July 18, 2019 | 85° F

RU recreation offers classes for gym rats, couch potatoes


Jaclyn, demonstrating a yoga pose above, teaches “Fitness Yoga” on Mondays at the
College Avenue Gym and Thursdays at the Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus.

There was a time in my life when I was physically fit. I was in elementary school, and back in those days, schools across the nation would hold a yearly physical fitness test in gym class. This was before everyone got an award just for participating, and the competition was cutthroat.

Only two students in each class were chosen to receive the highest honor — the Presidential Award, “signed” by then-commander-in-chief George W. Bush — and for some reason, in 2003, I was one of them. My mother framed the certificate to commemorate the biggest achievement of my eight years on Earth.

That was the beginning and end of my life as an “athlete.” These days, some of my favorite activities include sitting, lying down and sleeping in the fetal position. I have never owned a sports bra, and the only sneakers I own are a pair of Converse that only touch my feet when I perform my monthly pretend exercise regimen of running up two flights of stairs and then taking a nap.

It’s also dangerous for me to exercise because I’m an uncoordinated nerd and WiiFit told me my “body age” is 43. For example, one time I tried to be sporty by running down a steep rock, which subsequently resulted in gravity throwing me to the ground like a helpless baby bird flung from its nest.

I blame my physiology for making me this way. Logic dictates that I should be obese, but I have been an exceptionally diminutive person since my premature birth. I can eat poorly and not exercise and still shop in the children’s section at Target. I know it’s not fair, but nature put me in the 10th percentile for my height and weight, not me.

I know there are people out there like me who want to get a little regular exercise but can’t trust themselves to perform physical activity for more than five minutes. Fitness classes are a good choice for exercise haters because they make working out less tedious and force us to keep going.

I had the option between something called “BODYATTACK,” in all caps, which sounds like the title of a bad horror movie in which I die a violent death, and “Fitness Yoga.” Since I definitely did not want my fitness class to make me cry, bleed or wet myself, I chose the second option, clearly a more appropriate choice for someone with the same physical limitations as a pre-menopausal woman.

Jaclyn was the instructor for the class, and she was a really nice lady. She teaches “Fitness Yoga” at 7 p.m. on Mondays and 7:45 p.m. on Thursdays at the Werblin Recreation Center on Busch campus and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays at the College Avenue Gym. She starts out her multi-level class with some positive affirmations about success before she moves into some basic moves, which become more challenging as the hour passes.

In terms of the equipment, you have the option between a slippery piece of foam supplied by the gym or bringing your own yoga mat. I recommend the latter. The intensity of the class is pretty mild, so even though I ate a Wendy’s Jr. Cheeseburger and fries right beforehand, I still enjoyed the experience and kept up with the routine.

The best part was toward the end of the class, when Jaclyn turned off the light, had us roll onto our sides and told us how special we are. It was incredibly comforting, and I found myself wanting a glass of milk and a kiss on the forehead.

For those of you interested in trying out a few classes for yourself, you can purchase a Fitness Flex Pass from Rutgers Recreation for the whole or half of the semester.

MaryEllen Cagnassola

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