Baylor Wellness pioneers new fitness program

Students exercise at the SLC during the first week of classes. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

Joy Moton | Staff Writer

Baylor’s department of wellness is one of four universities in the country that has pioneered a new collegiate fitness program called F45. The program entails a high intensity, circuit-based group workout that only takes 45 minutes.

“It’s marketed towards a younger population, and it’s just 45 minutes of your day. It goes by really quickly, and you get to work with your peers, which is pretty cool,” said Wichita, Kan., Fit Well graduate assistant Leah Gagnon, who participated in F45.

The new program is considered to be innovative because it includes the growing trend of group workouts and technology. Five television screens guide groups of participants through how to do exercises, how much time they have left before they move on to the next station and when they get water breaks.

“Group exercise is such an easy way because you have that camaraderie with your group,” Gagnon said. “You’re not just by yourself being told what to do. You have that feeling of being in the same boat.”

The program also includes student-trainers to motivate and correct participants’ techniques.

“All of them are Baylor students that love fitness, that are passionate about working with people and getting our community more healthy and well,” said Van Smith-Davis, assistant director of wellness. “We want everybody to come and really just enjoy their time.”

The program originated in Australia and has become extremely popular throughout the country. Now F45 is steadily expanding throughout the United States, and Davis is proud that Baylor is one of the first universities to partake in this program.

“We want to be at the forefront of everything, and we want to be the best at everything,” Davis said. “This is going to bring some great impact and positivity to our campuses.”

For the next two weeks, Baylor students can try out F45, as well as any fitness classes that are offered in the Student Life Center for free. After the two-week period, students can gain an F45 membership for $30 per semester.

One of the main goals of the program is to promote self-awareness among college students.

“Things are timed, but within that time we want people to self-regulate and be able to understand when they need a break and see themselves improve,” said Ryan Adams, head trainer for F45 Collegiate Network.

The program is designed to be effective for beginners as well as people who are advanced in exercising.

“I am not someone who gets in a high-intensity workout every couple of days like I should, but I was still able to make it through, and they did a really good job providing modifications and also encouraging you,” said Gagnon.

One purpose of bringing the program to Baylor is to unify people in the campus community who typically would not interact.

“It’s a place where we can build culture and togetherness because you’re sharing a journey of exercising together through the struggle or the sweat,” Adams said. “It really personalizes it, and it really creates a sense of community that I think is really important on college campuses.”