Wildcat workouts: A rundown of the best SPAC workouts
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    Photo courtesy of Northwestern University

    Have you ever gotten sick of doing the same things over and over again at the gym? Ever bailed on going to the gym because running of the treadmill just isn’t motivating enough? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then exercise lessons might be perfect for you. Now through Dec. 9th, the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, also known as SPAC, offers a variety of exercise classes everyday of the week free of charge for students and NU faculty. During the course of two weeks, three of us writers at NBN went to different classes on the schedule and outlined them below. If you are a beginner to anything exercise-related or if you consider SPAC your second home, make sure to try some of these classes before the quarter ends!

    The Cycle Challenge

    Description: The “Cycle Challenge” takes place in the Cycle Studio in the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, and has around 20-30 bikes available for students. The class is accompanied by loud music and a huge screen with images of mountains and roads projected onto it, which students can watch as they do either sprints or hills on the bike. The teacher, Caitlin, said that “different things challenge different people so I try to make the classes are eclectic as possible because I want to make sure that the clients who come in are getting the workout they need."

    Schedule: Mondays 5:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 p.m., Saturdays 8:15-9:15 a.m., Sundays 11:00 a.m. - noon

    Crowd: About 80% of bikes were full

    Intensity Level: 2/5 - there is no difficulty in riding the bike itself, only after about 30 minutes of class that you will truly feel the exercise on your muscles. As a beginner myself, I left the class sweating slightly but not as worn out as my usual 40-minute run on the treadmill.

    Vibe: Both beginners and frequent gym-goers would enjoy this class. The teacher is very informative and the overall vibe is exciting and motivational.

    Type of exercise: Cardiovascular, lower-body, low-impact


    Description: “Bodypump” is an hour-long full-body strength-training workout. The workout follows the flow of the music and isolates the muscle groups one by one. Each song correlates to a different muscle group (eg. glutes, triceps etc.), and the main piece of equipment is a barbell with adjustable weight plates.

    Schedule: Mondays 12:30-1:00 p.m., Tuesdays 12:00-12:50 p.m., 5:30-6:30 p.m., Wednesdays 12:00-1:00 p.m., 7:00-7:50 p.m., Thursdays 12:00-12:50 p.m., 5:30-6:30 p.m., Saturdays 9:30-10:30 a.m., Sundays 12:00-1:00 p.m.

    Crowd: Around half of the room was full

    Intensity Level: 4/5 — because the weight plates are adjustable, the intensity level is as easy or hard as you make it, but the workout is fast-paced and includes high reps of each workout, making it challenging. I would say anyone could get a good workout from this class  the ages of people in the class I went to ranged from college students to adults that were around my parents age. There was even a football player in the class.

    Vibe: The class could seem slightly intimidating at first, but once you are in the workout the intimidation factor goes away. The music is upbeat pop/EDM and the instructors are cheerful and friendly. I would recommend going with a friend the first time and arriving early  before the workout begins, you need to pick up and set up some equipment, but it’s easy to pick up what is going on — just watch what everyone else does and ask the instructor what weights you should be using.

    Type of exercise: This workout is full-body and focuses on strength-training with minimal cardio.

    Vinyasa Flow

    Description: “Vinyasa Flow” is an hour-long relaxing and stretching yoga flow. The class focuses on traditional yoga positions, highlighting stretching and balance with some light core training and ends with a relaxing savasana.

    Schedule: Mondays 12:00-1:00 p.m., Wednesdays 12:00-1:00 p.m. and 7:00-8:00 p.m., Thursdays 7:00-8:00 p.m., Saturdays 11:00 a.m.-noon.

    Crowd: The room was around ¾ full

    Intensity Level: 2.5/5 – Beginners could definitely follow along, but the class seems geared toward intermediate level yogies and includes some strength work that makes it slightly more challenging

    Vibe: This class felt like something you would pay $30 for at a yoga studio. The lights are dim, incense is burning and the facilities feel clean and new. Beginners and advanced yogies were all welcome, and everyone seemed to leave feeling relaxed.

    Type of exercise: Full body stretching and balance


    Description: The “Werq” Class is a fun, upbeat class where music and exercise combine in a Zumba-style workout. Unlike Zumba, however, Werq has a playlist filled with the most recent songs in pop and rap music.

    Schedule: Mondays 5:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesdays 7:00-8:00 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30-6:30 p.m., Saturdays 11:00 a.m.-noon.

    Crowd: About 75 percent of the room was full

    Intensity Level: 1/5

    Vibe: This class is perfect if you like dancing and feel that traditional exercise isn’t for you  this class will make you sing and dance without any judgement. Whether you are a beginner or not, this class will help you de-stress and let loose.

    Type of exercise: Full body workout


    Description: “Pilates” is a relaxing, yet intensive class that combines exercises targeted at increasing physical strength, particularly the core area and improving flexibility through yoga-like stretches. The instructor places an emphasis on what muscles are being worked as well as deep breathing.

    Schedule: The class is only held on Mondays 5:30-6:30 p.m.; however, other classes that incorporate Pilates are held on Tuesdays 12:00-1:00 p.m., Wednesdays 7:00-8:00 a.m., Thursdays 12:00-1:00 p.m.

    Crowd: The room was completely full. To ensure a spot at the front of the room with a clear view of the instructor, arriving eight to 10 minutes early is essential.

    Intensity Level: 3/5

    Vibe: If you are looking to strengthen and tone key muscles without the intensity and sweat of a cardio workout, Pilates is the ideal class. The vibe is similar to that of a yoga class in that everyone uses mats and the music is very soothing, bringing about a sense of calmness. The instructor switches from holding a plank, for instance, to a stretch that targets muscle used for that exercise, giving participants sufficient break time before the next exercise. Modifications to exercises were often included so that beginners could follow along.

    Type of exercise: Full body strength work and flexibility.

    So take a break from the free weights and take advantage of these group classes. If you aren’t feeling any of the options we tried out, check out the entire schedule here. In the meantime, let Chelsea, the teacher of Vinyasa Flow teach you her favorite yoga pose.


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