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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Overcoming fitness fears

HawkFit program offers workouts for people of all fitness levels

“Kill me now.”

That is what my roommate, Michelle McCann, ’20, said to me repeatedly before, during, and after our first time trying one of Saint Joseph’s University’s new fitness classes. As one of the least athletic people I know, I shared her feeling as we attempted the Hawk High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class.

The fitness classes are a new program this year, and they are promoted everywhere, including right outside of my dorm, McShain Hall. The signs inspired me to give it a try, so I went online to see the different options: Yoga, Zumba, Bootcamp, Barre Burn, and more. I decided to go for something different and challenging, so I signed up online for Hawk HIIT for a drop-in fee of $10.

When I got to the fitness room in the O’Pake Recreation Center, I met Ann Marie Catania, ’11, our trainer for the day. Catania is a St. Joe’s alumna who manages the fitness program here and designed all of the classes being offered.

A little nervous, I asked Catania if she could tell me what I should expect as a fitness beginner. I knew it was a little too late to back out, but I still wanted to be prepared.

“It’s really customized to your level,” she told me. “We find a way to make it work for everyone at your own pace.”

Catania assured me that even though the workout would be intense, we shouldn’t have to do anything too difficult for our level, and we could take a break at any time.

Catania went through the three stations we would be working at before we got started. Each station had a “Part A” and “Part B,” and we would alternate between the two parts for eight minutes. There were only three of us in the class–another sign that this was not a class for those new to the workout world–so we each started at a different station.

The first station I went to comprised a medicine ball arm workout and curtsey lunges. I wanted to start out strong, lifting the eight-pound ball up, throwing it down, and squatting at a steady rhythm. However, when you have little upper body strength, that gets old pretty fast. The lunges were slightly easier, but switching off between the two exercises is what really got me.

As the first round ended, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

We took a quick water break and my roommate muttered under her breath that I owed her.

Round two would have been easier if I hadn’t already felt worn out from round one. This interval was all arm exercises. Despite the pain, I was actually starting to feel pretty good about myself. I was sitting in front of the mirror doing arm curls, and though I tried not to look at myself for too long–I was sweating pretty badly already–I looked like I could have been an everyday athlete.

“I would almost do this again,” I thought to myself.

I regretted this thought when I got to the third stage. This stage was made up of a step exercise and inchworm planks. I had already worked most areas of my body, and these last two exercises brought it all together in a very tiring way. The inchworm planks were probably my favorite part only because it was less obvious when I paused in the middle to take a break.

Even though Catania told us at the beginning we were free to rest at any point, I found myself wanting to push through and give it my all. Motivation really is key.

“Nice one!”

“Keep it up!”

“Just five more seconds!”

Catania, whether she was lying or not about how well I was doing, did a great job of pumping us up and keeping us going. Despite my aching muscles and glaring roommate, I didn’t want to give up until the very end.

After three minutes of ab workouts, the 35-minute class was over.

“It’s a full workout for the whole day, and you’re in and out,” Catania said. “It’s perfect for your busy college schedule.”

And if you’re like me and a total body workout isn’t quite your speed, Catania offers 20 classes a week, from more relaxed yoga to intense boot camps. There really is something for everyone, no matter what your schedule is.

After we stretched and paid, we said goodbye and headed back to McShain Hall.

“You’ll feel it tomorrow,” Catania had said at one point.

Tomorrow? I’m feeling it now!” I said to McCann as we collapsed on the floor of our room.

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