College Compass | Why everyone should take a Pitt workout class

College Compass is a bi-weekly blog that aims to help students navigate the highs and lows of college life.


By Ana Altchek, Staff Writer

Pitt fitness classes — online and in person — are life-changing.

As someone who’s spent the majority of her life avoiding athletics, I never expected to advocate so passionately for a college workout class. But global pandemics change people — and after a few months of complete stagnancy, fitness became a necessary inclusion in my daily life for both my mental and physical health.

I know I’m not alone when I say that the quarantine lifestyle led me to develop a passion for walking. During the summer, I began walking 7-10 miles a day as a way to get out of the house and clear my head. But even though I would love to continue my long-distance walks throughout the year, devoting three hours a day to physical activity isn’t feasible as a senior with a full schedule of classes and looming job applications. Plus, as the weather gets colder, that kind of routine feels physically torturous.

Fortunately, Pitt offers a wide variety of workout classes that allow students an easy and convenient way to still get in frequent physical exercise. The greatest perk about these classes is that they’re completely free. They offer structure and guidance, and several of these one-credit courses could even boost your GPA.

For students who plan to take courses fully online, these classes can still be effective. In fact, I particularly enjoyed the virtual option because it made me feel significantly more comfortable to workout in the privacy of my own home without worrying about running into anyone or being watched. The virtual option also allows students to make the workout as easy or difficult as they desire. If a student is feeling lazy, they can get away with not doing much. On the contrary, students can also increase their sets or lift with heavier objects if they want to push themselves further.

For students who are craving some in-person interaction, some of these classes can offer that, as well. While some fitness classes remained online, a few switched to in person. When I first had the option to go in person, the walk to Trees Hall for a 10 a.m. cycling class didn’t sound too appealing. Yet, after a couple classes, I actually found that going in person allowed me to interact with other students again and added a sense of normalcy to my life that I missed.

Whether the class is online or in person, both options are equally effective. Ever since I started my workout class I’ve been in the best shape of my life. The virtual bootcamp-style class caused a noticeable improvement in how toned I look, and my in-person cycling class has been great as a cardio workout.

Without in-person classes, it can be difficult to maintain a structured lifestyle, and the no-camera option often results in students barely rolling out of bed when they tune in to lectures. Luckily, my morning cycling class forced me to actually get up early and move, which I found kick-started my day and increased my productivity.

Even if COVID-19 wasn’t still an issue, these classes are a great option for any student who wants to get into working out. While the gym is always an option, having an actual scheduled class forces students to show up on a regular basis and incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. Plus, with COVID-19 in the air, it’s more important than ever to exercise and make sure your lungs are in good shape.

When creating a spring semester schedule in the coming weeks, don’t shy away from adding a workout class to your schedule. While it may seem like an intimidating commitment, it’s been a major source of tension relief for me. Plus, if I of all people can do it — and like it — you probably will too.

Ana Altchek is a writer for The Pitt News. She writes primarily about cultural issues and self-care. Write to her at [email protected].