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Sugar House in review: HWAC group exercise

By Angie Merkley

By Angie Merkley

Winter Break has left me excessively squishy from holiday meals swathed in gravy and chocolate. My hibernation-like activities resulted in my stamina to fall to a dismal state. And just like thousands of other self-conscious and hopelessly naïve women, I made a New Year’s resolution: get fit, and quick.

I have horrible self-motivation problems, especially for healthy acts such as clean eating or getting off the couch. However, if others are motivating (competing against) me, I tend to get more into it. The clear answer was to get involved with the free group exercise classes in the Dolores Doré Eccles Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center (HWAC).

Day one was Lean Legs and Abs, and I was expecting a few rounds of squats and crunches to fill up some spare time between classes. My editor actually said that it felt like stretching to her.

I must really suck at stretching.

Laura Iverson, assistant director of fitness, wellness and recreation, leads many of the classes and does well in adjusting her style to the beat of the class—from tranquil deep breathing exercises to sweaty cardio torture.

Lean Legs and Abs was packed with bouncy girls (and a couple of brave males) tossing their ponytails and man-buns in the air to pop hits that get your heart pounding. The specialized exercises go beyond that of normal sumo squats and bicycle crunches, which will no doubt leave you in a deliciously sore state for days (unless you’re my editor).

Yoga is a calm session that revitalizes your brain and body, which is the perfect getaway from the monotony of life (and an acceptable excuse to wear stretchy pants all day). Each session ends with about five minutes of savasana, also known as corpse pose, also known as a great time to take a nap.

Cycle Fusion was the smallest class I attended, but the energy was still high. Note: plan to get sweaty and exhausted. Not only is this class filled with 40 minutes of high-intensity cycling, but also 20 minutes of crunches, lunges and more after.

After my week of training, I’ll admit, I was too scared to expose my squish to CRUSH (Creating Results to become Unbelievably Smokin’ Hot), a cardio boot-camp class that tests strength, endurance and everything else.

I shared my worries with Iverson, who told me not to worry because the class is a go-at-your-own-pace deal. Still, I might need a few more weeks of checking myself out in the giant mirrors during cycle class before I fully commit to being CRUSHed.

Overall, I highly recommend getting involved with group exercise a few days a week. It’s free with your student ID, is a great way to escape from the school environment and helps you stay motivated by urging you to keep up with all of the bouncing ponytails surrounding you.

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