The Five Most Important Biking Accessories (On and Off-Campus)

1. Helmet

Not everyone wears a helmet on campus, but we all really should, especially if you bike alongside road traffic. Having a helmet that fits properly and snugly to your head can be the difference between a crash that leaves you with a few scuffs and bruises and a crash that leaves you in the hospital for weeks. Sure, helmets aren’t the most fashionable accessories to wear around, but they aren’t made to be a fashion statement, they’re meant to protect your very valuable head. Most helmets consist of a hard plastic shell covering a stiff foam that is made to absorb the crunch of impact instead of letting your skull take the blow. You can learn more about how to properly fit a helmet and the different types of biking helmets available here. I assure you that concussions and other head injuries will cost you a lot more than a good helmet.

it's just like riding a bike

Image by Bill Selak of Flickr Creative Commons

2. Closed-Toed Shoes

Let me tell you a story: one day, my mom and I were at home and my sister was at a friend’s house down the road. We get a call from the friend’s mom saying that Jenny (my sister) had a bicycle accident and that we needed to come right away because she needed to go to the hospital. I was expecting a concussion or a broken arm, but as it turns out, she and her friend were biking around the neighborhood wearing flip-flops, and as they were speeding downhill, her foot slipped off of the pedal and it spun up behind her foot, ripping a big gash into the back of her heel. A few hours and at least ten stitches later, we were all just thankful that her Achilles tendon wasn’t damaged. The moral of the story is to wear shoes that are appropriate for an athletic activity, such as biking, which usually implies shoes that will stay snugly on your feet and cover both your heel and toes. Several long-needled numbing shots into an open wound were enough to convince all of us (but especially Jenny) that flip-flops should never be worn while biking.

3. Pants Leg Clips

Have you ever noticed that many bikers commute with one pants leg rolled up? Many people use biking as a form of transportation more than purely for exercise, which means that they often ride their bikes wearing clothes that they will be wearing for the rest of the day at school or work. Pants legs can be loose and floppy at the bottom, which puts them in danger of getting caught in the chain (causing you to crash, rip your pants, or both) or simply getting a nice black grease stain on them as you ride. Rolling up the pants leg on the chain side can help prevent this problem, but can leave you with freezing cold ankles during the winter or one oddly wrinkly pants leg for the rest of the day at work. Instead, many regular bikers choose to wear pants leg clips to quickly keep their pants held closer to their ankles and safely out of the way of the chain. You can find flexible metal clips or these reflective bands for extra safety at night!

4. Hand signal knowledge and lights!

As a biker on the road, you need to realize that you are considered a vehicle and must follow all of the same traffic rules as the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road with you. Make sure to have lights on your bike when riding anytime near or after sunset: typically a flashing red light at the back of the bike and a white light in the front. It’s also important for your own safety to make sure that other drivers know when you are turning and stopping to prevent devastating crashes. Make sure you know the three main bicycle hand signals, and remember that you typically do all of them with your left hand:

  • Left turn: Left arm extended fully to the side, parallel to the ground.
  • Right turn: Left arm bent at the elbow in a 90º angle with fingertips up toward the sky
  • Slowing or stopping; Left arm bent at the elbow in a 90º angle with fingertips toward the ground

5. Bike Lock

The sad truth about the fact that bikes are nice and often have expensive parts is that they are often a target of theft, especially in a campus-like setting where there are bikes galore all day, every day. Protect your bike by buying a sturdy chain lock or U-lock that is long enough to go through at least one wheel (preferably both), as well as the frame of the bike and the rack to which you are locking the bike. Bike thieves know that most people lock up the frame of their bike, but the wheels and tires are also valuable and can usually be quickly removed from the frame. Prevent this problem with an appropriate lock that can also lock up the wheels as well as the frame, and if you can’t carry your helmet around with you, you can always lock your helmet to your bike as well.

As an added measure of safety, if you ride your bike on campus you should consider registering it with UNC DPS to get a free bike permit, a coupon for 50% off a bike lock, and the serial number of the bike engraved into the frame.

