Group Fitness classes offer students alternate ways to work out


As UNF students go back to class, hit up the Osprey Café and scarf down the free food that is everywhere at events, there are several options on campus to help them take the calories off.

Sure you can run the loop, play racquetball at the UNF Arena or lift some weights in the gym, but with the UNF Group Fitness program, you can dance to Latin or hip-hop music, belly dance and even spin your way into great shape. The Dottie Dorion Fitness Center and the Arena offer numerous classes that include high intensity dance, a couple styles of yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, toning, abs and spinning classes.

To reward the students and keep them motivated to workout, there is a prize system. At each class, students’ I.D.s are scanned, and the instructors keep track of the total number of group fitness classes each student participates in every semester. The top prize is a free session with a personal trainer at the fitness center, normally valued at $75.

Instructor Carla Shayman, who is in charge of the group fitness program at the fitness center, is teaching five classes this semester. She specializes in step and burn, spin and sculpt, and killer abs workouts.

“I like teaching the spin and sculpt class because the students really get into it,” Shayman said. “But step and burn is my favorite, and it’s gaining popularity.”

Spinning involves riding a stationary bike that tours through road races and hill climbs, while killer abs gives students a complete abdominal and lower back experience. Even with all the different workouts, Shayman said she doesn’t feel burned out from teaching so many classes.

“You don’t think about yourself with all I do,” she said. “Instead I think about the students, and that makes it all rewarding.”

The number of students in each class varies, depending on the type of exercises. In spring, attendance usually drops because students are busier, Shayman said. But in the fall, most classes get about 20 students, except for abs, which has a regular crowd of 40 to 50 students, and Zumba reaches 40 to 60 in attendance.

Zumba is a class focused on rhythmic dancing and includes international and hip-hop genres of music as well, Theresa Kistel said, instructor for the Zumba class who brought it back to UNF two years ago. Students can burn calories in the class by participating in Latin style dances.

“If I had the choice between a treadmill or Zumba class, it would be a no-brainer,” said Kistel. “The class is never boring, and it’s different from any other exercise program.”

Although Zumba places a lot of emphasis on beats, it’s not the only workout class that revolves around music. Every instructor picks certain styles and songs to play during their individual classes.

“We put a lot of thought into our music,” Shayman said. “But the workout is more important to the students.”

To keep tabs on the group fitness schedule and details on classes, visit the fitness center or the arena.