Group fitness classes see spike in popularity

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While the vast majority of Lehigh’s student population does not participate in Taylor Gym’s group exercise program, fitness classes at Lehigh are seeing a spike in popularity.

According Genna Albano, the group fitness coordinator, 240 people, including students, faculty and staff members, have already signed up for the group exercise program in only three weeks. This is a significant increase from last fall when the total participation for the semester was 140 people.

Albano was hired to manage the group exercise program two years ago and has made it her priority to enhance the quality of the classes so that students do not need to leave Lehigh to take high-quality fitness classes.

Before Albano was hired as the group fitness coordinator, the group exercise program would require participants would buy packages for specific classes like yoga or spin, but not necessarily for both.

“I changed the model so you can do unlimited of everything without buying a bunch of different packages,” Albano said. “It keeps up with the industry. Gym memberships offer all types of classes.”

Albano, who is also an instructor at Gold’s Gym, made it her priority to increase the quality of the instructors, replacing those that were not receiving positive feedback with ones that came highly recommended by other instructors in the Lehigh Valley.

“I want our quality to be top-notch so people don’t feel like they have to go outside Lehigh to seek that same level of classes,” Albano said. “I’m happy with the level and quality of our classes. I feel it is up to standard.”

In addition to high-quality, certified professional trainers, the group fitness program boasts four student instructors.

Rae Ricciardi, ’16, teaches the popular class called Bootycamp, a high-intensity interval training class with weights that focuses on burning fat and building lean muscle in the lower body.

“I think the group fitness program we have at Taylor Gym is amazing and has improved so much over the years,” Ricciardi said in an email. “Genna Albano has put in so much work recruiting instructors and ordering new and innovative equipment that allows us to take our classes to the next level.”

Alana Corey, ’16, is a student fitness instructor that teaches Zumba at Taylor Gym. She takes group classes here as well, including Albano’s strength and core class and Ricciardi’s Bootycamp, but also attends classes at Steel Fitness and Yoga Loft.

“Steel Fitness has awesome (high intensity interval training), and the Yoga Loft has an amazing atmosphere,” Corey said. “I’d like to see more barre classes (at Taylor Gym), but I love where the program has come in four years from having nonparticipating students to full classes.”

Each class takes attendance, but Albano said that she does not track whether or not everyone in the group exercise program actually attends classes. However, the majority of classes this semester have been full, which is approximately 20-25 people per class, according to Albano. Classes that do not require equipment, like Zumba and kickboxing, usually take 30-35 participants.

The unlimited group exercise program costs $89 per semester. Drop-ins are also welcome to take classes for $10 per class, but priority is given to program members that register for the class online.

Daytime classes are offered Monday-Friday 12:10-12:50 p.m., and evening classes are available Monday-Thursday 4:30-7 p.m. as well as on Sundays from 6-8 p.m.

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