Bonus: Mini bike pump and extra tire tube

You can buy surprisingly tiny bike pumps that will easily fit into your backpack in case you ever have an unexpectedly flat tire! If you’re really dedicated and you rely heavily on your bike to get you from place to place, you should also consider carrying a spare tire tube and patch kit in case of a completely blown tire in a rushed or emergency situation! Learn the simple process of changing a bike tire here.

With these key biking accessories, you’ll be prepared to use your bike to commute quickly and safely without fear of greasy pants legs or flat tires ruining your otherwise lovely day. And if you’re not an outdoor biker in need of various important biking accessories, you can walk on over to the SRC or Ram’s to bike indoors with Campus Recreation to kick-start your fantastic Labor Day weekend! Happy Friday!

Meet Tori: How she turned her passion for fitness into a career

Tori Cheek HookerI’d like to introduce you to Tori Hooker. She turned her treasured pastime – team sports — into a rewarding career. And if you spend any time playing intramural sports at UNC, you’ll probably meet Tori.

“Intramural Sports have had so many positive impacts in my life from the start,” Tori says. “The benefits have been endless.”

For undergraduate students at UNC, Tori’s story may sound familiar. She became involved in intramural sports during her time as an undergrad. Tori says she loved the physical and social benefits of playing intramural sports, but she had to find a way to support herself financially.

“I needed a job, and I loved sports, being active, and hanging out with friends,” Tori says. “So I figured — why not combine all of that into one?”

And that’s exactly what Tori did. After graduation, Tori landed an internship with intramural sports. When the internship ended, Campus Recreation hired her full-time. Today, she works as an Intramural Sports Coordinator for UNC Campus Rec, where she helps people like YOU discover the joy of intramural sports.

Each intramural sport has a different registration deadline and dates of play. For instance, the Tennis Singles Tournament registration ends September 6th, and the tournament in on September 13th. Street Hockey on the other hand has registration October 5-11, and matches run from mid-October to mid-November.

“Whether it’s looking for a healthy outlet to get away from the academic world for a bit or looking to gain or build friendships, there are so many opportunities that intramural sports affords,” Tori says.

Intramural sports aren’t just for the seasoned fitness expert. In fact, beginners are welcomed with open arms to learn new sports in UNC Campus Recreation Intramural Sports, Tori says.

“One common misconception about intramural sports is that you must be an all-star athlete to play,” Tori says. “There are a broad range of skill levels, and we want everyone to feel welcome and have an enjoyable experience.”

Find your sport, pick your team, and get playing here! Check the various deadlines and dates of play to make sure your team makes the cut.

Wellness Wednesday: So how does Student Health Insurance Actually Work?

Healthcare and health insurance can be complicated. For many students, college can be the first time they are confronted with how insurance actually works. In this post, we’ll set up the basics around health insurance and review some key terms.

Affordable Ohio Health Insurance
Photo: “Ohio Health Insurance” by Affordable Ohio Health Insurance, Flickr Creative Commons.

How health insurance works

Simply put, health insurance companies pay for some or all of the cost of medical expenses. Exactly how much health insurance pays towards healthcare costs depends on:

  • the insurance plan;
  • the type of visit or procedure; and
  • the provider (e.g., whether or not the provider is in the health insurances’ “network”).

You can get health insurance in a variety of ways:

  • individual health insurance (example: enrolling through a state’s Exchange or Affordable Care Act program)
  • employer insurance (example: entity you work for providers insurance), or
  • student insurance (example: UNC provides an option for students to enroll in a student health care plan).

