By Jordyn Sava
Before Covid-19 hit, sophomore nursing major Carly Baker looked forward to taking classes at the College’s gym nearly everyday. She has always enjoyed working out with friends, cycling for miles and running on the treadmill. Naturally, she felt terrible when Covid-19 stopped everything in its tracks.
Because Baker was well known at the gym, the College asked her to start teaching her own virtual class in the fall, and she is absolutely loving it.
“I always wanted to teach but I was unsure of my athletic abilities,” she said. “Now, it is something I can’t live without. I hope to help others meet their goals and discover their love for staying fit.”
After Covid-19 forced gyms to close, the College’s Recreation and Wellness Center put together an array of virtual group fitness classes in an effort to lift students' spirits.
Not only did virtual fitness classes provide normalcy in the early stages of the pandemic, but they were helpful in making students feel connected to the College, promoting healthy habits and allowing students to start or maintain a routine all from the safety of their home.
“The classes offered by the College gave me something to look forward to,” Baker said. “Even on the worst days, they motivated me to have a social life while being stuck in quarantine with only my family.”
Although the College is now “flex,” the Recreation and Wellness center has continued to offer these classes virtually for the many students living at home.
Some of the available classes include barre, kickboxing, yoga, cycling, Abs and Booty, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and Baker’s Body Sculpt class.
Baker now teaches Body Sculpt weekly, every Thursday at 5 p.m. through the College.
“People can expect to be challenged, but also to be offered with lots of modifications in order to workout at the level of intensity that is best for them,” she said. “I try to include a variety of moves from week to week so that it does not get boring.”
Participants of all fitness levels are welcome. Since classes are all virtual, Baker primarily chooses moves which use one’s body weight to accomodate for participants without equipment.
To make people feel more comfortable, Baker displays positivity and motivation throughout her class. She provides constant updates on the timing, and always prepares her participants for what moves are to follow.
Because she has taken a variety of classes, Baker knows what can be motivational and what can be annoying to hear from a teacher. She bases her personal commentary within classes off of her own experiences.
“I motivate my participants the way that I like to be motivated. I try to find the balance between energetic or upbeat and too overbearing,” she said.
To secure a spot in her class, students can simply download Atleto, the official app for the Recreation and Wellness Department. All events, activities and classes offered are added by the instructors weekly and hosted through the app.
Some classes, like Baker’s, are offered live, while others are recorded with links that can be saved for future reference.
Baker urges students living on and off campus to come out and try a class.
“I would definitely recommend these classes to others! It is a good way to meet new people and try new things, especially since all of the classes are free right now due to the virtual format,” Baker said.
Not only has Baker found something that she is passionate about, but she is proud to be part of the small-group fitness instructor community.
“I will continue to teach classes throughout college and hopefully will extend teaching into post-grad life,” she said. “Even though classes are virtual, I think that I have learned a lot and I look forward to learning more so that I can continue to improve.”