Fitness Instructor Emily Bradley urged the group of about 75 students to get as high as possible while everyone did a lower back exercise together. Jessica “Nikki” Frank laughed with her friends as they continued. Once the “push-up challenge” began, laughter could be heard above the music, revealing the lightheartedness of the class.
Frank and Jessica Erb along with two others will be dancing for their sorority Delta Zeta in THON 2013. One of the dancers from their sorority is a fitness instructor at the White Building and recommended that they attend the newly created THON Prep Class.
THON Overall Morale Chairperson Melanie Sessa (senior- marketing and public relations) explained that the idea for a fitness class began in the fall semester.
The University Park Undergraduate Association approached the Overall Committee with the idea of starting a fitness program aimed for those dancing in the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Sessa said that typically students who wish to attend a fitness class pay five dollars if they do not have a gym membership, but those who wish to participate in the THON Prep Class only have to pay three dollars using LionCash.
Although the class was originally for THON dancers, it has been opened up for anyone interested. Participants can expect a mix of cardiovascular endurance and stretching, with intensity increasing up to the final week before THON.
Sessa said that stretching is a vital part of THON weekend for the dancers.
“[The class teaches you] how to really properly stretch out your legs and your back,” she said. Sessa continued that there are many dancers THON weekend who were never really involved in athletics, and therefore don’t know the correct techniques for keeping the body loose. She said it’s vital to begin stretching the very beginning of the weekend.
Coming into the class, Frank (senior- kinesiology) thought most of the thirty minutes would be devoted to stretching, but found out otherwise and she and all other participants did exercises from jumping jacks to lunges to crunches.
“[The class] definitely worked on the right stuff,” she said. “I think I’ll be in good shape.”
But not only is the class made to keep dancers and THON participants in shape, it’s meant to keep everyone excited for their final goal.
“I hope it gets them more excited for THON weekend and encourage them to prepare more,” Sessa said.
Erb (senior- marketing and psychology) said that for future classes she hopes to get all the girls dancing in her sorority to come, as well as members of their partner fraternity, Delta Tau Delta.
“It’s a cute, little bonding thing to do to get all the dancers together,” she said.
For instructor Emily Bradley, this is easily the best fitness class to teach.
“They’re my favorite group since everyone’s just so excited,” she said.
Bradley said most of the work out, which currently consists of 25 minutes of exercise with five minutes of stretching at the end, was designed by her supervisors. She says as the class continues she plans to incorporate more Pilates along with valuable standing stretches for the 46-hour weekend.
The classes will be held in 126 White Building starting at 6:00 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday until THON weekend, Feb. 15.