Breaking down health insurance terms

  • Premium: In essence, this is the price of admission, or what you regularly pay to have your insurance plan (for example: X dollars a month).
  • Co-payment (“co-pay”): An amount of the visit/procedure you pay up-front (for example: paying $20 for a doctor’s visit).
  • Co-insurance: A percentage of a bill the patient is required to pay, after accounting for co-payments, deductibles, and any other discounts.
  • Coverage: The amount the health insurance company pays for each procedure, service or visit. This depends on the health plan, and might be a percentage (for example: 60% of the cost), or may be a fixed amount for certain procedures (for example: will cover 100% of preventative care services). Usually, you can find some basic information on coverage on your insurance card.
  • In-network/ Out-of-network: Insurance companies will have lists of providers that accept their specific insurance brand (“in-network”). This is akin to businesses accepting certain kinds of payment methods: one might take Visa, Mastercard and American Express; while another might only Visa (“out of network” for American Express and Mastercard). How do you find out which providers are in vs. out of network? Health insurance companies usually provide a directory/listing of in-network providers (see below for tips on finding out more about your plan). Or, if you have a specific provider in mind, you can contact them to ask what types of health insurance they accept. Learn whether your insurance is in-network at Campus Health Services here.
  • Explanation of benefits: This is a break-down of the total costs
  • Deductibles: This is a set amount you have to pay each year in medical bills before the health insurance company starts paying. So, for example, if your plan’s deductible is $300, then you have to spend $300 before your health insurance kicks in and starts paying for medical costs. Note that as a general rule, the higher your premium (the cost to have insurance), the lower your deductible.
Photo: “Maze” by Jay, Flickr Creative Commons.

Maximizing your insurance


Insurance plans vary considerably in what they cover, and can be worthwhile to what extent insurance plans cover various visits and procedures. If you are concerned about coverage, cost or confidentiality (if you’re on a shared plan with others), you can contact insurance companies before you visit a provider. To do this:

  • First, check your insurance card, which will usually have information on co-insurance, deductibles, prescription drug coverage, and emergency coverage.
  • For more detailed information, you can often look online to see what your specific plan covers. Many insurance plans have an option to create online accounts, where you can access information on specific plan benefits, and look for “in-network” providers.
  • You can also call the insurance company to inquire about coverage for a specific procedure, visit or prescription drug coverage. The contact information is usually on the card.

Additionally, for UNC Students: more information on UNC’s student health insurance policy, and in-network insurance providers at UNC Campus Health Services can be found on the UNC Campus Health Services website.


Stay tuned for more information on World AIDS Day (which will be in December)!
Wellness Wednesday blog posts are written by Student Wellness or Campus Health Services staff members. Visit for the original post.

Your Quick Guide to Campus Weather Preparation

Yesterday was the first real rainy day of the semester, and believe me: it was a mild one. I saw plenty of people scurrying around campus, looking concerned about and unprepared for the rain, and I remember realizing that I was unprepared for the weather several times during my first year. To save you from the same fate, here is a quick guide to some gear you might consider stocking up on to be prepared for campus weather throughout the fall semester:

  1. A small umbrella

This is the most basic but essential thing of all. Over the course of your four years here, you will lose track of how many rainy days you spend walking from class to class with a deep appreciation for a good compact umbrella. You don’t want one of those huge, 3-foot long umbrellas. Sure, they have a wide coverage diameter, but they’re also annoying to carry when it’s not raining and they’re easy to forget when you can’t conveniently tuck them into your backpack. It’s also easy to accidentally whack people while carrying one of those around, which can be pretty embarrassing (not that I know from experience or anything…).

You’d be better off getting one of these handy little umbrellas, which you can find at Marshalls or TJ Maxx for $8-10. Keep one in your backpack at all times and you’ll always be prepared for random rain.

  1. Appropriate shoes

You probably do a lot more walking around campus on a daily basis than you do on a daily basis away from campus. You’ll want to have a few pairs of comfortable shoes for different types of weather, and you might have to learn to compromise between fashion and comfort, because not all shoes are actually made for walking.

Rain + warm weather: I prefer water-friendly sandals because I can walk around and step in puddles without fear. Yes, my feet get wet, but I don’t have to worry about it at all. I’m not wearing socks so my feet dry back off in just a few minutes.

Cold weather: Any type of warm, closed toed shoe that you can wear with thick socks. I hate closed-toed shoes, but I didn’t make it through my first winter on campus wearing sandals, sadly. I like clogs, Clarks Wallabees, and boots (because I can wear my big, tall moose-printed socks under them). Tennis shoes have too much mesh to keep my feet warm.

Rain/snow + cold weather: If you have comfortable rain boots, go for it, but mine always hurt my feet. I prefer just wearing my snow boots when it rains in the dead of winter because they are the only things that keep my feet warm and dry and they have good traction to avoid slipping on the (sometimes) treacherous sidewalks.

