Classes see enrollment increase as students prep for break

University of Alabama students can always count on a spike in participation at the Student Recreation Center during two periods — right after returning from winter break because of New Year’s resolutions and right before spring break.

By Mary Shannon Wells
Contributing Writer

University of Alabama students can always count on a spike in participation at the Student Recreation Center during two periods — right after returning from winter break because of New Year’s resolutions and right before spring break.

In this day and age, young people are obsessed with getting a “spring break body.” The measures they take to reach that body are usually unhealthy and quick fixes that involve eating considerably less and working out too often. But what about after spring break? How much does participation at the Rec Center drop?

“We do see a shift which is very typical this time of year,” said Whitney Spota, coordinator of group exercise at the University of Alabama Student Rec Center.

Spota oversees dozens of classes offered at the Rec Center, including cycling, yoga, kickboxing, hip hop and more. Before spring break, passes have to be handed out before each class to ensure the class doesn’t break capacity. Participants will arrive to classes up to 30 minutes early to be sure they have a spot.

“The classes are still seeing pretty good numbers,” Spota said. “The main difference is that we are not having to turn people away that didn’t make it to class.”

Spota said that there was more of a decline in participation in the morning classes than other time slots.

University of Alabama student Erin Kocher, a junior majoring in exercise science, is an employee at the Rec Center. Kocher said that she noticed more people exercising during the first few months of the spring semester as well.

“Almost every work out machine is occupied, and group exercise classes fill up within the first few minutes,” Kocher said. “We have to send extra employees out onto the gym floor to monitor the influx of patrons and make sure safety procedures are being upheld.”

Libby Yost, another student employee of the Rec Center, said the students come in “waves” a few weeks before spring break. Yost, a junior majoring in advertising, said that the most crowded hours were between 4-8 p.m.

However, Darrell Hargreaves, associate director of informal recreation and events at the Rec Center, said that the drop off isn’t as steep as one may think.

“We do get an influx of swipes in January and February, however not all is due to New Year’s resolutions,” Hargreaves said. “Our competitive sports (intramural and clubs) programs begin their indoor sports like basketball, indoor soccer, etc.”

Hargreaves also noted that there has been a trend over the past few years that shows increases in numbers compared to the same month the year before, a positive note for fitness at the University of Alabama.

While some students may choose to only work out before spring break, Spota said that the “spring break body” mentality isn’t a healthy one, and students should aim to keep exercising regardless of the time of year.

“Most of the time, the participants that stop coming to our classes after spring break are the ones looking for a quick fix and don’t understand the journey that fitness truly is,” Spota said. “Fitness and living a healthy life is done by making a commitment to change many factors, not just working out. The participants that stick around understand and get it and look forward to coming even on ‘bad’ days.”