The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Fitness center faces consistantly low turnout with in-person classes

4 min read

Everyone on campus must wear a mask at all times. | Tess Wilhem

By: Kate Sovero

A change from last semester, Campus Recreation is offering indoor, in-person group fitness classes this spring. During the fall 2020 semester, Campus recreation only offered virtual and outdoor fitness classes due to adjusting to new policies, resulting in limited indoor spaces to conduct fitness classes. Campus Recreation will be offering a number of fitness classes that students and staff can attend in-person including Dance Fitness, High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), and Total Body Burn. 

The classes offered this semester have a maximum capacity of nine participants, compared to previous years where classe attendance could be up to 25 people.  

Throughout the first week of in-person fitness classes, Campus Recreation has noticed a  significantly low number in attendance. Fitness instructors are struggling to attract students due to the protocols that have to be followed, such as wearing a mask during high intensity workouts.

“I feel like I can’t exercise comfortably,” says junior education major, Haley Magee. “I want to be able to work out, sweat, feel good, and not worry about my mask coming down or being in my way.” 

Magee prefers going to other gyms in the Fredericksburg area, and performing at-home exercises.

Lily Salva, a junior women’s studies major, teaches in-person Total Body Burn, and talked about the first in-person class she taught the first week. “I taught a Total Body Burn class in-person and I only had one participant. What I have heard from other instructors, that seems to sort of be what is happening. Some instructors don’t even have anyone show up,” says Salva.

Each class has socially distant spaces blocked off for each of the nine participants that attend a class. Instructors and participants will be required to to wear a mask throughout the workout with exceptions for water breaks. All of the equipment used during each class will be properly cleaned to ensure clean and safe equipment for the next class. Before entering the gym, Students and staff are required to show that they have completed the Covid health survey for that specific day. 

Senior geography major, Christopher Kostrzewa, says, “If it was not for masks, there is no doubt I would be at UMW fitness classes. Please know I place no blame on the University. I understand that wearing a mask is the policy, and I believe they are crucial in reducing the virus’s spread. Still, they are such a nuisance while exercising, and if I can avoid wearing them while doing so, I am going to.”

Katherine Conner, a junior women and gender studies major who teaches Dance Fitness, encouraged students to get out of their comfort zone and give it a shot.  

“This class is super beginner friendly, and you don’t need to have any dance background. It makes you feel really confident, energized, productive, and motivated while feeling connected with yourself and the others around you. This class is so much fun it feels like a party, it doesn’t really feel like you are working out so much until it’s over and you realize you just got a good workout in.” said Conner 

Fitness instructors have made modifications to the workouts due to being masked during the duration of the workout, “All the fitness instructors have taken down their intensity level and things like that because we’re in masks. If that is a big concern for people thinking they can’t do a cardio workout in a mask, we all are taking it down a notch and giving more breaks and time to get water,” said Salva. 

Some students, like junior education major Annie Del Zingaro, said they feel safe going to group fitness classes.

“I feel comfortable because I know that there are strict protocols in place: you have to wear your mask, there are so many water breaks to spread out the intensity, the fitness instructors encourage you to go at a comfortable pace, and all patrons have their own space to perform exercises,” she said. 

Campus recreation will still be hosting a variety of classes on Zoom as well as in-person. Over the next few weeks Campus Recreation and fitness instructors like Salva and Conner hope to see more participants in the classes, “I encourage people to give it a try. Although we all wear masks, the workouts are not as hard as people expect them to be. We really hope to gain more participants in all the in-person classes,” said Salva.    

The fitness schedule is located on the Campus Recreation’s Instagram (@umwcampusrec) or the website,, for more information. 

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