  1. A rain jacket

This one isn’t completely necessary if you have an umbrella, but for anyone who likes to bike as transportation, you’ll definitely want one. You can’t bike very well while holding an umbrella and you don’t want to sit through class wearing a soaking wet shirt with your hair dripping on your paper.

  1. A backpack cover

Hey bikers, do you happen to carry valuable items in your backpack while you bike? Perhaps a very expensive computer that contains all of your life’s work, including all of your notes from forever and that paper that’s due on Friday? You might want to purchase a convenient waterproof backpack cover that you can slip over your pack while you bike! They protect your things and your backpack is still completely wearable for those times when you’re forced to bike in the rain!

  1. Winter Coat

Depending on where you’ve lived for the majority of your life, you might think that North Carolina winter is pretty darn cold. Our temperatures don’t often get below 20º F, but it’s a humid kind of cold that has the ability to make you feel damp all day and chilled to the bone. A good winter coat will make your semester much more comfortable and nothing I had before college was warm enough to keep me comfortable while standing in line for hours outside of the Dean Dome. Remember that down jackets are not waterproof (in fact, their insulating abilities are usually ruined for good by water), so you might want to consider buying a water resistant winter coat so you don’t have to worry about not being able to wear it when it rains.

  1. Scarf and gloves

Yes, men—you can wear scarves too and I definitely won’t judge you a bit because they make a huge difference in how warm I feel in the winter! There are two more accessories that will make the winter much more bearable, whether you’re watching an outdoor athletic event or just walking to class.


This was an example of typical school day attire for me last winter, even when there was no snow involved. You doubt me now but just wait… you’ll turn into a marshmallow too. 

It can be expensive to stock up on all of these things at once, but I’m hoping that we still have a few months before it starts to get cold enough to require winter clothing, so it’s good to buy things over time. With these items handy, you’ll be prepared to face whatever weather North Carolina might throw at you at a moment’s notice on campus. Learn to embrace the gray, rainy days Tar Heels—you’ll never appreciate the library more than on a freezing cold, rainy night with a cup of hot cocoa to get your through your studying.

Until then, cheers to these days that are perfect for shorts, sandals, and one of your many UNC tee shirts—I, for one, am happy to keep the sweaters tucked away in a box for now.

Swim your way to health with on-campus pools

pool map

UNC Chapel Hill has two pools that students and faculty can use for workouts: the Bowman Gray Indoor Pool and the Kessing Outdoor Pool.

The Bowman Gray Indoor pool is an Olympic-length pool that includes two 50-meter, six 25-meter, and six 25-yard lanes, all accessible through the Woollen locker rooms.

Kessing Outdoor Pool is open seasonally and is perfect for swimming laps in the open air.

Seasoned swimmers and beginners alike are welcome to wade their way over for a water workout. The UNC aquatics site has more information.

BowmanGrayPool_wideangle_0Swimming for fitness provides intense aerobic benefits akin to running — without the impact on your joints. Unlike a runner who only must resist the air, a swimmer must propel him or herself through the water, which is about 12 times as dense. Every kick, every stroke, and every movement becomes a resistance exercise, pushing the muscles to work.

People living with rheumatoid arthritis also experience greater health improvements with water workouts compared to other therapies.

“People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land,” the CDC says on their website. “Swimming can improve mood in both men and women.”

Working out in the water has been show to increase bone mass, as the body must adapt to working out in the water. This is especially relevant for people interested in preventing osteoporosis. Swimming also helps to maintain flexibility, as the swimmer must move their arms in wide arcs, twist the spine and neck with each move, and reach forward to lengthen the body.

For more information on the health benefits of swimming, dive into the CDC’s page here.

Health Benefits of Cycling (And You Can Cycle with Campus Rec!)

