Athletic classes draw students
With athletic seasons wrapping up and warm weather on the horizon, a growing number of students are looking for ways to exercise and stay in shape. Physical activity is an integral part of student life, and the College offers a variety of classes to meet the needs of athletes and non-athletes alike. From faculty-led training and yoga sessions to student-instructed mind and body workouts, there is something for everyone.
Student-athletes looking to gain a competitive edge in their respective sports seek the help of Dawn Strout. Strout has worked as the College’s strength and conditioning coordinator since fall 2010. Strout works with all 32 varsity teams in and out of season, and she administers daily classes open to the public.
Strout’s classes range from speed and agility workouts to core exercise and interval conditioning. Interval workouts consist of short stints of anaerobic weight lifting or core work, immediately followed by aerobic conditioning exercises. Core workouts focus strictly on abdominal work and balance. Strout’s work capacity classes offer ways for students to have fun and get in shape all at once.
Alex Mintz ’14 and other members of the women’s lacrosse team attend speed and agility and workout capacity classes twice a week in the fall and winter. “Dawn condenses a great workout into just an hour or so. She is very experienced and knows how to get you in shape. It’s also fun to go with other students and team members. It makes working out less boring,” Mintz said.
Colby hockey player Sam Courcelles ’14 attends class three times a week and enjoys Strout’s efficiency. “Dawn makes her classes very high tempo and high intensity so we don’t waste any time. I can get a good workout done in an hour and a half, and the exercises are diversified so it never gets boring,” Courcelles said.
While athletes enjoy most of her classes, Strout encourages non-athletes to experience the benefits of her workouts. “We’re developing a beginner course that focuses on weight lifting technique and form, in hopes of encouraging those who are not as experienced to work out,” said Strout. Strout is also experimenting with the idea of rearranging the weight room in hopes of making it less clustered and intimidating to non-athletes.
Students looking for a relaxing workout and increased flexibility attend yoga sessions run by Laura Meader. Meader, the assistant director of alumni relations for the College, has been teaching yoga classes on the Hill for the past four years.
Meader’s sessions are “60-minute practices that consist of a short centering period, where students turn inward to connect with their breath and their intention for coming to the mat. We practice asana, which are yoga poses, moving through the poses with breath. Some poses we hold for 30 to 60 seconds, some we flow in and out of. At the end of class, students take savasana, or corpse pose, which is a period of deep relaxation,” Meader said.
Yoga is a widespread practice on the Hill. Whitney Trook ’13 attends class once a week to relax in a non-threatening environment. “I like the class because it’s not as crowded as the gym, and the corpse pose at the end offers a great way to relieve mental tension,” Trook said. Chris Buonomo ’12, member of the Colby hockey team, attends the yoga class to increase his flexibility. “After being an athlete for a long time, I always trained but realize now that I never stretched properly. I get that in yoga. I just feel really good and relaxed once it is over,” Buonomo said.
Meader is not surprised by yoga’s popularity, as her classes meet a variety of goals. “Some people come to relax and let go of mental or physical tension. Some come to get energized. Both of these goals can be obtained in the same class,” she said.
Additionally, student-led fitness sessions are also available on the Hill. Thomas Kader ’14, a psychology major and member of the Colby hockey team, designs and directs training regimens where students and athletes can become more aware of the connection between the body and the mind. Kader has practiced yoga and mental relaxation for the past year in combination with weight training.
Kader runs small group sessions for students “looking to improve linear and lateral movement, stamina, and above all else, spirit,” he said. Kader’s diverse exercises are inspired by his work with a Boston-area strength and condition coach, Mike Boyle. Sessions begin with stretching and suppleness workouts, then progress to intense speed and agility and weight lifting intervals.
Dori McAuliffe ’14 has trained with Kader and loves his enthusiasm. “Tommy is very knowledgeable and fun to work out with. He’s very encouraging and provides a great workout,” McAuliffe said.
Kader is also founder of the newly originated Awareness student club and encourages involvement. “Awareness’ goal is to become challenged with body postures in yoga and stillness so that students and athletes become more aware of the effect the mind has on the body,” Kader said. In addition to student membership, Awareness has also garnered attention from faculty members.
The College provides students with a variety of exercise options. Further information on fitness classes, times and locations can be found on the College’s website. For more information regarding Awareness, or to set up a session with Thomas Kader, follow AwareAthlete on Twitter or e-mail Awareathletics@gmail.com.