The Rudolf Fitness Center (RFC) has been an outlet for students to release from the day-to-day activities of being a college student. Opening for the early workout risers in the wee hours of the morning and closing in the late hours of the night for those night owls, the RFC has been a constant.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has not taken that away from Gonzaga students.

“We decided to offer online classes because it is currently our only way to engage with our students and is a way for students to still interact with the RFC and GU community even though they are unable to physically,” said Robin Thompson, assistant director of the RFC. “We thought live fitness classes would be an important outlet physically and mentally during this time.”

Barre, TRX, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) teacher, Avery Edwards, said she is proud of the RFC staff for making the quick transition to an online schedule. Edwards said it was the right decision to move online, even though she was nervous about it.

Edwards said teaching her classes has become harder online due to technical issues, trying to correct form for barre via Zoom, the different ability levels of patrons and trying to read her classes energy level. That being said, her classes online are still social and fun, like they are in person.

“Patrons are encouraged to include their families or housemates in workouts," Edwards said. "It’s fun to look at all the groups of four or five working out together from one living room."

RFC has made these classes free to all the GU community. To attend a class log on to to see a full schedule of classes offered. This is also where you can register for classes. Students will receive an email with a Zoom link to attend the class after they have registered.

A rough schedule without times shows yoga and barre on Monday, hip-hop dance on Tuesday, HIIT and yoga on Wednesday and Jazzercise on Thursday. The RFC is also offering workout video routines and a step competition during quarantine.

Because students do not have access to equipment, classes are slightly modified. Edwards said for barre classes she has her class use a chair or counter top to provide balance instead of a ballet bar.

Although classes are online, Thompson and Edwards said RFC classes are still similar to the in-person classes offered on campus. The only difference is being at one’s own home.

“The instructor is visible and leading the class, while the participants have the ability to have their video on or off during the session,” Thompson said. “Before and after class, students have the ability to ask questions or talk to each other using Zoom.”

Thompson’s hope is that the online switch helps provide a daily routine, relief from anxiety or stress and helps students feel connected to their peers.

Edwards said teaching classes helps provide structure to her day and gets her motivated to do homework.

“Implementing structure into your daily routine is very important in times like these, even though it’s not the same as in person classes, hanging out with a big group of people in an informal setting is so refreshing,” Edwards said. “From my own perspective as a student, it’s refreshing to be with people who aren’t my professors in lecture or my immediate family at home.”

Edwards also said she feels that it is so important to get up and move during the day for students' mental health.

“It’s so easy to sit at your desk all day doing online school, but getting your endorphins going is imperative for mental health,” Edwards said.

The RFC will be running online exercise classes through the remainder of the semester, all with GU students well-being in mind.

“We are fortunate to have such a wonderful staff with the same mindset: to serve our GU community,” Thompson said.

Hannah Hislop is a staff writer.

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