Aztec Sweat aims to increase student fitness

by Liliana Cervantes and Christine Whitman

Twenty minutes is all the time students need to get active, move toward goals and have some fun between classes with new Aztec Sweat workouts. An alternative option to going to the occasionally intimidating gym, these short, breezy 20-minute workouts get the average student comfortable with being more active.

These free, on-campus workouts are held from 11:30-11:50 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the ENS 700 field by Campanile Walkway. Most of them are led by Brian Tabor, a Strong Made Simple personal trainer at the Aztec Recreation Center.

“People get caught up with the idea that being more fit and more active just means going to the gym and running on the treadmill,” Tabor said. “The gym is only a small piece of a large pie. There (are) a ton of ways to stay active, so I want to highlight that for people that want to get active and do more on campus.”

Students can typically expect strength and balance exercises followed by various games such as dodgeball or ultimate Frisbee. Yoga stretching positions aimed at improving flexibility are occasionally incorporated into the three- or four-minute warmups, as well.

“What I honestly love is the mobility and stretching exercise portions of the workout because that’s my area of weakness,” nutrition junior Kayla Dodge said. “You don’t think the small movements are working, but after a few reps you realize your muscles are burning.”

Aztec Sweat was created through a joint effort between Tabor and the Recreation and Wellness Commission within Associated Students. The goal is to further promote health, fitness and exercise on campus.

“I also love the mobility and stretching portion,” kinesiology junior Courtney Trueblood said. “(Tabor) incorporates a lot of small movements that work really well, but you wouldn’t expect them to.”

Tabor said 20 minutes of daily activity adds up more than most people realize.

“It’s more about doing a little bit more than you did yesterday and just trying to challenge yourself and move forward,” he said.

Tabor’s approach to fitness with Aztec Sweat is to help students focus and enjoy the process more than the end result.

“People make progress all the time that goes completely unacknowledged,” he said. “Going from five push ups to 20 push ups is a really big improvement, but it’s the type of accomplishment that doesn’t get celebrated nearly as often, and then people lose motivation.”

In addition to infrequent exercise, students often struggle with unhealthy habits such as an unbalanced diet or lack of sleep.

Tabor encourages his clients to develop small habits that will improve their health. This can be small as flossing teeth or eating at least one vegetable every day.

With Aztec Sweat, students celebrate their improvements and are encouraged to bring their friends to support each other.

“Some days we get a little out of breath and sweaty, but some days we just laugh a lot and roll around,” Tabor said.