From Hatha yoga to kickboxing, Duke Recreation & Physical Education’s group fitness classes are a popular way to stay active on campus while building community.
Prospective instructors go through a multi-step training process, said Lisa Jindra, coordinator of fitness and wellness. Jindra facilitates group meetings with aspiring instructors, many of whom are students, to learn skills such as music, cueing and counting. They are later paired with a mentor to provide them with in-class experiences before taking on classes themselves.
Prior instructing experience is not a prerequisite for the job.
Keri Tomechko, a sophomore and current trainee, said the process has been “a really interesting challenge” that she’s enjoyed.
Senior Montana Lee discovered her passion for spin the summer after her first year at Duke and began the instructor training process as a sophomore. In her Tuesday and Thursday biweekly classes, Lee enjoys creating upbeat playlists and takes care to emphasize the mental and physical health benefits of working out.
“If you can do the workout, then you can be an instructor,” Lee said.
Senior Sam Sette, another spin instructor, enjoys connecting with others through teaching.
“You never know who’s going to walk into your class. It’s always different people, and it really builds community,” Sette said.
Tomechko, Lee and Sette all appreciated group fitness classes as a social and physical outlet during the pandemic, especially during the 2020-21 academic year.
“It was really nice to get to go and actually see people in person, and kind of get that group mentality when you do a fitness class together that you can’t find anywhere else,” Tomechko said. “And that kind of got me through my freshman year.”
For those interested in becoming an instructor, applications are currently open online.
Available fitness classes
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A variety of group fitness classes are offered each day of the week, including barre, cycle, High Intensity Interval Training, kickboxing, muscle pump, pilates, yoga and Zumba.
Group Fitness classes are free for Recreation & Physical Education members.
Students and members are required to pre-register for all Group Fitness Classes through the MyRec portal due to “limited space and precautions for in-person classes due to COVID-19,” according to the Duke Recreation & Physical Education website.
Students and members can register for classes up to 48 hours in advance.