Friday, March 15, 2013

Fitness at Macalester

From 8 to 9 p.m. six nights a week you can find 15 Macalester students jumping, lunging, squatting, and sweating to the voice of Shaun T. as he motivates/yells at us to push harder and not give up.

Before this semester, I was blissfully ignorant of Insanity workouts or trainer Shaun T.  After six weeks of workouts, however, I am now very well acquainted with both, and more importantly with a new group of Macalester students who struggle and laugh over the ridiculousness of the workouts and bond over surviving them.

At the start of spring semester my housemates and I saw a posting in the Daily Piper about free physical activity classes. Insanity workouts were among the classes being offered. Unfamiliar with what a class called that might entail, we YouTubed a workout. After watching a four-minute clip of very fit people easily completing physically demanding movements, we decided to sign up as a way to make sure we were exercising regularly—and also as a way to avoid the treadmill.

With little thought beyond escaping the dreaded treadmill, we were committed. Needless to say, after the first week of workouts, as I painfully shuffled across campus, I was questioning my decision-making skills. I’ve survived eight pre-seasons of soccer workouts never before felt so sore. But with the encouragement of my housemates, we’ve all stuck it out, and continue doing our squat jumps and push-ups with Shaun T. every week. 

Insanity is one of five free physical activity classes offered this semester through Macalester’s Wellness and Health (WHAM) committee. Other classes are Juggling, Yoga for Fitness, Step Aerobics, and Zumba. Not only are the classes free to students, but students also teach the courses. WHAM classes allow students to share their interests and skills with the rest of the Macalester community, something I really appreciate.

WHAM’s free physical activity classes are just one way to keep physically active on campus. In addition to free classes, WHAM also offers other classes for a small fee. Intramural sports occur all year long, as do physical education classes for academic credit. The great range in options makes working out and staying healthy easy and fun. All these courses, along with team sports, allow students from different years and majors to meet in a relaxed social environment.

So while Shaun T. may not always be my favorite person—especially as I’m pushing myself to complete just one more tuck jump—having access to Mac’s wide variety of exercise classes, amazing facilities, and supportive peers has made staying fit a wonderful component of my college experience. 

—Alyssa Markle ’13