Review: Is group fitness on campus a hit or a miss?

One student’s first try at Zumba

Tanajia Moye-Green

As college students are bombarded with tons of different fees for clubs, Greek life, and Mock Con, it’s crucial for us to learn how to be conservative with our money and time. Since fitness classes on campus were free from September 9 to September 12, I decided to give Zumba a trial run to check out whether group fitness is something I would consider seriously. 

The university offers a great selection of group fitness classes and pricing plans, including the Student 10 Class Pass for $25, the Student 19-20 Term (unlimited classes) for $50 and the Student Academic Year 2019 (unlimited classes) for $100. 

I walked into the cozy fitness studio nestled within the Third-Year Fitness Center. Upon first glance, I was taken aback because the people within the room each came from starkly different backgrounds—there was so much diversity in terms of age, size, and race. Everyone was already laughing with one another and discussing how uneventful their days had been when I walked in. The environment was so warm and welcoming that I immediately felt at ease (though not going to lie, the gigantic mirrors covering most of the walls at first had had me second-guessing my existence). 

Despite knowing that I would be attending Zumba and trying to get a feel for the class overall, I still hadn’t made any plans to actually participate within the class as I am more talk than action most times. But a woman told me to set my bag down, saying the class made it hard for someone to just sit back and watch. 

The class officially started with a sprinkle of motivational words by the exuberant instructor, who assured us all that our best was enough as these workouts do get pretty intense and that we should feel free to take as many breaks as needed. She also warned us first-timers that the first class is always the hardest as we aren’t used to the choreography yet. I thought, “Bet.”

The instructor then pressed play on the workout music. She started sporadically moving around, managing to integrate about a million dance moves into three verses of the song, and somehow still stayed on beat. I awkwardly fumbled about, desperately trying to keep up with her while also not flailing my limbs about and hitting the woman next to me (spoiler alert: my attempts failed).

Gradually, I got the hang of the choreography and had a blast twirling around, doing side lunges, and waving my arms about. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel self-conscious at all because everyone gave each other encouraging smiles and seemed to be too wrapped up in the music and moves to pay attention to anyone else.

I danced to about five songs before I had to leave, but I honestly felt like I could have danced the day and night away without any qualms. It was a truly inclusive and invigorating space that had me eagerly tripping over my feet and doing some high-intensity fist pumps to energetic, bouncy beats. I never once felt as dumb as I most certainly looked (I’m not the most coordinated) because everyone was too far swept in high spirits as the music blasted and the instructor stood at the front of the fitness center eagerly prodding us on. I felt like that was what the best part of the class was: getting a few seconds to go crazy and go stupid in a lighthearted, engaging class full of others, with thoughts of class and homework and stress being far out of reach.

I left the class feeling refreshed and a little sore, but I am so stoked for the next Zumba class. Sure, the Group Fitness costs may seem a little pricey, especially when compared to the fact that the gym is completely free for students. But these classes have something more to offer that the gym doesn’t necessarily quite manage for me: complete immersion. 

To the woman who told me to put my bag down and enjoy the moment: you rock!