Revision of Group Fitness Classes Proposal from Sun, 02/28/2010 - 8:45pm

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Proposal Paper

 

Group Fitness

According to Healthy Population (2009), “the latest exercise trend” sweeping the world is group fitness.  Group fitness classes are becoming increasingly more popular for many reasons, including the length of the classes, the total body workout you receive, and it is easier to be motivated in a team environment with an instructor to guide your workout. Many workout facilities offer a variety of group fitness classes throughout different times of the day to appeal to the workout preference and schedule of a wide population of people. 

 

 

 

Designing your own workout plan can pose as a challenge to most people unless they have the needed expertise in fitness. The reality of it is that the average person does not have the needed expertise to design, as well as put into action their own workout plan that would best suit their body, time needs, and motivational factors.  A major benefit of group fitness sessions is the fact that the planning and instructing is done for the person who attends the class by a qualified instructor.  These programs are researched and developed by an experienced team of doctors, trainers and physiologists so that moves are simple, safe and effective in getting the results that they promise (“Add Group Fitness Programs”, 2010).  The plan of the workout is left up to the trained instructor, while only attendance is required from the individual.  The routines are targeted exercises that work the whole body (“Group Fitness”, 2009). All programming is refreshed and enhanced every few months to keep you challenged and to keep the excitement going (“Add Group Fitness Programs”, 2010).

Group fitness offers a variety of different classes.  There is anything from kickboxing to belly dancing to yoga offered from most fitness facilities. A main benefit is these classes are offered at times to fit into the schedules of all different lifestyles. Classes are offered throughout various times during the day.  Also these classes typically only meet twice a week and last 45 minutes to an hour (“Group Fitness”, 2009).  Different classes are designed for different levels of fitness, offering class choices anywhere from the beginner to the advanced fitness person. Another benefit is the unique nature of these classes, attracting newcomers to the world of fitness. 

 

 

 

Being pushed by an instructor, along with the group/team atmosphere of group workout classes offers many people the needed motivation to attend workout classes as well as push themselves during these sessions. You're more likely to complete a well-rounded exercise routine and get a potentially tougher workout with group fitness sessions (Fritz, 2008).

The current workout facility at Eastern Oregon University offers its users a wide variety of amenities, yet it is lacking the opportunity for facilitated workouts.  The facility is currently equipped with the necessary equipment and appropriate area for group fitness classes, the missing piece is the offering of group fitness classes.  A cost effective and efficient way to implement such classes is for them to be offered through the INTACT program already in place at EOU. 

 

INTACT

Implementing group fitness classes to EOU could be done through the INTACT program.  INTACT classes are taught on campus (but that varies if the class needs to be located somewhere else, i.e. a hiking class) and are taught generally by students (M. Litchfield, personal communication, February 23, 2010). The qualifications to be an instructor are pretty minimal, the student just needs to have a pretty good idea and experience pertaining to whatever they want to teach about. A student must submit an INTACT course proposal form (SEE ATTACHMENT) to the INTACT office by the specified deadline; this deadline is typically about 6 weeks prior to the term the class will be taught. The course proposal form includes things such as the course goals, course design, grading criteria, teaching qualifications, materials needed, meeting dates and times, as well as if your class will need use of college facilities.  Once this form is filled out, it will go through an evaluation process including be reviewed by the INTACT director, Molly Litchfield, the dean, and then the registrar’s office for their final approval and posting the class on Webster.  

            The classes offered vary each term, a list of the proposed classes for the Spring 2010 are Understanding everyday words I and II, Beginning Knitting, ASEOU Senate and Executive training, Sexual Myth and Reality, Conversational Spanish, Southern Cooking, Intro to Mountain Biking, Beginning Rock Climbing, and Intermediate Rock Climbing (M. Litchfield, personal communication, February 23, 2010).  From this list the classes proposed that would qualify as workout/exercise classes are the rock climbing and the mountain biking classes.  These classes offer physical activity, but don’t offer strenuous exercise opportunities for students as received through the proposed group fitness classes. 

One problem with the current INTACT program at EOU is the fact that the instructors are not compensated in any way for their time or effort in teaching the classes. Not only do the instructors receive no pay, but they don’t even receive the credit themselves as they would if they were in the class instead of instructing it. With the current process of INTACT classes, in theory a person would be better off taking the class and receiving a credit than teaching the class and receiving no compensation whatsoever.

Classes such as gymnastics or aerobics, for example, have been offered at EOU in the past, but have come and gone over the years. One solution to the inconsistency of the group fitness classes at EOU is to offer incentives to the instructors, compensating them for their time and making the process of being an instructor more appealing.  According to the INTACT director, Molly Litchfield, “Last year the program pushed for getting a credit waiver for the class if the instructor decides to take it themselves too, but the administration was pretty stringent on not allowing that to happen.”  A solution to offering instructors incentives for teaching the proposed group fitness classes could be offering a class for instructors of INTACT classes. This class would be run like a class in which you get practicum credits for experience you are gaining. The amount of credits you are able to receive is usually based on the amount of work you do, and up to the discretion of your teacher.  The average amount of credits is usually anywhere from 1-5 credits, depending on the time spent, the work in relation to your major, and the quality of the work documented to the professor.  Because group fitness classes are related to physical activity and health, the professor in charge of this particular practicum would need to be a teacher from the physical activity and health department. One of the current requirements for an INTACT class is that you must have an instructor of record, meaning a professor on campus must sign to be your supervisor for your class. This could coincide perfectly with the professor who is in charge of the practicum classes. 

