Your Guide To UREC: Which Class Should You Take?

We get it. The University of Recreation Center (UREC) is beyond intimidating and huge.  Trying to figure out which equipment is right for you, and trying to ensure you do it correctly is added stress that seems very unnecessary.  Whether you are an exercise guru or just starting to educate yourself on weight training and working out, UREC offers classes for every type of person.  I did the research on a majority of the classes that James Madison University has to offer, so you don’t have to.



These classes offer many benefits. Firstly, you are with a group of about 20 other highly motivated individuals. Being surrounded by dedicated people makes everyone work that much harder.  Secondly, classes offer structure if the equipment you find at the gym is intimidating. Instructors will teach you everything you need to know, so you never feel embarrassed. This is also a plus because injuries can occur when trying to perform an exercise on machines that are tricky to use. Classes are also great because there is so much variety.  JMU classes are far from limited, and you will never get bored.

For the person just getting into exercise: 20/20/20

This class is great because it is broken down into three parts: 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training, followed by 20 minutes of core/balance.  It is perfect for all levels because most of the other classes are either all cardio related or all strength training. I love this class because it is very entertaining and I never get bored, or wonder “how much longer is this class?” This class is essentially three workouts in one. This is a great class to sneak in at the end of a long day, or if you have time on your lunch break.

For the person looking to tone their whole body: TRX training

This group class uses high tech TRX equipment. TRX was established in the Navy, and was designed to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability. TRX Suspension trainers, are a tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete over hundreds of exercises. According to the JMU website, the TRX machines use tools and certain motions that challenge your whole body in every exercise that is performed. When I first took the class, I was intimidated to say the least. The staff that taught the class made me feel at ease.  There were beginners just like me who had never used the equipment before, so we were all able to learn together. At first some of the exercises felt awkward, but most of them felt good. It took me a while to get used to the idea of being in angles I’ve never been in before.











It included exercises that absolutely killed my core in the best way possible! The series of moves where I planked with my legs strapped into the TRX bands was one of the hardest.  If I felt sore during the class, you can’t imagine how I felt the next day.  I enjoyed every bit of soreness the following days and felt so accomplished.

For the dancer in high school: Barre

Barre is one of the latest fitness trends, and it is so much fun to do with your friends at JMU. Barre classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates. Essentially, you do a bunch of exercises while using a ballet barre. Don’t worry, I’m not even close to being a good dancer, and this is one of my favorite classes to take at UREC. The barre is only used as a prop to balance with while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training. Andrew Read describes this process as holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles.  I found this hard to get used to because your upper body needs to have perfect posture to get the most out of the routine. Most of the moves involve a small range of motions, but don’t let that fool you, this class definitely gives you a good burn. Overall, I loved this class and definitely recommend it for a hard full body workout.

For the cardio lover: Cycle

Throughout high school I have always enjoyed cycle classes. First of all, the cycle studio in UREC is beautiful with lots of bikes. Through my experiences with cycle, I’ve always had a wide range of instructors from okay, to very good. I have been more than impressed with the instructors that work at UREC. Their enthusiasm is what gets me through the class. Cycle classes at UREC range from 30 minutes to an hour, which is great for someone in a rush that just wants to get a quick workout in. Spinning is great for all athletic abilities.  Each person has the option to control his or her pace and determine their difficulty level. Spinning is very simple, which is why it is so popular; it involves no choreography or complex moves. It is low impact, so if you’re like me and running hurts your knees this is the perfect alternative. The instructor I had motivated me to pedal as fast I can while playing the best music to workout too.  I also love this class because I can determine if I am going to be sore the next day or not, depending on how hard I want to work.

For someone looking for a stress reliever: Yoga

Yoga through JMU has so many different options from doing relaxing, stress reliving poses in the UREC studio, to sunset yoga at UPARK, Yoga is for everyone.  When I first took it at UREC, I was very nervous because I am not flexible whatsoever.  According to Jenn Givler, the purpose of yoga is to develop yourself spiritually and to train the body to observe and become aware of its own nature.  I found this class challenging but very relaxing.  The overall tone of the class was nothing like I imagined.  I left feeling refreshed and sore.


Overall, JMU offers an immense amount of resources to stay in shape and be healthy.  These are just a few of the opportunities that I have taken advantage of.  To learn more about UREC and registering for classes click the link:

Peace, Love and DDP,

Paige Epstein



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