Group fitness returns to rec sports

After a brief hiatus, students have the option to participate in group fitness

By Ryan Breece, Staff Writer

Group fitness classes returned to Recreational Sports at the Health United Building (HUB) last week. 

In response to a student petition and an expressed desire for the program by students and employees at the HUB, Xavier’s administration has provided the program with a part-time TriHealth employee in order to bring the program back. 

In October 2021, the coordinator for rec sports’ group fitness program resigned, leaving the position vacant. After the resignation, the role was restructured and changed to an assistant director position at the HUB. 

Over the summer, Rec Sports received word that the position had been eliminated which effectively ended the group fitness program. 

Photo courtesy of
Just a month after cutting the group fitness option based out of the Health United Building, rec sports has reinstated the option for students.

Director of Recreational Sports Leslie Dulle explained the importance of the position and the qualifications necessary to fill it. 

“I need someone with certifications, who can supervise the students, help them get their certifications and manage all the liability around that. That is why initially we were not going to have the program. I didn’t have anyone on staff with that experience,” Dulle said.

“I think some of it was a lack of understanding of the amount of expertise it takes to manage a program like that. We don’t turn on a stereo and just say ‘move your arms like this,’” Dulle continued.

The elimination of the group fitness program caused students and employees disappointment. It prompted a student employee to design and organize a petition, which circulated around the student body. 

“Last year, we had around 600 students come in and attend classes,” Dulle noted. 

Speaking on the importance of group fitness classes, Dulle explained, “First of all, there is a mental health crisis. Exercise is known to be one of the greatest contributors to a positive well being.” 

Photo courtesy of Greg Rust/Xavier University
Xavier has created a part-time position set to meet the needs of the group fitness program, which helped bring the program back from the dead.

She also described how the lack of group fitness classes specifically affects women at Xavier. 

“I think females tend to have a little bit more of a hesitancy to walk into a fitness facility versus a private fitness studio. I think our group exercise classes remove some of the barriers that females might feel around coming in here,” she said.

Dulle emphasized the community aspect of the classes as well. 

“There is a sense of belonging. It’s easy to grab your friend and say, ‘Let’s go try that yoga class or Zumba class.’ It’s a way to come in with a bunch of other people. It makes exercise less private. I just think it’s a great way to make friends and find that sense of belonging,” Dulle added. 

In order to accommodate the needs of the new position, the university has created a part-time position, which is associated with TriHealth, one of Xavier University’s affiliates. This employee will provide the expertise necessary to manage the group fitness program, which will lead to the program to return.  

Beginning this week, students will be able to attend group fitness classes, and instructors will be employed again. 

Since the position is only part-time, there will be a few changes to the group fitness program. 

“Right now, personal training is going to be put on pause because of the amount of supervision that requires. We’re going to be down to about 25 classes per week, but we’re still extremely happy with the classes that we’re going to be able to offer. We think it will still work for students. I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Dulle said. 

Dulle also described some next steps for the program. 

“I’m working hard to advertise it. We know that students are interested because they spoke up. We’re hoping as soon as classes go live next week, we’re going to have good participation, which we will continue to monitor.”

Overall, excitement is in the air at Rec Sports. 

“When the students come back, the building feels more alive. I’m excited because I know there is a need for it. It’s important that it might be the only reason some people come into the Rec Center. It helps create a fitness routine, which has all kinds of benefits.”