As DePaul students walk through the cold winter winds with the thought of spring dresses and summer fun on their minds, the pressure for the ideal “beach body” is on. Step one is finding motivation to put down those burgers and fries. Step two is losing fear of all the equipment in the gym and feeling comfortable enough not to compete with the person next to you.
“For some reason, in my mind, the only people who went to the gym were athletes, bodybuilders and cheerleaders. I figured that I would be laughed at if I stepped foot into the gym,” said Yasmeen Badillo, a DePaul junior and now regular at the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center. “Fortunately, my friends kept insisting and eventually dragged me to the gym with them.”
But for those like senior Andrea Kinnerk, who dislikes the idea of doing conventional workouts like running on a treadmill, there are options and resources available. Whether it’s at the Ray or elsewhere, there are plenty of ways to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Going to other studios for me was more motivating,” Rinnerksaid. “At the Ray, I started getting too comfortable in the classes and they were less of a challenge, not because they weren’t hard, but because I was mentally checked out.”
Two popular fitness trends that add a little more color to her gym visits are SoulCycle and the Orangetheory.
Opening its first studio in 2006, SoulCycle has made its way to Chicago from the streets of New York. It is considered an innovative approach to indoor cycling, using a combination of hard pedaling, weightlifting and inspirational phrases all centered around the beat of the music.
“The class is 45 minutes and the lights are generally completely off and there are just four candles that light the studio,” Kinnerk said, who is an employee at one of the three SoulCycle studios located in the city.
SoulCycle seems to be more known for the positive atmosphere it provides, aside from the stationary bike equipped with weights that provides a full body workout.
“It’s not competitive,” Kinnerk said. While other places make use of screens and numbers, at SoulCycle there’s nothing. “(There are) no phones allowed and there are no numbers on your resistance wheel, so literally no one knows what you’re doing, or where you’re at. It’s literally all about you,” she said. “So, if for some reason that day you’re not feeling it, no one has to know except you, so it’s very catered to your specific journey and what you make of it.”
At $32 per class, however, it’s among one of the most expensive group fitness classes in the country. For most college students who wish to de-stress to the beat of music all while losing some calories, it’s out of their price range.
DePaul students can rely on their free membership to the Ray Meyer Fitness Center.
“The Ray is a great resource for students and provides us with a lot of tools to stay engaged,” said Andrea Ortiz, a senior who has found time to visit the Ray more frequently this quarter. She said the fitness classes truly motivate students to stay healthy and make use of the treadmills in addition to the cycling classes offered.
Though not as glamorous as the SoulCyle studios tacked with motivational quotes all over the walls, the Ray’s spin room is hidden away in the back of a hallway on the second floor. The room is illuminated by black lights that make all your workout gear glow as you sweat through the 45 or 60-minute spin class. Even though it’s a small studio, it still gets the job done.
“I think that ultimately on the spin bikes what it comes down to is how hard the participant works,” said Christina Tomazin, a DePaul alumna who’s been working with the Ray for eight years and currently works as a substitute instructor.
“Someone could work equally hard here at the Ray as they do at SoulCycle and they’re getting an equivalent workout. They could also go really hard at SoulCycle and slack off here in the Ray so that workout is going to be better,” she said.
Another option for the fitness junkie is Orangetheory, a workout that includes treadmills, indoor rowing and weight room and resistance blocks for a full workout. In contrast to SoulCycle, where there’s little use of screens, at Orangetheory you are strapped with a heart monitor while focusing on a screen that dictates your progress . The level of intensity is established in colors.
“The nice thing about Orangetheory is that it is so flexible and adaptable,” Kinnerk said. Unfortunately, what is not so flexible is the cost. Single classes are $25, the basic membership is $59, the elite is $99 and the premier is $159. These rates are typically too high for most working college students. Luckily, for those looking to stay motivated and complete their fitness goals while keeping some money in their pocket, here are some programs that might be worth looking into.
“Just have some fun,” Badillo said. “Remember who you’re doing it for and the answer should always be you. We’re all beautiful, we just have to believe it.”
Ray Meyer Fitness Center
Complimentary to full time DePaul undergraduate students and at a discount rate for graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni, the Ray offers a combination of classes that can make up for the SoulCycle and Orangetheory boutique sessions students are missing out on due to lack of funds.
Kinnerk, who has experience with both boutiques as well as the Ray, suggests the following:
Spin 45/60: Take your pick between 45 minutes to 60 minutes of cycling, which includes hill climbs, mountain peaks, time trials and other exercises that vary in speed and intensity.
Circuit Conditioning: Known to improve body composition, this class uses high intensity aerobics to target strength building and muscular endurance.
Power Interval: A combination of high-intensity cardio with a total body strength workout and no use of equipment.
Barre Burn: Get ready to feel like a ballerina as you make use of the ballet barre and go through a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates to help sculpt your body, improve flexibility, posture and balance.
Upper Body Blast: Typically a 30-minute workout that looks to strengthen and tone the arms, shoulders and back.
Muscle Work: For those intimated by the “boys room” (also known as the weight room), muscle work offers a complete strength training workout with the use of dumbbells, weighted bars, resistance bands and more.
Tabata: A high intensity interval class that helps burn fat and will undoubtedly help you fit into that outfit hanging in the back of your closet.
Nike Training Club Chicago (NTC)
NTC is grounded in functional training and offers a variety of free classes and events inspired by world-class athletes, whether you want to gain muscle, strength, additional toning or simply want to join a community that offers expert guidance.
Fitness classes include but are not limited to:
Core: A 15-minute workout that focuses on strengthening the core muscle groups that help keep your body stable and balanced.
Latin Splash: A combination of dance moves with traditional aqua fitness, this class will feel more of a pool party than a workout.
Les Mills Body Combat: Inspired by martial arts, people learn more than the “Karate Kid” as they explore a variety of disciplines such as Karate, Boxing, Taekwondo and Tai Chi.
Pilates: Improve core strength and muscle toning while increasing flexibility.
Track Jams: Built for the runners, this class works to improve speed as you move through track drills, intervals and hills.
Class schedules and availability vary. Attendees can take up to four classes per week.
Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls (CHAARG)
An all girls’ fitness organization at DePaul, this nationwide initiative has a mission to ignite a passion in college-aged women for health and fitness. It is an organization that works to motivate and bring women together who want to workout and have a healthy lifestyle. The program partners with local studios once a week to give women the opportunity to branch out from their local gym and try something new.
Non-complimentary, the program collects a $30 fee for the quarter.