The Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center is now offering virtual group fitness classes along with in-person classes due to COVID-19 guidelines.
Currently, all group fitness classes, including Tigerpump, Butts and Guts, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba, have virtual options on Zoom. The only class that is not offered virtually is cycling.
Weights and equipment are not being used in classes to make the online platform accessible to everyone.
Lisa Padgett, a group fitness coordinator, and Christy Coleman, the assistant director for group fitness, said weights can be a safety issue as well for an online platform because it is harder for instructors to monitor form virtually.
For in-person classes, equipment is also not being used due to sanitation requirements.
Padgett and Coleman said this has prompted instructors to modify their classes and make them more intense while only using body weight.
They said they have been moving towards a virtual option for group fitness over the past year as part of their five-year plan for the program.
Padgett said in March, they decided to “push the gas harder” to implement an online option for group fitness for the fall 2020 semester.
“We are tapping into an audience that has never done group fitness,” she said.
Padgett and Coleman said they did a lot of testing for the online platform and collaborated with other universities over the summer to make this a reality.
“We want to start at a beginner level regardless of fitness level or experience,” Coleman said.
Padgett said the staff has been all in, and she is excited they are learning a new facet to group fitness. In addition, she thinks this will be beneficial to them in the future as the world becomes more centered around technology.
Not all instructors have both virtual and in-person classes, but she wants everyone to be trained on the virtual platform eventually.
“Whether students are here or away from campus, they should stay active and stay connected,” Coleman said. “Virtual classes pass on that message.”
Lacie Johnson, a group fitness instructor, said the transition has been “stressful but fun.” It was a quick turnaround for instructors as they were informed about the transition on Saturday, and she had to teach a class on that Monday.
Instructors were able to fill out a preference form to determine who would be teaching online or in-person, Johnson said.
“It’s nice being able to teach in-person even if you have to modify,” Johnson said. “It’s fun to be around people even if you’re spread out.”
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