IUPUI offers fitness options for beginners and pros

Members work out on the cardio equipment in the Fitness Center.View print quality image
Members work out on the cardio equipment in the Fitness Center. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Whether you are a New Year's resolutioner starting out or a seasoned fitness veteran continuing your fitness journey, IUPUI has resources on campus to help.

A $22.91 monthly payroll deduction grants faculty and staff a membership to IUPUI Campus Recreation's two facilities -- Jaguar Campus Recreation and the IU Natatorium -- and group classes.

Located in the basement of the Campus Center since 2018, Jaguar Campus Recreation offers members free weights, weight machines, 10 treadmills, six ellipticals, three gender-neutral shower rooms, and men's and women's locker rooms with daily-use lockers.

Depending on the availability of the space due to campus athletics and events, the IU Natatorium grants members access to an Olympic-sized pool, basketball/volleyball courts, and men's and women's locker rooms.

Inside IUPUI spent time with fitness specialist Dylain Hensley to showcase what options are available, whether you're starting or continuing your fitness goals.

A member checks into the Fitness Center.View print quality image
Members check in at the front desk of the Fitness Center before enjoying the facilities. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Beginners

Sometimes the hardest step is the first one, and when it comes to fitness and health, Hensley recommends focusing on yourself and not others.

"A lot of people are intimidated by the thought of being judged and watched by other people," he said. "While it can be challenging initially, everyone in the gym is in there for themselves, and no one is really paying attention to you. You're putting yourself in the spotlight when no one else is. Do what you can and work from there."

Attendants working at Jaguar Campus Recreation are available resources for guests to better learn the layout and equipment. Hensley cited the weight machines as a great place to start for beginner gym members. This equipment features picture diagrams and instructions on the machines that show how to do the exercises and offer a limited chance of injury.

"All of our machines have a fixed movement pattern," Hensley said. "There's less of a learning curve with the machines. You are only able to do a set motion."

Group classes also offer a welcoming entry point for beginners.

"Because it's going to be led by an instructor and you're going to be told what to do, I would recommend a group class for a beginner," Hensley said. "They'll correct you on your form, they will help you with your accountability, and then being in a group setting can help add a little motivation. Having that guidance, if you're a beginner, is very beneficial."

Bikes sit in the group exercise room in the Fitness Center.View print quality image
Plenty of bikes are available in the group exercise room in the Fitness Center. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Hensley recommended three classes for beginners to explore, noting that previous experience is not required, and the instructor will modify based on skill:

  • Yoga: "This is more of a relaxing atmosphere and what you think a traditional yoga class would be. The instructor will go through poses and will modify them as needed."
  • WERQ: "WERQ is similar to Zumba in that it's a choregraphed fitness dance class, but this is more hip-hop music, while Zumba uses more Latin-based sounds."
  • Cycling: "This is a wonderful class for beginners to try out. The class is led by an instructor and varies in intensity while also using a piece of equipment that has a very small learning curve."

Register and see more-detailed descriptions for classes on Campus Recreation's website.

Advanced

Free weights, weight machines and cardio equipment in the fitness centerView print quality image
Open since 2018, the Campus Recreation Center has free weights, weight machines and cardio equipment available for its members. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The quality of the facilities and range of group classes give experienced gym rats plenty to use on IUPUI's campus.

Formally the basement of the IUPUI Campus Bookstore, the newly renovated space has been open since 2018. The facility and equipment of Jaguar Campus Recreation are still fresh and new, and they mirror what's available at most traditional gyms.

"It's right there in terms of the quality of equipment that other campus recreation facilities have," Hensley said. "We are a little smaller in size, but in terms of versatility and functionality of the equipment, we meet all of the needs."

Hensley recommended three classes specifically for more-experienced employees:

  • HIIT (high-intensity interval training): "These classes feature highly intensive exercises for a period of time and then repeat. The movements vary depending on what the instructor is focusing on."
  • Tabata: "It's similar to HIIT but is more structured. It's a 60-minute class that has 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, with anywhere between 8 and 12 exercises. It's a fairly challenging class."
  • MX4: "This class combines resistance training with some form of conditioning. Individuals can really push themselves with it, using a variety of movements."

To sign up or read more about all 11 classes, visit the Campus Recreation website.

Fitness at your convenience

These two options in the heart of campus provide faculty and staff a plethora of opportunities to utilize the facilities when it fits into their schedule. Hensley says sometimes faculty and staff are only able to stay for half or 75 percent of a class, but that's not a problem.

"For lunch breaks, it's a great option -- or if you're looking to come right after work, we can facilitate a quick schedule," he said.

These amenities being located only a brief walk from most employees' desk and work spaces is highly convenient and offers plenty of benefits.

And why should employees take advantage of these opportunities?

"It's healthy -- it's good for you and can help relieve stress," Hensley said. "There are a lot of benefits to exercise, especially if you're sitting at a desk all or most of the day. It can elevate moods and increase work productivity, I don't really see a reason why someone shouldn't do it. Even if you only have 30 minutes to utilize what we have, why not do it? You're going to benefit from it."