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Campus recreation offers class specifically for faculty and staff

Students, faculty and employees participate in exercise classes in the Student Recreation Center on Tuesday.
Students, faculty and employees participate in exercise classes in the Student Recreation Center on Tuesday.

Campus Recreation offers “Get Fit from Head to Heel” to all UNC faculty and staff members. Katie Turner, who works in the Office of Faculty Governance, has taken the class the last four times it has been offered, and said it helped her get in the gym.

“It’s almost like a CrossFit style class, but without Olympic weightlifting,” she said. “You could say it’s bodyweight strength training exercises, kettle bell exercises, TRX and cardio.”

Turner said that besides finding it strange to exercise with their students, faculty and staff don’t have time to attend classes while they’re working.

“It was really great,” she said. “It’s a 45-minute class which gives the staff enough time to leave our offices, go to the gym, change and make it to the class.”

Turner said having a fitness class on campus was something she appreciated, but not always something she had access to because of her schedule.

“Most of us are hourly employees,” she said. “We get two fifteen-minute breaks a day, and most of the time we work through lunch.”

Turner said she believes the University has a responsibility to provide things like fitness and wellness classes that are accessible.

“Part of that accountability for the staff and faculty is having a place where you can go once a week and see your colleagues and friends,” she said.

Campus Recreation Fitness Coordinator Liz Walz said the classes are usually small, with roughly eight employees enrolling in each one.

“It is a five-week, once a week training program that’s open to employees only,” she said. “Think of it as small group personalized training, sort of a mixture between personal training and group fitness.”

Walz said this class is usually pretty small because of the time it’s offered and the type of exercise done.

“More so than the small groups, a lot of our faculty and staff take part in mind-body classes like yoga and Pilates, especially around noon,” she said.

Walz said Campus Recreation is now focusing on creating similar fitness programming for graduate students.

“They’re TAs, they want things that fit in their schedules,” she said. “Graduate students work crazy hours — they don’t have a lot of time for health and wellness, but they do place it as a high priority.”

Associate Director for Parking and Strategy Wilhelmina Steen teaches a step class at the Student Recreation Center.

“When we moved here 13 years ago I knew I wanted to work out, and I knew campus had the most accessible classes,” she said.

Unlike Turner and Walz, Steen thinks there’s plenty of time for faculty and students to make it to the gym.

“If you look at the group exercise schedule for this spring, there are pretty much classes from six in the morning to ten at night, Monday through Friday,” she said.

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