Staying motivated to work out is tough. “I’m busy. I need a lazy day. I’ll embarrass myself.” Maybe no excuse is more common than “I don’t have anyone to go with.” On the other hand, FGCU’s group fitness classes make that a moot point. Even more good news is that there are a variety of workouts suited to any fitness goal.
Among the fastest-growing classes are the three varieties of yoga offered: headed up by none other than the Campus Recreation Fitness Manager herself, Salima Silverman.
“Yoga Infused” is a fast-paced take on stress relief, taking the traditional yoga and adding modern elements.
“The fitness goals of the class are very similar to any other yoga class, which is to align the mind and body,” Silverman explained, “Every yoga has the goal to prepare the body for relaxation. So here, it’s the same thing, but it’s a bit more modern for the younger demographic. For the first hour of the class, there’s upbeat music to get the heart pumping for the cardio. Then we slow things down for power movements.”
“It’s a lot fun. It’s a loud class,” she warned those seeking a quiet, meditative experience.
Needless to say, the “Infused” thrives on variety.
“A lot of the core work is Pilates-based. We’ll even do martial arts. It just depends on the mood of the class.”
For those who do want a calmer setting, Vinyasa Yoga is the answer.
“[It’s] a more traditional type of yoga. It’s a series of movements that flows smoothly from one to the next,” Silverman said.
She further defined it as being broken down into multiple sun salutations. These allow for a variety of routines that increase their intensity as time progresses.
Even if neither of those seems up your alley, the class titled simply “Yoga” is aiming to offer yet another option. Silverman talked about developing the style for it.
“I’m still playing around with ideas for it… Depending on the instructor, I may make it more hatha-based, which is focusing on just one pose at a time. It’s not high intensity or about flowing movements. It’s more, ‘We’re doing this one pose and not thinking about anything else. Then when it’s done, we’ll move on to the next one.’”
Despite the benefits yoga presents, many people who are more devoutly religious can be confused that the ancient Indian art is against their beliefs. In a gym full of weights and treadmills, Silverman’s biggest hurdle comes from simple misunderstandings.
“There is a fine line. With that I think a lot of people may be confused sometimes that yoga is spiritual-based. And to be honest, it can be, just like any other workout. It’s all about how you are channeling yourself into this goal, this movement, this focus. So yeah, there are some instructors that like to leave the opportunity open for that, and I think that’s there for many people in their moment of stress relief. Because, you know, it doesn’t have to be based on religion or God, it can just be a workout. It’s very versatile.”
It seems to be, then, that the only spirituality is that which you take with you.
“Just like any workout, with running, you get into this zone. This active meditation… Westernized yoga has been here in America since the early 1900s, and ever since then, it has become more of just a workout. It has strayed from the traditional purpose, but it does still allow for that. There’s never any push or obligation,” she sums up.
Yoga’s not the only game in town, however. Two of the more exotic sessions are Malibooty, with Angela Pavone, and Metcon, with Daniel Arbalaez. Of course, with those titles, one has to wonder what the classes entail.
“Whenever I explain it to anyone, I always tell them that it’s an extremely cardio-based class, where every move works out your leg and butt muscles. But there’s always something in there. So we’ll do legs, butt, abs, or legs, butt, arms,” Pavone told Eagle News. She continued.
“It’s really fast-paced and you get little breaks in between.” A continuing stigma with the class is that it’s female-oriented. “I wish a lot more guys would come to my class. I had two guys come in the other day and one was like, ‘I’m so fatigued.’ I think people are thrown off by the name, but a lot of guys don’t work their legs, so they get thrown off,” she continued.
Guys need not worry about feeling creepy, either.
“If the girls feel uncomfortable, I have [the guys] come to the front. That way everyone can keep doing it the workout.”
As for the Pavone’s favorite class outside her own?
“I love spin,” Pavone gushed. “It gives you more endurance you have for everything else.”
Metcon, on the other hand, is an offshoot of the popular high-intensity interval training.
“[It’s] our fourth class, so we haven’t gotten to do everything, of course, that we’re going to do throughout the year… It’s a full body workout, every single time. We never do the same thing. You know, these guys will probably not see this workout ever again,” instructor Daniel Arbelaez explained. “You’re not going to come in here and breeze through it. You’re always going to have a challenge. It takes you apart from your routine.”
“I really just yell and motivate people,” Arbelaez joked.
So why go to a group fitness class, instead of just showing up at the rec center and hopping on the Stairmaster?
“Group fitness, a lot of it is based on motivation. It’s people doing the same thing as you’re doing, they’re going through the same work out you’re doing. So, there’s something about that experience of ‘OK, they’re still in it, I’m still in it.’ You can laugh with each other or some people bring their friends to work out with,” Silverman says.
Don’t even worry about going in with an impediment.
“At the beginning of class, the instructors ask everyone, ‘Is there any sensitive spots or injuries I should know about?’ So I can give you a slightly different workout. Maybe if we’re doing our lower extremities, I can give you an upper body workout you can do instead during the segment.”
Even if you’re still getting your priorities sorted out early in the semester, never hesitate to jump into a group at any point.
“In the first month or so, I’ll start building my core group and yes, I may start to intensify the workout for them, because they get used to it. If I get somebody new, and I’ve already added intensity, I’ll slow it down a little bit, then throw in options. ‘For anybody that wants to step it up, you can step it up here,’ so it’s multi-level at that point. And all the other instructors do the same.”