Written by Raquel DeSouza
Mason is offering a variety of more times and types of fitness classes at their facilities.
According to Ethan Carter, director of fitness, Mason Recreation conducted surveys last yearat the Recreation and Athletic Complex and the Aquatic Fitness Center to determine which times work best for students.
The student feedback helped Mason gyms add the 9-10 a.m. class slot.
“We have traditionally done 6 in the morning, or 7 a.m. and neither of those were very well attended,” Carter said. “So we wanted to move to a class that would still be in the morning time but then allow some people to get in between that grey area.”
Instructors and floor staff also do head counts of the number of males and females attending in each class. This helps Mason gyms decide which classes to continue and discontinue, according to Carter. Some of the most well-attended classes on campus are Zumba, Hatha yoga and the martial art form Krav Maga.
According to Carter, the increased amount of student housing near the RAC was also a consideration for expansion.
“In the past, it was paid classes over at RAC, free classes here [AFC], and so we wanted to expand the amount of classes students could go to,” Carter said. “Now with campus housing on the other side of campus, a lot of the students wanted to take classes over there.”
To answer to that demand, the RAC now offers group exercise classes, such as cycling, cardio and core. Zumba is offered on Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. and Total Body Conditioning is at 5:15p.m. on Thursdays. All of the group level classes are in the Green Level category and are free for Mason students. Students can pay a $50 fee to attend unlimited amount of Gold Level classes, this includes yoga, pilates, and martial arts.
According to Carter, Mason gyms charge a fee for Gold Level classes because the specialized instructors need to be certified in their practice, which takes of time and money.
“We have a Krav Maga instructor, he’s a gold level instructor and he’s one of the few in the United States of America. He gives up his time to come back and work with us,” Carter said. “Again, I know a lot of time people get kind of conflicted because you have to pay for the classes. But just thinking about the expertise level that we have here at Mason with the instructors, that’s what I like to tell people to take into mind.”
Krav Maga is a form of martial arts that the Israeli military uses for self-defense. Mason also has offers Brazilian Capoeira, which is martial arts fused with rhythmic dance.
“On campus we’ve really been trying to work toward protecting oneself when out, so that is part of the reason we have made it known that none of our classes are really aggressive, they’re all catered to self defense,” Carter said.
It’s also the first semester that Gold Level classes are being offered at the Aquatic Fitness Center. Tai Chai is at the ATC Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and Pilates is on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. Noki Lee, a pilates and cardio kickboxing instructor, teaches the AFC 2 p.m. pilates class.
“This is one of the biggest gyms and the fact that we offer cardio and muscle conditioning, and now we’re doing pilates and yoga, it’s more variety,” Lee said. “I think it’s more variety and opportunities for students or staff.”
According to Lee, there are trade-offs to having classes at the RAC versus AFC.
“For those who have flexibility around 2 or 3’oclock, they could come here [AFC],” Lee said. “We also have more space and the ventilation is much nicer, we got fans and the RAC we don’t really have fans. I think at the RAC it’s personable because it’s small space, but it just isn’t as spacious as here [AFC].”
Justine Burke, a sophomore and psychology major, takes the 2 p.m. pilates class. She is a commuter and parks near the AFC.
“I do like it in the Aquatic Fitness Center because it’s closer than the RAC, since I don’t have to walk as far over there. Especially when there’s parking issues during the day,” Burke said. “The only problem I have with it is sometimes we don’t have all the stuff that we do have at the RAC.”
According to Carter, Mason wants to expand fitness classes to more locations on campus.
“We’re actually looking at trying to get into a couple of residents halls this year to offer some of the gold classes as well as the green classes for our campus community,” Carter said. “We’re trying to grow the best we can and feedback is always necessary.”
Photo by Erika Eisenacher