Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Oklahoma Christian University is out to defeat the “Freshman 15.” The campus’ resident health program (TeamOC) is revamping the school’s fitness program by adding more workout classes.
Last year students began attending workout classes such as Zumba and yoga.
“I really like it because it basically feels like you aren’t even working out, especially in Zumba,” senior Ryan Sams said. “Zumba is one of my favorites.”
Both of the classes offered last year quickly became popular and were widely attended by both men and women.
“I know a lot of guys go to the yoga class because it’s such a strength workout and it hurts,” Zumba instructor and junior Morgan Barnett said. “It’s working your core, your legs and I know some guys that come out of there hurting.”
Many of the people behind TeamOC were surprised at the number of people that continued to attend the classes throughout the year.
“Going to [Zumba Instructor] Haley’s classes last year I was always just totally in shock by how many people there were,” Barnett said. “We would have anywhere from 50 to 80 to 100 people in the barn at one time.”
Even during busy times of the semester students proved they would continue to attend the classes.
“It’s always seemed pretty busy in all the classes,” senior Ricci Reding said. “Even during Spring Sing semester it has seemed pretty consistent.”
This year TeamOC will be undergoing a few changes thanks to Director of Wellness Darci Thompson.
“My main goal is to give our campus community simple opportunities that encourage healthy lifestyles,” Thompson said. “We have started on a small level, but I am hopeful we will continue to see major growth towards our TeamOC initiatives in the future.”
TeamOC has increased the amount of classes offered throughout the week in addition to including a new kickboxing class.
“I am really excited they are increasing the number of classes,” Sams said. “I have my [school] schedule all planned out so it will fit around the [workout] schedule.”
Along with the new class, TeamOC will be introducing a new fitness instructor.
“The instructor, Lindsey Skinner, is awesome and she is really looking forward to getting people in good shape,” Barnett said.
The new kickboxing class, however, is expected to be a tougher addition to the fitness schedule.
“I did the 30-minute sample class and I was dying,” Reding said. “It’s hard and the instructor is super serious, but I think it’s going to be good.”
Reding has worked alongside Thompson and expressed how beneficial the class is.
“The main focus is to get students and faculty and staff healthier,” Reding said. “It’s a good way to communicate with people and get together and work out, but do it in a fun manner.”
One of the many benefits of offering these workout options on campus is that it is free for students.
“It’s benefitting to the students because they don’t have to pay,” Barnett said. “These are free for the students. If you go anywhere else in Edmond or Oklahoma City you will have to pay a gym membership or you have to pay every time you go to a class. These are totally free classes.”
For Barnett, the classes are a way to take her mind off of things.
“It’s a good way to come and interact with others,” Barnett said. “I look at it more of a stress reliever than a workout.”
Attendance has proved how many students on campus enjoy the fitness classes.
“Last year we had over 300 participants attending at least one of our fitness classes and we are hoping this year we will be able to double that number,” Thompson said. “It is so encouraging to see so many students, faculty and staff taking advantage of the opportunity to work out.”
This year TeamOC began at Dry Gulch with a Zumba class during Oklahoma Christian’s annual Earn Your Wings freshmen orientation.
“I probably had around 50 people in my class at Dry Gulch during Earn Your Wings,” Barnett said. “I was in shock because most people at OC will only be at Dry Gulch once and they chose to go to a work out class instead of doing all the cool things there. It blew my mind.”
The classes at Earn Your Wings left high hopes regarding class attendance for this year.
“I think class attendance is going to be really good this year,” Barnett said. “I think the freshmen and sophomores will be a huge factor in attendance because they are so involved.”
Thompson says there will be a a 12-week competition program based on encouragement and assistance to help each individual begin the challenge of meeting their personal fitness goals.
“The weight loss challenge is really just a fitness and healthy lifestyle challenge that I wanted to start this year on a trial basis,” Thompson said. “I would love for it to be an every semester program that allowed 10-15 faculty and staff as well as 10-15 students to participate.”
The hopes for the competition are to motivate students even more to get healthy.
“When people have some incentive and motivation they tend to work a little bit harder,” Barnett said. “I think that’s what the fitness challenge is for. I am really hoping that it gets set up.”
The work going on behind TeamOC’s wellness program is still getting off the ground. Students can expect to see many more changes over the next few years.