We all know that walking is a great form of exercise and a great way to get around, especially on campus. However, evidence shows that biking may be an even better form of transportation for our health, and few places in the country are as biker-friendly as college towns, including Chapel Hill and the surrounding area. Cycling has repeatedly been noted as a great form of exercise to promote public health for many reasons. Some of the benefits of cycling include:

  • Many people simply find it enjoyable!
  • Biking can take place indoors or outdoors: in a gym on a stationary bike or out in the great outdoors on a real set of wheels
  • Cycling “effectively taxes the cardiorespiratory and metabolic functions of the whole body in a variety of intensities” (P. Oja, et al., 2011)

Even though walking is great, 2010 meta-analysis by Andersen and Cooper found that among children and youth, those who cycled to school had a better fitness level and “better cardiovascular risk factor profile” compared to those who walked to school! A previous 2006 study by Cooper et al. quantified differences in fitness among Danish school children ages 9-15 using measurable fitness tests to find that “the cyclists were nearly five times as likely as the walkers and the passive commuters to be in the top quartile of fitness” (P. Oja, et al., 2011). This study also found that “fitness improved significantly among those who changed from non-cycling to cycling during the follow up.”

The systematic review published by P. Oja, et al. cited sixteen studies showing health benefits seen specifically from cycling and ranging from reduced risk of obesity and diabetes to reduced risk of colon cancer and overall improved cardiovascular fitness. Chapel Hill is lucky enough to have bike lanes galore, making it convenient to cycle from your home to campus or from class to class. Not only will you get there faster, you’ll also be gaining an extra health advantage compared to walking!

If you don’t have a bike, don’t prefer to cycle on the actual road, or simply for those rainy days when you want to stay inside as much as possible—good news: Campus Rec is here for you! Both of our fitness centers, Ram’s Head and the Student Recreation Center, have various types of stationary bikes that let you keep track of your time, distance, and resistance as you cycle! You can use these anytime the gym is open by signing your name on the cardio equipment sign-up sheet and picking an available bike.

On days when I’m really crunched for workout time, I like to take a reading assignment for one of my classes, either on paper or on my iPad, and read it while I cycle! It’s a great way to multitask and it’ll definitely keep you awake and alert as you read that assignment! I’ve seen other students make “deals with themselves” where they tell themselves that they can only watch their favorite show on Netflix that day if they watch it on their iPad at the gym while cycling. It’s one of the few pieces of cardio equipment where you can actually get a good workout while still multitasking if necessary!

For those of you looking for an even more intense cycle experience for the targeted purpose of getting a great workout, you’ll want to check out the Campus Rec group fitness cycle classes! These classes are limited to 30 participants per class, so you have to bring your OneCard to sign up for the class up to 24 hours in advance at the front desk of the SRC.

The class duration ranges from 45 minutes to 1 hour, during which time you will easily bike 10-15 miles throughout a series of drills, “hills,” and “jumps!” The instructor plays music and calls instructions for increasing and decreasing the resistance to mimic the hills, and different positions for your body on the bike, such as standing or sitting. Jumps consist of alternating between standing and sitting at regular count intervals, such as every four beats, or every two beats if you’re really going fast.

Here are a few things I learned from my experience with the group fitness cycle classes:

  1. It is completely normal to feel like you may figuratively die at any moment the first time you attend one of these classes, no matter now much you’ve ridden a real bike. (Obviously if you actually feel sick or dizzy, you should stop immediately, but I am referring to the extreme panting and disbelief that the instructor was actually still talking I experienced my first time.)
  2. For the love of your body and all that is good and merciful, please BRING A WATERBOTTLE. There is a place on the bikes for you to put them.
  3. No matter how proper or ladylike you are in your daily life, you are going to sweat like a beast, so go ahead and grab that towel they’re offering you at the front desk.
  4. If you can’t keep up with the rpm (a measure on the screen of how fast you’re going) that the instructor is suggesting, don’t feel bad! Take it at your own pace and eventually you’ll improve.
  5. Your legs may feel like Jell-O after you get off of the bike to the point where you are actually forced to take the elevator to your floor once you get back to your dorm or apartment. No shame.
  6. You will feel ridiculously powerful after getting through that workout, and you will immediately understand how you can’t help but improve your cardiovascular fitness if you make cycling a habit.

Check out our schedule of group fitness cycle classes by clicking here, and come join us to try one out this semester! “Introduction to Cycling” classes, each lasting 30 minutes, will also be held regularly throughout the semester to introduce you to a group cycle class, help you learn how to adjust the bike properly for your body, and show you what to expect for next time! Come grab your health benefits by signing up for a cycle class next week!