 

 

 

Experience

Going through the process of proposing an INTACT class and getting the plan implemented would be exceptional experience as far as the instruction portion, as well as preparing a curriculum and plan for the class. In order to prepare the course design and course goals of a workout class, the student must show expertise in the subject from personal experience or intellect gained.  When designing a group fitness class, as the instructor you have the responsibility of planning workouts that will best benefit your students.  Research and knowledge of the subject is needed in order to be successful in planning the workouts of other people allowing them to receive a total body workout.   

For a student who is pursuing a degree with the career goals of becoming a teacher, coach, administrator, personal trainer, or even nutritionist, being the instructor of a group fitness class poses a great opportunity for experience. And this experience will only add to ones resume appeal.  For those students who are looking to pursue teaching these classes in their futures at workout facilities, certification will be required.  This experience will further the individual in seeking their certification.  In addition to planning the curriculum of the class, the instructor is in charge of how often and for how long the class will meet throughout the course of the term.  On average, group fitness classes meet twice a week for a duration of 40 minutes to an hour (“Go for a Group Fitness Class”, 2009).  This allows adequate recovery time between sessions, while completing the duration of an aerobic workout for the body.  The chosen meeting times should be convenient for the instructor, as well as convenient for students with busy class schedules.  Most INTACT classes are held in the evenings, attendance graded on a pass/fail basis if the student can’t make all the meeting times for some reason.    

Along with the planning portion of teaching a group fitness class comes the actual instruction.  The instructor must be prepared prior to the session in order to run an effective and efficient group fitness routine, keeping the class motivated and on-schedule.  Being a student instructing a class of your peers can pose difficult and nerve-racking to some, yet making it a greater accomplishment and experience once completed.       

 

 

 

Location

            Through the INTACT proposal form there is a portion to state if the use of college facilities is needed for your class.  The INTACT program will help you to find a place for your class, and if a specific room is needed you can specify that through the proposal form.  Group fitness classes are usually held in a large open room where there are mirrors lining the front wall allowing the participants to view themselves, as well as the movements of the instructor in the front of the classroom.

 EOU happens to already have one of these aerobics-type rooms on campus which would be a perfect place to hold group fitness classes. The room is located in the Quinn Athletic facility, and is available to the use of students and classes upon scheduling request through the athletic office.  This room comes equip with the majority of the required materials to run a group fitness class.  There are already aerobic steps in the room, and light pound weights are available for use. 

 

                                                                                       

 

The room is lacking a build-in stereo system for these workouts, but a c.d. player/stereo is located in the room for use. Typically physical activity and health INTACT classes offered through EOU have an enrolment maximum of 10 people (M. Litchfield, personal communication, February 23, 2010).  The suggested location would allow for a capacity of 20 students to attend. 

 

Implementation

            To implement my proposal of adding group fitness classes to be offered at EOU, after the class is passed by an instructor to supervise for practicum credits, students must be informed this is a new option available as to attract interested students to the new program.  With the opportunity of compensation through receiving practicum credits, the appeal of teaching a fitness INTACT class grows to students. After an instructor teaches a class and then graduates and moves on from Eastern, the goal of the program is to have students who previously participated in the classes be able to take over the instructing, as to continue the classes even through the cycling of students.     

            Group fitness classes can be a variety of different subjects, the preference coming from the students and the instructors comfort level with different areas of fitness.  Potential classes that can be offered cover a large range of subject, from strength to dancing.  Offering different classes can be beneficial, as well as changing up the classes offered from term to term. Your goal with group fitness classes is to keep people coming back for more, preferably with friends in tow (Eason, 2007, p. 30-33). That happens when your members see results and don't get bored doing the same old moves to the same old music month after month (Eason, 2007, p. 30-33).  To keep a new program like this continuing from term to term, interest must be sparked upon the attendees to not only complete a term, but keep attending each term.  

            In order for this proposal to be a sustainable plan, the key is to provide incentives for the student instructor.  By allowing the student to receive practicum credits for the time they spend implementing an INTACT class, the student is gaining experience as well as obtaining credits toward their degree.  With this incentive the motivation and interest to make these classes a reality increases. 

