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GroupX exercise classes allow Bruins to build fitness, community bonds

(Kelly Gee/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Crosnoe

Feb. 22, 2024 6:30 p.m.

From dance cardio to restorative yoga, UCLA Recreation’s GroupX classes offer many communal exercise experiences for students.

Drop-in GroupX classes meet in the John Wooden Center or online as part of UCLA’s larger FITWELL program and include exercises such as strength training, yoga, pilates, spin and dance. Students have two options for quarterly class passes: a $45 pass that gives students access to all classes, in-person and virtual, and a $30 pass for virtual classes only.

Ashley Knott, a second-year psychology student, said she has taken classes focused on spin, dance cardio and hip-hop. She added that she initially signed up for the classes in order to find a more fulfilling form of exercise.

“I’m just not really a huge fan of the gym and working out,” Knott said. “I wanted to rediscover enjoying exercise and being able to have fun and get a good workout in.”

Knott added that she bought the $45 pass and appreciated how it gave her access to unlimited classes that quarter.

Other students said they take GroupX classes for accountability in their exercise routines. Krittika Senthilkumar, a first-year biology student, said these classes have helped her become more consistent with exercising.

“It makes me more motivated because I see other people doing it, and they motivate me,” Senthilkumar said. “We’re all doing the same thing, so it’s not like I can just stop doing it.”

Senthilkumar said she also enjoyed how the classes gave her alone time. She added that because her yoga class was not very social, she was able to focus on herself.

While some seek alone time in their GroupX classes, others see it as a chance to socialize. Gina Chang, a first-year business economics student, said she tried a class aimed at lower body strength that included resistance band activities and abdominal-focused movements. She added that it was a fun and interactive experience that also allowed her to spend more time with her roommate.

“We’re random roommates, but it was a good bonding activity to do something with her,” Chang said.

However, Chang said she was unsure if she would go through with buying the pass and would first consider the busyness of her academic schedule when deciding whether or not to make the purchase.

GroupX classes are also a way for students to discover new forms of exercise. Knott said she signed up for Hip Hop Burlesque, adding that though she had never taken a dance class before, she wanted to try it out because of her love of the video game series “Just Dance.” She said the instructor, a UCLA student, taught fun hip-hop-inspired moves such as body rolls, adding that she enjoyed the instructor’s confidence and encouragement during class.

Knott said she had similarly positive experiences with all of her GroupX class instructors, many of whom are UCLA students.

“They’re just normal students, which I really like,” she said. “They understand that, ‘Hey, if you have to leave early because you have a class, that’s OK,’ or ‘Hey, if you’re maybe not feeling it as much today, take breaks.’”

Knott added that she would be interested in pursuing more GroupX classes in the future, such as Worldanz, a class that teaches dances from different cultures around the world. However, her biggest priority remains taking classes that bring her personal enjoyment.

“I want to be able to enjoy myself,” she said. “It’s just about exercising and really being appreciative of my body.”

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Alexandra Crosnoe
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