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UNF Spinnaker

Exposed: What are Wellness Center classes like?

The Student Wellness Complex, recognized as a Top 10 building at the American Institute of Architects Florida Convention, houses a state-of-the-art fitness complex alongside a series of classes guaranteed to get you in shape. Not all classes are created equal, so the high intensity classes will have you feeling the burn. These classes are a fun way to change up your workout routine and get fit with support from a trained instructor.

Two reporters from Spinnaker, Patrick Grabowski and Rachel Cazares, attended a couple of these classes to test out just how challenging they really are. Patrick went out for Tabata class, and Rachel went out to a HIIT Training class.

Some of the classes are fit to get a good workout in for those who don’t regularly go to the Wellness Center, but many of the classes are pretty rigorous for students who need a tougher workout to get them tired.

Here’s a quick overview of how fit we (think) we are, so you can judge for yourself how hard the class will be for you. If you’re still not sure, the Paul Shirley Assessment Center (PSAC) within the Wellness Center can do a physical fitness test for you to show you where you’re at.


Fitness level: Medium-high

Experience: Former Division 1 Track athlete at UNF, idle about a year


Fitness level: Medium-high

Experience: Former high school athlete participating in football and wrestling. Goes to the gym a moderate 2-4 times a week.


Now, for the classes.


HIIT Training

Instructor: Ashland Rahn, senior exercise science major

Level of Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5

Type: Strength and Cardio

Ashland Rahn began as just a freshman taking workout classes, to teaching them. Photo by Rachel Cazares.
Ashland Rahn began as just a freshman taking workout classes, to teaching them. Photo by Rachel Cazares.

Ashland Rahn’s HIIT Training class on Tuesday afternoon was a small group of only four girls, but the energy level was high octane.

The class began with a warm-up: 10 squats, 10 jumping squats, 15 pushups and a short jog on the sidewalk surrounding the Wellness Center. Rahn then led us through 12 different stations designed for high intensity interval training including stations for planks, jump rope, squats, burpees and more. Each station lasted for 45 fat-burning seconds, and the rest period between each was only 15 seconds.

The most grueling fitness challenge for me during the class was the mountain climber station. This hands-to-the-ground exercise made for a serious burn in my hamstrings–but in the best way.

Instructor Rahn started out as one of the students in class, and worked her way up to being an instructor for the past two-and-a-half to three years, she said. For Rahn, being fit is about wellness of the mind as well as the body.

“I think it’s crucial to function throughout your life and your day to spread out the things that need to be sweated out,” Rahn said. “I think it’s a good way, the best way, to release your energy.”

I would recommend this class to students who are already moderately fit, but I don’t think it’s impossible for those who haven’t hit the gym in a while.


Instructor: Savanna Venir, UNF alumni

Level of Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Type: cardio endurance

A couple years ago, Venir thought Tabata was the hardest class ever. Today, she's the instructor. Photo by Patrick Grabowski.
A couple years ago, Venir thought Tabata was the hardest class ever. Today, she’s the instructor. Photo by Patrick Grabowski.

Hump days aren’t the only thing to get over in the middle of the week, when the Student Wellness Complex offers a Tabata class Wednesday evenings.

Taught by UNF Alumni Savannah Venir, this class has a lot going on with it. Starting off with a moderate 50 jumping jacks, 50 high knees, 20 squats, 10 pushups and a light jog, the going starts to get tough when the class breaks off into eight different workout routines–each requiring eight rounds for completion.

In just 55 minutes you will be tossing medicine balls, doing star jumps, walking while squatting with workout bands across your thighs, doing sit-ups, working out the lower back, high-knees, and knocking out some push-ups that require a one-second pause at the end of each one.

You will perform each of those exercises eight times for 20 seconds with a 10 second break. Then you can finally catch a breather and get some water before its time to hit the next station.

It’s a great way to enjoy the benefits of a high intensity workout, boosting heart rates that subsequently speeds up the metabolic rates in your system. This workout is not only a great way to stay in physical shape, but also a great way to maintain adequate mental and physical health.

“I leaned out, I felt way healthier, and running outside was 100 times easier,” Venir said, who also participates in the class from time to time.

This isn’t a workout for beginners. According to Venir, an individual looking to take this class should have a base for cardiovascular endurance.

Ashley Maetozo, senior criminal justice major, regularly attends Venir’s class and it clearly shows. She was leading the class in the warm-ups and kept up with all the workouts, showing no signs of slowing down.

“I definitely see my overall health improving since taking this class,” Maetozo said. “I’ll continue to go until I move away or my schedule gets too hectic.”

Whether or not your schedule is too hectic, if you want a fun and intense workout and don’t want to hassle with the clusters in the gym, head over to Tabata class. You’ll hate it for the first 55 minutes, but once its over, I guarantee you’ll feel good you did it.

Although the class schedule changes each semester, many of the same classes are offered every time. For the next couple weeks left in the semester, check out the Spring 2016 class schedule here !

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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