Students and fitness leaders find creative ways to stay in shape

Sun Devil Fitness Complexes will be expanding outdoor activities and esports activities

On-campus fitness centers opened last week from a COVID-19 hiatus with extra safety precautions, familiar classes and new approaches to the traditional workout activities. 

Sun Devil Fitness Complexes across all four campuses opened, but with a few caveats: Reservations are necessary, proof of a daily health check submission is required and gym goers should expect to sanitize all equipment before and after use.

READ MORE: On-campus fitness centers reopen for reservations

“With the opening of the complexes we have implemented a reservation system for all our facilities, equipment and programs,” said Nicholas Deponte, SDFC Tempe assistant director. “(This) system allows us to ensure that students will have plenty of space to maintain physical distancing.” 

Students can participate in outdoor workouts by the SDFC in Tempe and join indoor group wellness classes, so long as they registered for the class beforehand, which can be found on Sun Devil Fitness' online page. All classes are free for ASU students. 

Riley Brewer, a freshman studying global studies, said she went to a fitness class, and “everyone was wearing masks and the yoga mats were spaced out nicely.”

“It was a ton of fun, and I felt safe the whole time with the safety measures taken,” Brewer said. “I absolutely plan on going again — and not just for the killer ab workout, but for the stress relief and community.”

Deponte said the SDFC is looking at expanding its outdoor classes as cooler weather approaches.

“For indoor Group Wellness we have moved a majority of our in-person classes to larger gym space,” Deponte said. “In those spaces we are limiting capacity to to 35 and ensuring patrons will have at least 10 feet between each other the whole exercise.”

Students can also book appointments with personal trainers who feel comfortable meeting in person, Deponte said.

“Our personal trainers are very excited to be able to get back to seeing their clients and training in person,” Deponte said. “Trainers have been able to do a lot of online and virtual training.”

For students who didn't return to campus — or just don't want to go to a gym — Live Well at ASU has numerous online classes: Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training, Pilates, Strength, Booty workouts, Energizer and Every Minute On The Minute. 

Some intramural sports, such as pickleball and badminton, are also back in action.

New activities amid COVID-19

Daniel Gaytan, the assistant director of sports programs for the SDFC, said in-person events vary by campus “based on what the students are wanting.”

Gaytan said the SDFC will be continuing with "Friday Night Lights" at the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses, an event held every Friday.

“Friday Night Lights is a big drop-in opportunity for our students,” Gaytan said. “We’ll set up a bunch of different lawn games on our field spaces and just allow students to drop-in, meet some new people, get a little competitive spirit and play some corn hole, badminton or whatever activities we have set up there.”

Zachary Gentz, the sports program coordinator at the Polytechnic campus's fitness center, said one of their biggest challenges “has been trying to reimagine traditional sports to exist within the current guidelines.” This challenge led to the creation of the “golf sports.”

“If you’re not familiar with our golf sports concept, it’s really interesting," Gentz said in a written statement. "For example, we have foot golf. You play golf with a soccer ball and you hit with your foot just like soccer. So the mechanics of how people play soccer and the scoring rules are golf."

Gaytan also said the SDFC has interest in expanding the number of video games they are currently offering. He said they are looking into adding “mainly sports games” such as Madden 21, NBA 2K21, FIFA 21, MLB The Show and PGA Tour 2K21.

“We’re really open to doing a lot of different activities from an esports standpoint,” Gaytan said. “We’re just trying to stay away from the mature games. They’re the ones that are typically not as conducive to a safe environment.”

As for team sports such as basketball, volleyball and flag football, Gaytan said he wishes they had a timeline for their return, "but there just isn’t one at this point.”

“We’re definitely following guidelines from ASU on that front," Gaytan said.


Reach the reporters at cfahrend@asu.edu and anvalle1@asu.edu. Also follow @amandaa.valle and follow @chris_drop_ on Twitter.

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