Drop in to slim down

Those Weight Watchers points just don't seem like enough. Slim Fast shakes are not nearly as appetizing as Fresh

ns Smoothies. And it's far too cold to join the University's clan of diehard runners.

Enter the drop-in group exercise series, sponsored by the Intramural-Recreational Sports program.

The program allows University students and faculty members to choose from a wide array of kickboxing, spinning, step, aqua, yoga and resistance training classes.

"We even have some lower impact courses for older faculty members," said fourth-year College student Tamsen Grigonis, the fitness supervisor for IM-Rec. "We definitely target everyone that we can. We want everyone to get involved in fitness so we try to give them as many options as possible."

Students and faculty members can purchase class punch cards from the equipment desk or business desk at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. Depending on the card purchased, participants can attend 10, 20, 30 or an unlimited number of classes this semester.

The cards are being offered at discounted prices until the intramural sports signup night Tuesday. Drop-in group exercise classes are free of charge until then.

"Until signup night, the classes are all free, just to give potential participants a taste of the classes before they purchase their cards," Grigonis said.

Kickboxing and step classes typically fill up the most quickly, she added. Because the participation limit is set at 40, class instructors occasionally have to turn people away.

Classes are offered Monday through Sunday, generally beginning at 6:30 a.m. and running until 8 p.m.

Class instructors include University graduate and undergraduate students, Charlottesville community members and even a professor from James Madison University. The instructors crisscross a range of age groups in order to target more people, Grigonis said.

Although the "drop-in" name may give the program a somewhat non-committal connotation, participants really view it as a commitment, Grigonis said.

"They have more motivation if they're purchasing the cards," she said.

Many participants also enjoy the group setting, built-in support system and friendships that form as a result of the program.

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