The Daily Gamecock

Group X fitness classes aim to provide safe, challenging exercise environment

<p>A door marks the entrance to the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center.</p>
A door marks the entrance to the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center.

With gyms closed for long periods of time due to the coronavirus pandemic and home gym equipment being expensive and difficult to assemble, some people’s personal fitness might have taken a hit during quarantine. Now that classes have begun and students are back on campus, Group X is providing structure to students’ personal fitness efforts.

“We are constantly reviewing and refreshing on the university guidelines, state guidelines, and CDC guidelines along with constant contact with other similar schools to see what best practices are and what has changed day-by-day,” Michael Lagomarsine, assistant director of fitness for Campus Recreation, said in an email interview. “Our goal is to provide fitness offerings for all of our students in a safe and comforting manner.” 

Group X is offering both in-person and online fitness class options and has made it easier to register for classes. Instead of waiting in lines or arriving at Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center only to find out that a class is already full, students can either visit the university website, Group X’s Instagram page or download the IMLeagues app to register. 

Fourth-year Group X instructor Samantha Halsted said she recommended the app for registration.

“We have three options [for registration], but they all go back to the IMLeagues app,” Halsted, a business management and marketing student, said. 

Group X offers a wide variety of classes, including BodyATTACK, BodyFLOW, cycle, yoga and many more varieties for personal fitness preference. Any South Carolina student can sign up for unlimited virtual and in-person classes for the semester for $20.

"It’s a cool concept where we have the opportunity to have all the best instructors in the world right here in our building," Lagomarsine said about the virtual Les Mills classes. "Studio 125 in the STWFC was converted with a large screen, projector, and iPad. We put the classes on our schedule and they automatically start at the time of the class."

Group X classes take multiple precautionary measures to ensure both safety and sanitation for participants and their instructors. All rooms in Strom that are used for fitness classes are fully sanitized before and after every class using “a hydrostatic disinfectant sprayer recommended by the CDC,” according to Lagomarsine, and there is at least an hour between any classes in the same room. Class sizes and the use of equipment have been reduced, too, and 10-by-10-foot personal exercise boxes have been established in all rooms to allow for social distancing.

Masks are required in Strom and can only be removed once inside a personal exercise box or on a high-intensity machine, such as a bike during a cycle class. Group X management and instructors said they are confident the steps they are taking are effective and in line with CDC guidelines while providing the best experience they can. 

Second-year instructor and psychology student Bridget Hughes said Group X has certain goals for the semester.

“We’re super excited to be back and are doing everything we can to make our classes the safest we can for both our participants and our instructors while still keeping them fun and challenging,” Hughes said.