By: Marina Garza
Down at the Fitness Center, past the sign-in sheets and the workout machines, is the dance room. A room that hosts free group fitness activities from two amazing instructors, Carmen Russell and Shary Elder. Shary instructs the Yogalates class, a class as she describes, “a blend of yoga, stretching, strength training, and pilates core work that utilizes your limbs with the combination of two intense workouts. Also, it focuses on breathing; this workout works your lungs as you work every other muscle.” Shary has noticed that even people with asthma and upper respiratory problems will take her class to just learn how to breathe correctly.
One of her students, Mallory Gaeth, the Fitness Center Coordinator, states, “I have noticed an increase in flexibility and strength throughout my entire core. Yogalates focuses on breathing and keeping your core tight while doing certain moves or exercises. With the relaxing music, I leave class feeling refreshed and knowing I have just finished a tough workout.”
The other instructor, Carmen Russell, teaches Zumba Fitness, Ab-Blast, Total Toning, and the new Boot Camp. “It’s all about toning your core, but there are levels to it in Ab-Blast,” Carmen said, “ If you can’t do certain positions, then I’ll give you one similar to your advantage until you can eventually work up to beyond what you can do.
“This class is a challenge, but I feel motivated from the instructor to just keep going at it,” Ab-Blast student Erica Iannone says. In the Total Toning class, Carmen describes it as,” How it sounds, basically. It’s just like Ab-Blast, but we use exercise balls and towels to work out every muscle from head to toe.” For Zumba Fitness, she says, “Zumba is a class that I can play around with the steps, for instance Salsa. I’ll give the students the steps and as the class progresses, I’ll interpret more exercises into the steps. Anyone at any point of their life can do Zumba!”
Zumba students Lily Vasquez, Jeimmy Lara, and Gabie Hernandez had much to say about their favorite Fitness class. “Zumba is my stress reliever and fitness session,” Vasquez states. “It’s so fun to dance with my friends and to workout with the music that I like. I never notice when the class ends, because I get caught up in the dances!”
“I have noticed a difference in my weight and my emotions because of Zumba,” Lara said, “I can just let everything out and I will put all of myself into the workout.”
“Carmen makes Zumba super fun and provides a safe environment free from judgment so that people can dance,” Hernandez said, “ I can see how greater my stamina had increase because of this class.”
“It is all about teamwork for my newer class, Boot Camp,” Carmen said. “I’ll use the slowest person to set the pace. From there, we just work with the weakest to build everyone up.”
Sam Pierson, a participant of Boot Camp, mentions, “Carmen is determined for all in the group to succeed. She would leave the slowest in the back whatsoever. She pushes even the strongest ones to continue on in Boot Camp.”
Boot Camp is currently not offered until this coming spring semester.
The Fitness Center offers these classes for any student to try with no charge. Updated schedules for these classes are up by the doors of the Fitness Center and on the announcements in the dorms. Come by and try a class. Just make sure to sign-in to the correct class beforehand and be ready for a workout from instructors that are there to help you enjoy it.