Works Cited:

Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., de Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger-Nash, B. and Kohlberger, T. (2011), Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21: 496–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01299.x

Study finds happiness is contagious in teens, depression is not


Teenagers with friends without depressive symptoms are at a much lower risk of developing depression themselves, according to a new study published by the Royal Society.

Researchers modeled the moods of more than 2,000 teenagers, tracking how their moods spread throughout their social network. This is a co-called “social contagion” model, where moods are followed like an infection.

Depression did not spread contagiously, while lighter moods – non-depressive symptoms — did indeed transmit between friends.

“Enabling networks of friendship between adolescents has the potential to reduce both incidence and prevalence of depression,” researchers noted in their study. In other words, finding like-minded friends could bestow huge benefits on how well you feel, including cutting down depression risk.

In exact terms, teens with five or more positive-minded friends had half the chance of becoming depressed over the course of a year. Teens with more than ten positive-minded friends were twice as likely to recover from depressive mood than teens with only three positive peers.

If you’re a UNC student who is looking to increase your number of optimistic-minded friends, consider looking within UNC Campus Recreation. Group Fitness Classes offer an on-campus way to exercise and meet other like-minded friends. From cycling, to Pilates and water aerobics, there’s bound to be a group fitness class that fits your style!

This happiness study “suggests that promotion of friendship between adolescents can reduce both incidence and prevalence of depression,” study researchers said.

Get out there and find your friends at UNC Campus Recreation!

Wellness Wednesday: Get Involved with Student Wellness (& get free stuff!)

By now, many of you may have discovered one of the greatest joys of a college campus — FREE STUFF — but you may not know that Student Wellness offers a lot more than the free frisbees some of you snagged at Orientation or the water bottles you picked up at us from Fall Fest. We also offer free programs and services to all students!

Below is an overview of some of the things we’re planning on offering this semester!

sexual health

Do you have questions about:

  • Contraceptive options?
  • HIV testing and counseling?
  • Well Women’s Exams?
  • Post-diagnosis STI management questions?
  • Pretty much anything relating to sexual health?

Well, no worries! Just call Student Wellness at 919.962.WELL and schedule a FREE, private* appointment to meet with a trained health educator today!

fall pass 2014 flier

PASS (Peak Academic Success & Satisfaction) Fair: A chance to relax and have fun right before Final Exams

  • Free catered food (Past vendors include Vimala’s and Jersey Mike’s)
  • Massages from Aveda
  • Board games & Wii Fit
  • Yoga station
  • Free scantrons & blue books
  • So much free stuff!

Stay tuned for more information on PASS, which will take place during exam week this semester!


LDOC HeelFest: Celebrate the last day of classes with Battle of the Bands-style show. Support local groups and your friends, vote for the winner of a grand prize, and get FREE FOOD!

Stay tuned for more information and ways to get VIP passes to the event (which will be on LDOC Spring semester!), which gets you even more free stuff! Want to be a student judge at the event? More information will be available soon.


WAD 2014 flyer

World AIDS Day: A large-scale free HIV testing/screening event

In honor of World AIDS Day, UNC Student Wellness will be organizing a free, confidential, walk-in HIV testing event in the Carolina Union Great Hall. This event is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the broader community. Participants can get their results in under one hour, and there are no needles involved!

Stay tuned for more information on World AIDS Day (which will be in December)!
Wellness Wednesday blog posts are written by Student Wellness or Campus Health Services staff members. Visit for the original post.

Group Fitness with Campus Recreation: Absolution

Since the year is new, we’re going back to the basics and introducing some of the opportunities offered by Campus Recreation. We know we’ve written about them before, but we also know that they get buried in the archives of articles every year, so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to learn about opportunities and get involved!

One of the coolest things that Campus Rec has to offer students is a huge variety of FREE group fitness classes every week! These classes are taught by trained fitness instructors who are students, just like you. They take place in the fitness studios in Ram’s Head Recreation Center and the Student Recreation Center, as well as select classes in Woolen gym and Bowman Gray pool.

