This semester, two new fitness classes have been added to the Elmen’s arsenal: PiYo and barre.
Freshman PiYo instructor Lily Monroe said PiYo is a beachbody program that combines elements of pilates and yoga, and is much faster paced than a regular yoga class.
The hour-long class is broken into different sections including a warm up, lower body pilates, full-body fusion, power, yoga-based flow segment, core and more, a stretching, strength section and a cool down.
Monroe comes from a family of self-proclaimed health-freaks.
“My mom is certified in six different beach-body things and she teaches zumba, so I started out asking if I could teach Zumba,” Monroe said. “My mom is friends with a master trainer, and this master trainer was like, ‘Hey, I could get you certified for only a hundred bucks versus two-fifty.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright!’”
Assistant director of Recreational Services Carmen Hecht said that Monroe had approached her in December saying she wanted to teach this PiYo class.
“We really didn’t have an opening time slot for her to teach, so that’s the reason why she’s on a Friday night,” Hecht said. “Generally, we would never pick a class on a Friday night, but it’s early enough and we thought it would be a good semester for her to teach and practice and get used to teaching.”
The barre instructor is freshman Angelina Gibson, a semi-retired ballet dancer and freelance choreographer with two professional experiences under her belt.
“Barre is a hybrid exercise class that has elements of ballet and yoga and pilates usually, but the majority of the method is usually ballet-based,” Gibson said.
Gibson taught ballet classes as a part of a professional dance company for two years, and that experience gave her the ability to develop her own breed of barre.
Gibson said, “I developed [the classes] to be a little more high intensity, just because one pet-peeve of mine is that I like a high calorie burner. I like a certain level of rigorous intensity, whereas sometimes I feel like barre doesn’t give me that at a consistent pace. So it’s a blend of traditional barre, but it’s also a blend of my more contemporary approach.”
Hecht said that there are a few items to consider when adding new classes like this to the mix.
“The challenge right now is that you can’t get a wood floor unless you go over to the Back Alley,” Hecht said. “The other thing with barre is that we don’t technically have a barre. We have a temporary barre that can be moved but with the class size in interim, the barre was just not big enough for the class size. It all depends. The instructors are having to adapt to the situation and to their space.”
Another challenge is the lack of available time slots. Of the barre class, Hecht said, “I haven’t had an instructor and I haven’t really had a time slot opening, so in order for me to make room for a barre class, that means another class has to go by the wayside. Obviously I don’t want to take a class away from an existing instructor.”
The classes have started off being populated by the instructors’ friends. Freshman Caryn Brakke has been to Monroe’s PiYo class four times. Brakke enjoyed the class because it was challenging and “not exhausting, but you feel like you’ve accomplished something afterwards. It’s lots of fun, and Lily does a really good job teaching it.”
Freshman Mariah Prunty has attended four of Gibson’s barre classes and liked how every class was different.
“Angelina offers variations for exercises if you need something more challenging or easier, Prunty said. “I was a dancer, so the added ballet components are familiar and make it unique.”
Monroe and Gibson both have goals for their classes to grow.
“I just want it to grow and get the word out,” Monroe said. “I’m thinking next semester it’ll get a lot bigger. I also want others to be more comfortable with it, too,” Monroe said. “There are a few moves that are specific to PiYo; I just want to have people be more comfortable with that.”
Gibson wants people to come to her class, too. She said, “You don’t have to wear a leotard!”