SAC works to adapt, keep up with fitness trends

About 3,500 to 4,000 people visit the Student Activity Center every day from Monday through Thursday during the months of November through April.

“We want to make sure we’re developing the entire student,” said Stan Shingles, assistant vice president of University Recreation. “We’re developing the academic and intellectual side but we also have to develop the wellness side of students. That’s why why we invest in this."

Shingles said recreation contributes to student success. SAC employees research trends in fitness by collecting student opinion, attending conferences, tracking popular workouts and testing new practices. 

More equipment is also being added to the SAC that is conducive to a diverse range of people. 

Women are the primary users of the fitness center, Shingles said, but prior to this fall, some of the equipment was male-dominated in its design. Staff went to expos, did research and tried out different equipment before choosing to get new workout machines.

“We (did research) to make sure we’re buying for a diversity of audience versus the equipment made 10-15 years ago that was made primarily for men with women expected to fit into it,” Shingles said.

The most popular group fitness classes are yoga, TRX and cycling, said Conner Edelbrock, assistant director of fitness and wellness. Edelbrock said hip hop dance, functional training and high intensity interval training are also popular.

“(With) fitness, there’s a lot of fads,” Edelbrock said. “I was just at a conference and they were saying there’s really only two trends that have stood the test of time. Over the last 30 years, the only two trends that have stuck around are indoor cycle and yoga.”

Walled Lake senior Victoria White, a public health intern at the SAC, said using social media to find workouts has also emerged as a popular fitness trend. She thinks social media workouts are largely positive because videos show people in proper form demonstrating correct ways to execute a workout.

Although social media workouts can be beneficial and convenient, students should be careful when using social media and realize everyone has their own starting point, Edelbrock said.

“I think it’s easy to kind of idolize somebody on Instagram and be like, ‘I’m going to do what they’re doing,’ but that person could be working out three times a day, they might have this long history of working out, so their workout might not suit everybody,” Edelbrock said.