summer of 2006 in the Cleveland area. Dublo grew up with an aunt who was an instructor and she became certified when her aunt renewed her certification.
Dublo teaches Jazzercise four days a week, and while she does not have the flexibility to create her own routines or music playlists because of the franchise requirements, she does try to learn new routines once a week.
The time commitment doesn’t bother Dublo because if she wasn’t teaching, she said she would be taking the classes, regardless.
First-year Katie McCarthy is a regular in Dublo’s class. Although she also attends a kickboxing class, she attends Jazzercise at least twice a week as part of her working out routine.
McCarthy knows the difference a good instructor can make.
“Danielle, she’s one of the main reasons I go,” she said.
Dublo loves Jazzercise because it is an energetic and inspiring way to exercise.
“I always leave class feeling good,” she said. “I don’t see myself stopping (taking classes) for a long time.”
McCarthy, who danced since she was little, believes Jazzercise is a great way to stay in shape without feeling like she is actually working out.
Harder isn’t the only early bird at the RSC, although none of her friends have been able to stick out the early wakeup call with her.
Her traditional spinning class is usually comprised of approximately 10 people, with five or six who are regulars. “Those people expect me to be there,” Harder said.
The trust test for her comes in the winter.
“You have to walk when it’s dark out and you’re freezing,” Harder said. “All you want to do is crawl into bed.”
Phillips said the time of day isn’t the important factor with fitness.
“People think if they work out before they eat breakfast it is better, but in the long run of it really doesn’t make that much of a difference,” Phillips said. “Sticking to it is the biggest one, and if someone has the time to do it.”
Harder makes the time. It takes her about two weeks to get into the routine of getting up at 5:30 a.m., then it becomes almost a habit. She also goes to bed by 11 p.m. on the weeknights to get enough rest.
The class is led by Holly Wilson who teaches additional spinning, yoga and Pilates classes the RSC.
“I like to work out in the mornings,” Wilson said. “I don’t sleep in.”
Both Harder and Wilson chose the early morning classes mainly because they better fit their schedules. Harder is a traditional college student, whereas Wilson has a job with the Butler County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board.
Wilson said the early morning patrons at the RSC have a particular drive.
“Early morning workouts are more intrinsically motivated,” Wilson said. “That’s not because of me. That’s because of them.”
She teaches 10 classes a week and almost always has the first class of the day. Wilson credits her class’s regularity to her students who are already self-motivated and make working out a priority.
But spinning isn’t Wilson’s only instructing priority, as she also found yoga to be a well-rounded workout. She said she became interested in yoga the first time she tried it.
“I came here and yoga was different than anything I’d done,” she said. “I took a Vinyasa yoga class and it kicked my butt.”
The Vinyasa yoga class is a more advanced version of a stretching-focused beginner class. “Vinyasa is a moderate aerobic workout for most people,” Wilson said. “It’s a series of movements.”
Wilson was hooked immediately to yoga and quickly became certified to teach.
Wilson also gained certification in Pilates when she was told that it would complement her yoga practice. She creates her own routines and said sometimes she gets her inspiration by attending other people’s classes.
However, Miami students aren’t the only ones showing up for Wilson’s morning classes. Retired Talawanda teacher Barbara Cox has been attending her yoga class five days a week for about three or four years.
Cox, who has been a member of the RSC since it first opened 13 years ago, said she first tried yoga six years ago with a different instructor and only went for a semester. About three or four years ago, a friend encouraged her to give yoga another try and she fell in love with it.
“I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was 30,” Cox said, explaining that she is more flexible, stronger and has improved balance. “It’s a part of me now.”
In the yoga classes, Cox said there are more students than non-students. However, she said the older people are better than the younger people, because they have been there for a longer time. In general, Cox likes working out at the RSC, because she said the young people give her energy.
“It’s like a lifeline,” she said.
Phillips maintains that whatever it is that gets members to the gym is what is important, whether it is early morning classes, Indian dance or an enthusiastic class instructor.
“People have to keep in mind with what their goal is and tailored what they are doing to fit with their goal,” he said.
He also cautious patrons to not jump back into old routines if they have taken some time off. Whether it’s a morning spin, afternoon Jazzercise, Poolates or even an Indian dance or hip-hop workshop, Phillips advice holds: “Start slow, don’t try to be a hero the first time in there.”