I tried 4 different fitness classes at UCSD

Since the end of COVID, there has been a sharp increase in the number of students who have become involved in fitness, especially in instructor-led classes such as yoga, pilates, barre and kickboxing. And if you haven’t heard, there is a Recreational Pass (RAP) that allows UCSD students to sign up for these classes for free. So I got one and took four different courses to give you all the information.

Monday 10:00 | Yoga SunRISE with Jane

I only took one of these classes, but I would highly recommend this class. Each week there is a specific topic that the two instructors focus on and bring each part of the exercise back. This week, the theme was Inner Peace, and one of the instructors brought diaries for everyone along with a handmade mixture of water, oil, and food coloring so that everyone could shake, which means chaos of inner emotions. At the beginning of the lesson, she explained that each person should take a diary, a pencil and a mixture jar and start the lesson by writing in diaries and playing with very stimulating utensils. Next, we did yoga for about twenty minutes. Yoga was very simple and not so challenging, so I think it would be fun for beginners or anyone looking for a quick course of simple movements. The lessons ended with meditation and everyone received a small amethyst heart, which they took home.

Overall, the lesson seemed like a very productive way to start the week by focusing on gratitude and meditation. I liked the teachers and it was a common class with different skill levels. I definitely thought there would be more yoga, so if you’re looking for an intense yoga class or even a long yoga model, it may not be the best class for you. Regardless, teachers are kind and determined to teach their students the main topic of the day. It’s a great way to start the week if you are willing to get up before 10:00 on Monday!

Monday 16:00 | Pilates props with Michelle

I tried this lesson twice and I really enjoyed it! I’ve never done Pilates before and I only knew what I saw from the influencers on Tik Tok and Instagram, so I was a little nervous. I thought the lesson would require flexibility or knowledge of specific movements, but it turned out to be really fun and not that challenging. The instructor, Michelle, is very nice and gives helpful instructions for every move, so I never felt completely lost. The room at RIMAC is covered with mirrors, so you can check your form and make sure it is in line with what it describes. Michelle provided us with equipment, including a mat, a pilates ball, hoops and bands, so all we have to do is show up. We made a collection of different movements, most of which focused on the core, and we also worked on the sciatic muscles and arms. The class will pass fairly quickly because Michelle has a fun routine that intrigued me. Some of the moves were more challenging than others, but all were feasible and Michelle was there to help if needed.

I would highly recommend going to this class because it was a low-intensity activity that made me feel healthy – as if I were one of the “girls” I always see on social media. I made the mistake of sitting where Michelle hadn’t seen at some angles, which made some of the moves more difficult than they should be, so if possible, sit down so you could see her completely. The class is fun and it’s a great way to get involved in some activity on Monday!

Tuesday 17:00 | Cardio Kick Box with Eldridge

I’ll be completely honest with you, this class is probably not what you imagine when you imagine kickboxing. Personally, when someone says “kickboxing class,” I imagine women in red boxing gloves venting their anger on hanging punching bags. This class was for sure not that. Although the instructor taught us the correct form of the stroke and the guide, it was only used as part of a cardio routine in rhythm with music. This class is basically a dance routine with a few air strokes and a few helpers. It would be fun in class if you took a close friend or two with you and laughed at how ridiculous you feel, because you feel a little silly yourself when you watch them dance (kicking and punching) in the wall of mirrors. It’s great cardio if you’re looking for an hour to increase your heart rate, but I doubt this hour is what you’d expect. Attend classes if you want to follow a routine and hit a little, but not if you’re looking for a kickbox!

Wednesday 10:30 | Hatha Flow with Rebecca

This class was a real yoga class. Instructor Rebecca clearly knew what she was talking about, and there were only about seven students in the class, which allowed her to work with each person individually to correct the form. This class is definitely more structured than the SunRISE class on Monday and is great for students who want a pure yoga routine. I liked the class because I had practiced yoga before and I was only looking for a 50-minute yoga class. She explained every move thoroughly in advance, so if you’re new to yoga, don’t be intimidated! There were different skill levels in the class, and Rebecca took care of those who were more advanced, as well as offering opportunities for those who could not complete the position completely. The only criticism I could give was the lack of music. At first it really blew me away, because I’m used to getting back to the relaxing music in the background when the instructor stops talking, but after a while I got used to it. Overall, I would recommend trying this class if you want a real yoga experience that will strengthen your yoga skills and bring you a sense of peace in the middle of the week!

So now that I’ve attended these courses, it’s up to you to try them out for yourself. Good luck!

Photo of Via Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

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