Group fitness is making a comeback in recreational sports

After a short break, students have the opportunity to participate in group fitness

By Ryan Brees, staff writer

Group fitness classes returned to Recreational Sports in the Health United Building (HUB) last week.

In response to a student petition and expressed desire for the program by students and staff at the HUB, the Xavier administration provided the program with a part-time TriHealth employee to bring the program back.

In October 2021, the Recreational Sports Group Fitness Program Coordinator resigned, leaving the position vacant. Following the resignation, the role was restructured and changed to an Assistant Director position at the HUB.

Over the summer, Rec Sports received word that the position had been eliminated, effectively ending the group fitness program.

Photo courtesy of
Just a month after cutting the group fitness option based in the Health United building, recreational sports has reinstated the option for students.

Director of Recreational Sports Leslie Dulle explained the importance of the position and the qualifications required to fill it.

“I need someone with certifications who can supervise students, help them get their certifications, and manage all the responsibility around that. That’s why we weren’t going to have the program initially. I didn’t have anyone on staff with that experience,” Dulle said.

“I think part of it was a lack of understanding of the amount of expertise that is required to run a program like this. We don’t turn on the stereo and just say, ‘move your arms like this,'” continued Dule.

The elimination of the group fitness program caused frustration among students and staff. This prompted a student official to create and organize a petition that circulated throughout the student body.

“Last year we had about 600 students come and attend classes,” Dulle noted.

Speaking about the importance of group fitness classes, Dulle explained: “First of all, there is a mental health crisis. Exercise is known to be one of the biggest contributors to positive well-being.

Photo courtesy of Greg Rust/Xavier University
Xavier created a part-time position to meet the needs of the group fitness program, which helped bring the program back from the dead.

She also described how the lack of group fitness classes specifically affects women at Xavier.

“I think women tend to be a little more hesitant to walk into a fitness facility compared to a private gym. I think our group exercises remove some of the barriers that women can feel when they come here,” she said.

Dalle also emphasized the community aspect of the classes.

“There is a sense of belonging. It’s easy to grab your friend and say, “Let’s try yoga or Zumba class.” It’s a way to get in with a bunch of other people. This makes exercise less personal. I just think it’s a great way to make friends and find a sense of belonging,” Dulle added.

To meet the needs of the new position, the university has created a part-time position that is affiliated with TriHealth, one of Xavier University’s affiliates. This employee will provide the expertise needed to manage the group fitness program, resulting in the return of the program.

From this week, students will be able to attend group fitness classes, with instructors once again employed.

As the position is only part-time, there will be a few changes to the group fitness program.

“At this time, personal training will be on pause due to the amount of supervision it requires. We will be cutting back to about 25 classes per week, but we are still extremely happy with the classes we will be able to offer. We think it will still work for students. I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Dulle said.

He also described some next steps for the program below.

“I work hard to promote it. We know students care because they spoke up. Hopefully as soon as the classes go live next week we will have a good turnout which we will continue to monitor.”

Overall, excitement is in the air at Rec Sports.

“When the students come back, the building feels more alive. I’m excited because I know he needs it. Importantly, this may be the only reason some people come to the Recreation Center. It helps create a fitness routine that has all kinds of benefits.”

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