Staring down a laptop perched on a desk, Carson Fulks welcomes participants and reminds them to have water ready for his virtual fitness class — “Zoomba.”
Fulks, a fourth-year in marketing, is one of what he estimates to be 60 group fitness instructors at Ohio State who stretched their skills and stayed flexible to virtually continue group fitness classes, now renamed Group Fitness LIVE.
Fulks, who started teaching Zumba in the spring, said students can sign up for virtual fitness classes through the university’s recreational sports website.
Once students join the Zoom call, Fulks begins the meeting with a poll question, such as how midterms are going, then jumps into the choreography.
“I’m really just trying to connect with them a little bit more, because we’re not able to do that in person, obviously,” Fulks said. He said the class follows a 10-song format with a water break halfway through and ends with a cool-down stretch, all of which can be done from the comfort of participants’ homes.
Faith Nimely, a fifth-year in accounting and fitness instructor, said that her Total Body Blast class typically unfolds in a bell-shaped curve. Like Fulks, she welcomes her Zoom class with a poll question and launches straight into the 45-minute workout.
“My class typically starts with moderate intensity and then high intensity is in the middle of it,” Nimely said. “You start relatively high, go your highest, and then we’ll come back down with the intensity.”
For Nimely, teaching a strength class is a far cry from the norm. She began as a cycling instructor last fall, but the class hasn’t been able to meet this semester since most students don’t have stationary bikes in their dorm rooms or houses.
Nimely said she was hesitant about teaching virtual fitness classes because the idea of switching her class and transitioning her teaching mode was unappealing, but she eventually agreed.
“Over the summer, I missed teaching so much,” Nimely said. “I used to think it was cycling, but it’s just the principle of teaching people and helping them better themselves that I really missed the most.”
Fulks said he struggled with the new class format as well, and said that some of its worst aspects included smaller class sizes and not being able to feed off of participants’ energy. Despite changes, Fulks said he’s glad he can continue to help people move and better their physical and mental health.
“One of the things I always say at the end of every class is just — I thank my participants for coming. But I also commend them on the sense that they’re taking a huge step for their overall mental and physical health,” Fulks said. “All we’re trying to do, this semester specifically, is we just want people to move, and we don’t really care how they’re moving.”
Students can register for online Group Fitness LIVE classes, such as yoga, pilates and hip hop fitness, on Ohio State’s recreational sports website.