Course offerings include:

  • Pilates
  • Cycle
  • Step
  • Barre
  • Absolution
  • Zumba
  • Cardio Blast
  • Lower Body Conditioning
  • Yoga
  • Muscle Cut Barbells
  • Kick’n Sculpt
  • Muscle Cut
  • Upper Body Conditioning
  • Tai Chi
  • H2O Dance
  • Mindful Yoga
  • KickHIIT (HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Power Yoga
  • Cardio Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • 3-2-1
  • Water Aerobics

As you can see, there are a ton of options available, so you can choose what interests you! Some classes have varying levels of difficulty: for example, power yoga is more difficult than mindful yoga, and Cycle classes and Kick’n Sculpt are extremely heavy on the cardio intensity. However, all classes are open to people of all levels of fitness. You are not required to complete every move or exercise and there are always modifications to make each exercise easier or more difficult.

I’ll feature some brief reviews of various classes in coming articles as the semester gets off to a fast start! For starters, I’ll review the shortest, but quite possibly the most intense, class we offer: Absolution.


This class might only last for 15-20 minutes, but your core will be absolutely on fire the entire time! The exercises are organized by songs; for example, for the first song, the focus might be on plank exercises. For the second, it might be on different types of crunches. The plank song always gets to me! You stay up in plank position for the entire 4 minutes of the song and do variations such as “thread the needle,” side plank, and hip dips side to side. I really like planks because they work your entire core, which includes your oblique (sides) and back muscles!

When we say “core muscles,” we often just think of our stomachs and abs, but a strong core is supported both by strong abdominal and back muscles to support proper posture. I always think it’s crazy to consider that the gap in your skeleton between your rib cage and your hip bones consists only of your spine, yet this part of our bodies is comprised of so many important organs and we rely on a strong canister of muscle to hold it all together and upright. The human body is incredible, people… treat yours nicely.

They love to use this one movement where you’re balancing on your bum with your feet and torso up off of the ground and you pulse your hands up and down beside your knees. This one has me shaking in a matter of seconds and one song of the class makes sure to include that movement in the sequence at least 6 times. The last song is almost always dedicated to the back muscles, so we all flop over on our stomachs like the limp fish we resemble and do “Superman” raises until the song, and the class, mercifully ends with a collective exhale accompanied by a flop of exhausted limbs hitting the gym floor.

If you don’t believe me, check out Absolution at any of these times to experience the burn for yourself!


1:05 – 1:20 in Woolen B19

6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A


1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A


6:10 – 6:30 in SRC Studio A


1:05 – 1:20 in SRC Studio B

6:25 – 6:45 in SRC Studio A


5:00 – 5:20 in SRC Studio B

This is an absolutely killer core workout and one of my favorite group fitness classes offered by Campus Rec! You will leave both exhausted and proud of your body! It also is short enough that you can conveniently combine it with your own cardio workout by running to the gym and back! Keep checking back for more group fitness reviews and information!

How to become a personal trainer


UNC Campus Recreation is offering a program for students to become a personal trainer. Registration is open now – and the first day of the program is August 31st.

Over the course of 14 weeks, students will learn from the pros in the classroom and in the gym on the proper way to help people improve their fitness. After completing the program and passing the ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, students are eligible to apply for a personal training job with UNC Campus Rec.

Do you like working out? Do friends say you’re a motivational personal? And how does turning your gym time into work time sound? If any of these questions were a “yes,” the personal training program might be for you!

Personal trainers should have “good communication skills, patience, very good listening skills, the ability to motivate, as well as nurture others and of course an interest in health and fitness,” according to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

Simply put, personal trainers do the following: “A good personal trainer delivers safe, effective, fun and interesting workouts (in that order) to all fitness-training clients.”

Before you sign up, schedule a personal training session for yourself with UNC Campus Rec. That way you can see whether the job would be a good fit. The PT “Start-up Session” is $25.

Having worked with personal trainers before, it’s safe to say motivational and listening skills are especially important. I was dealing with a minor wrist injury, and my personal trainer was able to modify the workout to accommodate for that.

A good personal trainer feels like more than a coach – they’re like a friend who knows how to get you pumped up for your workout!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,761 other followers