As an incentive to attract new students to the fitness community at MacEwan University, the Sport and Wellness department teamed up with Griffins Athletics to host Big Day of Awesome on Sept. 16. For the duration of the day, students were able to take part in a multitude of free exercise lessons, ranging from drop-in martial arts sessions, to classes of a more aerobic persuasion. For those interested in making a splash at the pool, there were three different aquatics classes available as well. The event began at 8 a.m. and ran until 8 p.m., giving students out an ample window of time to visit the fitness centre either before, between or after their classes had concluded for the day. In the gymnasium, a number of small attractions were set up, the most eye-catching being an impressively large inflatable obstacle course, which served as a small teaser for an upcoming inflatable tournament. Some other notable attractions included a soccer net with multiple hoop targets attached to take aim at, along with both basketball and volleyball nets set up for the “Beat a Griffin” activity. Brave students were encouraged put their skills to the test against Griffins athletes in exchange for the chance to enter into a contest to win textbooks for an upcoming semester.
Are you curious about the fitness classes? A few members of our writing team tried them out. Check out their reviews below. -Tim Rauf
Learn Olympic Lifting: Level 1
If you have a gym membership at the MacEwan fitness centre, you’ve probably seen some Olympic lifting. Recently, Olympic lifting has grown considerably in popularity through its borrowings in Cross Fit. Now, before you go thinking that this is just another fitness fad that will disappear like counting carbs and the ThighMaster, hold on. Olympic lifting is a serious workout that caters to a wide variety of participants. Unfortunately, as is the case with everything in personal fitness, getting knowledge and instruction from a certified professional can be tortuous and exhausting. However, with the basic course at MacEwan, you will be trained by a NCCP-certified weightlifting trainer.
Once the course begins, you immediately start the basic movements and you will soon discover how foreign and challenging this exercise feels. In the initial class, you will cover the basic movements necessary to properly lift weight once the technique is established. Now, we’re all thinking it: no, you need not worry about looking like a total rookie. Classes only hold eight participants at a time, so the atmosphere isn’t competitive. These classes are not only fun, but also ridiculously inexpensive compared to a membership at the type of fitness club that would have the necessary equipment. So whether you want to establish your reign in the MacEwan fitness centre with a series of grunts and precise lifts, or just want to challenge yourself, the basic Olympic weightlifting course will get you there.
Spin & Core
I had heard from many people that spin classes were not only great workouts, but also incredibly fun. Clearly, not many people had heard the same things, as I was the only student who attended this spin session. While this seemed to be a bad start to the class, it actually ended up being positive. I received some excellent one-on-one training, which helped me to understand how a spin class would normally work. I got a walkthrough on how to set up the bike, and then I got to learn the different positions that would be used during a class. Finally, we went through one complete set, about 10 minutes, before heading to another room to finish the class with some core work.
Value-added (free) spin classes are offered Monday through Friday, so there are plenty of opportunities to give spin a try. There are different variations offered, such as Revolution Spin, Power Play Spin, Urban Spin and SpinWright. For spin class beginners, the Spin & Core class offered on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons is a good place to start. Instead of a full class on the spin bike, Spin & Core offers a split between spin and core workouts. The best part is that spin class requires no commitment or additional costs. Just drop in and have fun. -Jordan Gill
Zumba Fitness (Female)
I’ve heard people express skepticism about Zumba. “It’s a fad,” they say, implying it will die out before long. Well, this was my first Zumba class and I sure hope the naysayers are wrong. Zumba is a blast! The class involves sequences of dance movements performed to high-energy Latin, Indian and African music. It’s a full-body workout that offers good cardio and muscle conditioning, and it also makes use of your balance and flexibility. During the class that I took, the instructor’s energy level matched the upbeat music, and she was excellent at communicating changes in sequence and directing using only physical cues. She was also supportive, offering modifications for the more challenging sequences and encouraging each participant to do only what was comfortable for her. This class is all about having fun and moving your body in an environment that supports your inner booty shaker. -Virginia Dowdell
Jiu-Jitsu is not typically what I would think of when it comes to a sport or an activity I’d partake in, but it was an interesting experience. This course offers an interesting look into the complex world of martial arts in simple, yet comprehensive, sessions. Understandably, in such a full-contact sport, some of us fear that we will be subject to huge takedowns and possibly even abuse, but I endured the class without experiencing any real harm. After learning moves such as the rear-naked choke and the pendulum sweep, I gained insight into how misinformed I was about martial arts. Whether your interest is mixed martial arts or self-defence, the Jiu-Jitsu class offered at Macewan is an unusual but exciting way to workout and learn something new. -Christopher Moreau