Let’s Get Physical: Get Fit Smith Provides Opportunity for Exercise

Veronica Brown ’16
Associate Editor

Each week, Smith offers free exercise classes to students, faculty and staff as part of the popular program Get Fit Smith. 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the program.

“Get Fit Smith began in 2005 as a pilot program with a $6,000 budget offering five to eight classes per week,” said Theresa Collins, the assistant athletic director. “Today, 10 years later, we have … exploded to a $32,000 budget and 29 classes per week.”

The class offerings include yoga, zumba, pilates, a cardio-circuit class called “InSmithSanity” and a core-focused class called “Awesome Abs.” Sarah Lopez ’17, who regularly attends “Awesome Abs,” described it as “a short but effective workout session in a no-pressure zone.”

The variety of classes have become a routine element in many students’ schedules. “Personally, it’s easier for me to go to the gym when I have a class to go to,” said Carolyn Polis ’18.

Emily Cryan ’17 appreciates the motivation from the classes’ instructors, particularly for “Awesome Abs,” her favorite class. “[The instructor] Joan is amazing and really makes you work hard but also makes sure you’re doing the material properly so you don’t hurt your back,” said Cryan.

Student instructors lead many of the classes. Collins makes a special effort to give these positions to students. “You must have a certification in the area you are teaching,” Collins said. “I will even help a student get the certification.”

Classes fill up quickly, especially ones that have strict caps because of limited equipment. Only 11 bikes are available for each spin class. “Maybe a notification system like a simple email reminding people when the bookings are open would help,” suggested Annie Bell ’17.

Lopez, a student academic advisor for Chapin House, often recommends Get Fit Smith courses to her stressed housemates. Collins explained that “the program is designed around the academic year for student participation,” but this schedule also means that classes are not offered during finals week.

“I definitely think that offering classes during finals week could be helpful, especially because exercise can often be seen as a great way to de-stress,” said Bell. She recalled when an instructor continued to offer class through finals last year because “a student wrote in asking to keep it because it helped manage her stress.”

Many students plan to continue to try to work a Get Fit Smith classes into their busy schedules. As Cryan said, “If you leave class hungry and ready for dinner, you know it’s been a good workout.”

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