After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Taylor Gym is running fitness classes with a total capacity this semester.
Taylor Gym has a roster of 27 classes offering a week in multiple disciplines. Body Pump, Yoga, Zumba, and Spin classes are options available to students at the gym’s fitness center.
Gina Albano, assistant director of Fitness and Instructional Programs, said Taylor Gym classes offer opportunities for students who are trying to get back into an exercise swing or have never been inside a fitness facility but want to learn how to exercise productively.
“The exercise is already planned for you—just come in,” Albano said. “Your coach is trained to guide you through your workout safely and maximize your time in place by moving you effectively.”
Moving away from epidemiological processes, Albano said Taylor Jim has been having a hard time getting the message about classes to students, many of whom have spent time at Lehigh in remote or hybrid learning environments.
This is the first year since 2019 that fitness classes are being offered in person, without masks or appointments. Before the pandemic, Albano said all classes were at full capacity and the gym itself was in peak use.
Gina Rose, the primary class coach, said she has noticed, as a result of the pandemic, that many students have found their own workout routines at home or signed up for other gyms in the Lehigh Valley. She said she believes Taylor Gym and its offerings are more valuable than the alternatives that students have sought.
For students, 13 weeks of unlimited classes cost $89. For faculty, $120. The student is valued at approximately $7 per class.
Alternatively, students can purchase a $10 Day Pass to pay for a single class session. However, members enrolled in fitness classes get priority for locations in crowded classes.
“When it comes to (almost) six bucks a week, you can’t compare that to other gyms,” Rose said. “There is way more than that to offer here as well. They are very convenient. They are absolutely no match, if not better.”
In the first week of each term, Albano said Taylor Jim advertises free classes to students and faculty as a way to get people to try out a session and increase their revenue stream for the school year.
Albano said the university does not budget for fitness classes and equipment, which is why students and faculty have to pay.
But the pandemic isn’t the only thing that has changed Taylor’s gym over the past few years.
Albano said that when she first started at the university in December 2011, there were no academic classes offered during lunch hours or after 4 p.m. Now, Albano said those times are not off limits, which has led to a shift in participation in fitness classes for Students and faculty who no longer have time in their day to work.
The staff size at Taylor Gym has also increased since then.
This year, Albano said, Taylor Gym added nine student trainers to its staff. Students can sign up for summer workshops to become certified to direct fitness classes. She said she feels that the teacher self-selection process leads to more engaging and fulfilling classrooms.
“If the coach is out there and not enjoying what he’s doing, it shows,” Albano said. “I am proud to make sure that we have standards of practice here and that we are putting people in that space who will truly make positive impacts on other members of the Lehigh community.”
Newly graduated Eloise Trout, 22, has been a spin coach at Taylor Gym for three years. She said leaving her classes at the end of her time at Lehigh was difficult because the community of people in each class was so special to her.
She said it became a place for her to de-stress, focus, separate and sweat for an hour.
“[Being a coach]has taught me that being in moments and going to a class or doing something outside your comfort zone gives you the opportunity to meet people you might not have had the chance to meet before,” Trott said.
Online registration for fitness classes is available at lehigh.edu/fitness.
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