There are many students on-campus who put large emphasis in their lives on working out.  Also, there is a large majority of students who are seeking careers related to physical activity and health.  The only opportunity students currently have to participate in such classes is through the local club.  This is a costly alternative for students, and is unnecessary considering the exceptional quality of the current EOU facility available to students included in their student fees. Implementation of my proposal will allow students to improve their physical health, diversify their education, and improve overall quality of life, all while receiving credits for taking or teaching the group fitness classes. 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

(2010). Add Group Fitness Programs to Your Journey at Lifestyle Family Fitness! Retrieved February 15, 2010, from Lifestyle Family Fitness: http://www.lff.com/GroupFitnessAndPrograms/GroupFitness.aspx

Eason, J. A. (2007, June). 2007 Group Fitness Trends. Fitness Management, 23, 30-33. Retrieved February 23, 2010, from Summit database.

Fritz, A. L. (2008, December 15). The Benefits of Group Exercise: Get Fit With Friends. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from Everyday Health: http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-motivation/group-exerc...

 (2009). Go for a Group Fitness Class. Retrieved January 16, 2010, from Healthy Population: http://www.healthypopulation.com/health-care/go-for-a-group-...

(2009). Group Fitness - Why You Should Try Group Fitness Classes. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from 24 Hour Fitness: http://www.24hrfitness.co.uk/fitness/group-fitness.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

This is a great proposal you have created. I was quite surprised to learn that currently teachers are not being compensated for teaching those types of classes. I completely agree and think that creating a group fitness class at EOU would be extremely beneficial to many students and it would create alot of interest. As a student myself, I know I would definitly sign up for such a class, so hopefully it becomes a reality!

I think that this is an awesome idea. I think that a group fitness idea is a great way for promoting a healthy lifestyle, especially in a college setting. College has many different ages of students, a group fitness program would bring many students together to achieve the same goal. This would be a positive addition to EOU, and would provide fitness opportunities to different age groups. Great idea, and great presentation.

I realizee that things are expensive to keep going these days, but for the individuals to be completely volunteering all of their time without any compensation is a bit harsh. I hope that the school looks at this as a way of increasing the health of their students and a new part of the programs available.

I like the idea that you have proposed here, and the issue you brought up of INTACT teachers not getting compensated for their time! An issue that should be addressed! A couple suggestions/questions: One thing would be to send out a questionaire to all the students at EOU to determine if there would be enough interested in the class to hold the class. Another thing would be to see if there would be a way that local community members could join the class for a fee that doesn't include tuition costs just for one exercise class. Some kind of agreement on a fee for community members might encourage more community members to join a class like this to help stay active and healthy.

Good point Matt. It is very important to assess the wants and need of the community or group involved before a program in started.I also like the idea of involving the local community as well.

Thanks for the great feedback everyone. Matt, I agree that a questionnaire around campus would be a great tool in finding out the interest in a program like this. I also think it would be nice to be able to offer the classes to community members at a fee. I know that there are many community members that buy passes to the fitness facility and maybe this could be a slight optional, additional fee with that payment. The only reason I did not suggest this was the fact that many of these classes are already offered in the community at the local club and I didn’t want to be completing directly with them. But, if we were to offer different types of classes on campus you could not get at the club or maybe at different times so appealing to people with different schedules, they wouldn’t be hurt by loosing business.

You did a great job on this proposal!

Carla's right about the competition. I know that EOU tries to not to compete with Grande Ronde Fitness Center so opening the classes up to the community might be more complicated. I also was suprised to hear about INTACT teachers not even getting credit. That's ridiculous! But as you mentioned Chelsea there is a PES 409 practicum class that I'm sure would count. Physical Activity & Health majors are required to have 3 different PES 409 practicum experiences. It would be good to market teaching a group fitness class as an option.

Since EOU already has a format for teaching group fitness set up, is the basis of you proposal saying that INTACT teachers should be compensated, in order to provide motivation, and then proposing that a practicum be that compensation?

Do you know of people who are interested in teaching these classes? I've always known of the the option of teaching an INTACT class, but have never felt qualified enough to teach one. Are there enough EOU students (or atleast one) who feels like they know enough to teach a class like this? (Once it is started that teacher can take it upon theselves to "mentor" someone to take over when they are gone.)

How then do you propose this actually gets started?

Angela, I was also appalled when I found out INTACT teachers were receiving no from of compensation. And yes, I propose that in order to get some sort of compensation they be allowed to use this experience to gain practicum credits through the PES 409 practicum class. As far as a person on campus to teach this goes, it would need to be advertised to find one. I know that there are students who teach these types of classes at the Grande Ronde Fitness Center already who may be interested in also teaching them at Eastern if they know they would at least receive credits for their time. As you said once there are instructors in place the plan is to have them be able to mentor others taking the class to eventually take over the instructing.

With this proposal of the instructors being compensated through practicum credits, I would hope that in the future if this picks up more compensation could be provided, such as payment. But the current INTACT procedures would have to be changed in order for this to happen and from my research and discussion with the INTACT director they have attempted this, but the administration did not pass it. I know the people who teach fitness classes at the local club are paid $9 an hour (although they also receive a free membership to the club) which is a pretty small amount. It would seem fair to pass payment for these instructors eventually even if it is a small amount such as this, but that could be a whole other proposal in itself!

Thanks for the great comments and questions