In addition to its usual classes offered each semester, Oklahoma Christian University’s TeamOC now offers classes in Aikido (Self Defense), Stretch & Soothe, REFIT and a reboot to kickboxing, which will be a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.
TeamOC is a fitness initiative instituted by Darci Thompson, Oklahoma Christian’s director of wellness, in 2008. It was founded to give faculty and staff fun, constructive ways to stay healthy. Last year, when they allowed students to participate for the first time, they were met with an overwhelmingly positive response.
“TeamOC is about healthy lifestyle and making changes that are sustainable, providing opportunities for people to make those changes.” TeamOC Body and Soul Instructor Arianne Gillham said.
After joining as a student of Body and Soul at her church for three years, Gillham began working toward being an instructor. Today, at Oklahoma Christian she serves as a swim instructor, director of the Dub and the manager of the other instructors, in addition to her Body and Soul classes.
“During my first session, my instructor said to me, ‘you need to start thinking about being an instructor,’” Gillham said. “I laughed and laughed because I was not happy and I was not fit.”
However, three years later, Gillham began her year-long training as an instructor. She auditioned, finished the training and did a year of practice under another instructor.
Gilliham went to Thompson immediately after being certified, wanting to host her class on Oklahoma Christian’s campus. Gillham said, like many, she struggled to stay motivated in her workouts, so she became the instructor.
“Confession: I love exercise once I get there, but getting up is hard and thinking, ‘ugh I have to do that today,’” Gillham said. “I became an instructor so I would have to go, to make it a part of my life, to not make it something I dread to do.”
An advocate for physical and mental health, sophomore McKenna Box said he is very involved with TeamOC and Eagles Health Initiative. He said TeamOC classes are a catalyst for good health routines, as well as a way to maintain them.
“It is a good way to introduce yourself to health and fitness,” Box said. “A lot of people start on their own and get really lost, and they don’t know what to do. But the classes are really structured and organized, so it gives people a nice foundation to be able to move on and do things outside of class time.”
Gillham said TeamOC classes are a great resource in staying active and healthy for students, faculty and staff, regardless of age or gender.
“TeamOC provides so much,” Gillam said. “The fitness challenge is one of the first things she [Thompson] implemented and it is still going strong. We also did the first student fitness challenge last semester.”
Freshman Jasmine Spivey was introduced to TeamOC classes at Earn Your Wings. Spivey attended power yoga and said the classes are challenging, fun and upbeat.
“The [instructor] was really encouraging to those of us who were not used to it,” Spivey said. “It was a very judgment-free zone, as everyone was trying their best. It was a lot of fun”.
Gillham said taking time out of the day to be active has many benefits not only for physical health, but also mental health and studying habits.
“It gives you 45 minutes to an hour to just let go of your classes,” Gillham said. “It gives your brain some time to do different activity. Studying is great, but your brain needs a break from it. When you are studying you should get up every 15-20 minutes. It gets your blood flowing, and helps your brain.”
More information about TeamOC and the schedule for classes can be found online.