SPAC expands group fitness during Winter Quarter

Jean Luo

Cold weather often forces more students to exercise indoors during the winter months, but Tiffany Fong still was surprised to find the Sports Pavilion and Aquatics Center so busy when she returned from Winter Break.

“Usually on the track you can stay in your own lane and run freely, but I had to swivel around people,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “(I) had to take my mat outside the stretching room because there were so many people in there.”

Following an upswing in interest in exercise, SPAC has expanded its Group Fitness Program, offering more than 25 different classes in cardiovascular and strength and mind and body fitness.

Nancy Tierney, SPAC’s fitness and wellness director, said enrollment often doubles during Winter Quarter because of low temperatures. This quarter SPAC is offering new classes such as core strength and aqua plus. For $99, students can purchase a combination pass, which provides unlimited access to all classes.

“We’ve added some new and exciting formats to group fitness,” she said. “We always try to add something new and exciting to the program to keep our regular members interested and motivated, as well as encourage and entice new people to join.”

Cheryl Middaugh said the Group Fitness Program is inspiring her to overcome the laziness of Winter Quarter.

“Machines bore me,” said Middaugh, a Weinberg senionr. “I just can’t motivate myself to get on a stairclimber.”

Middaugh said the cycling and aerobics classes she attends at SPAC have helped her become more disciplined.

Julia Holczer, who has worked at SPAC for four years, said attendance greatly increases at the beginning of Winter Quarter each year.

“It’s so packed during the first couple weeks of January,” said the Weinberg senior. “Everyone’s coming in with New Year’s resolutions.”

Holczer also attributed an increase in attendance to weather conditions and safety concerns. During Fall Quarter 12 students were assaulted or attacked on and near Northwestern’s campus.

In addition to classes, many students also use SPAC’s regular exercise facilities and equipment. The building is most crowded from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, according to supervisor Hannah McCrea.The Weinberg sophomore said SPAC also enjoys a considerable morning rush.

“There are people who park themselves at the door and are waiting for you when you come in,” she said.

Many come irregularly or a few times per week, McCrea said, while others are extremely devoted to fitness.

“I’ve seen people come every day for a year,” she said. “They’re pretty good about it.”

Vanessa Madrigal, a McCormick freshman, said she hopes to maintain the exercise regimen she developed midway through Fall Quarter when she began feeling less fit.

“I kinda noticed when I walked up stairs, I’d lose breath,” she said. “And my clothes were getting tighter.”

Although she didn’t exercise regularly before, she now has a regular date with the indoor track and elliptical machine at SPAC. Madrigal said she wants to maintain her high hopes for an active winter quarter.

“I’m pumped,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll stay fit this winter instead of sitting around and gaining weight.”

SPAC class free this Saturday

At 3 p.m. Saturday, SPAC will host a free Master Mix class to preview the winter Group Fitness Program. The two-hour nonstop session will feature various instructors and formats.