It’s 2018, and getting healthy is at the top of many New Year’s resolution lists. Often, that means a gym membership or signing up for a group fitness class. But in Centre County, those range from kickboxing to CrossFit, cardio to strength training. With so many choices, how do you decide what’s right for you?
With this monthly series, let me do the heavy lifting (OK, medium weight lifting) by trying out workouts throughout the area. First up is the Les Mills Bodypump class at Fitology in State College.
The gym: Fitology, which celebrates its fifth anniversary on Sunday, is located in the Westerly Parkway Plaza. The brightly painted facility has modern amenities, with a main studio for group classes and an adjacent room for cycling. The gym offers a full schedule of Les Mills group fitness classes and focuses on the health benefits of physical activity. Biannual physiological and musculoskeletal testing are offered, as well as nutritional counseling and fitness testing.
Instructor: For my 6:30 p.m. Tuesday class, Fitology founder and co-owner Jinger Gottschall was the ball of energy at the front of the room. She’s a kinesiology professor at Penn State and has been teaching Bodypump for 15 years.
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Eight Fitology instructors are certified to teach Bodypump.
When: There’s almost a dozen Bodypump classes on the schedule throughout the week, including weekends. The earliest starts at 5:30 a.m. and the latest is 6:30 p.m.
The workout: Bodypump is the most popular class at Fitology and the class that kicked it all off for the New Zealand-headquartered Les Mills. Using a barbell, strength exercises are timed to music. For every 5- to 6-minute track, the focus turns to a different muscle group, increasing the number of repetitions as the music plays on.
“We shoot for 800-1,000 reps per class,” Gottschall said.
Class newbies choose between three levels that determine how much weight to put on your barbell. A class cheat sheet outlines the order of exercises and how much weight should be on the barbell for the level you selected. For each music track, it starts out light and builds.
“By the end, you want to feel challenged and successful,” Gottschall said.
Atmosphere: Fun. The music is loud and pumping, with intervals of clapping and joining Gottschall for an optional “shimmy.”
Who it’s for: There were people of all ages in my class, and Gottschall said that’s typical and something she’s proud of at Fitology.
“Our youngest member is 16 and our oldest member is 87, and you’ll see them at the same class,” she said.
Bodypump is typically recommended for a first visit to Fitology, though if you’re new to group fitness, it’s suggested you do only 20 minutes of the 55-minute class. Because you choose your own weights and can even do the exercises without any at all, the class can be tailored to all abilities, Gottschall said.
Sweat level: Low. There’s minimal cardio, so I didn’t lose my breath, although my muscles were screaming.
Muscles worked: All of them. Just take a look at the cheat sheet: triceps, biceps, shoulders, abdominals. Squats are only listed on the sheet once, but somehow Gottschall seemed to sneak in more to the workout. My quads were most sore the next day.
My favorite part: I liked using a barbell for the first time — they’d always seemed intimidating before. It was easy to take weights on and off, and when given the choice during lunges to use or not use the barbell, I ended up going back to it.
My least favorite part: As the only first-timer in the class, I was a little lost at times when it came to specific exercises.
Cost: The first class is free. Monthly membership is $65 with a $50 enrollment fee that includes a health screening. A day pass is $15; 10- and 20-day passes are also available, as well as special fees for university and high school students.
For more information: Call 308-8021 or visit fitology542.com.