Student-taught group fitness classes have returned as part of the Fitness Center’s spring relocation to the Marano Campus Center arena.

The Fitness Centers reopened in late February, following extensive health and safety protocols while providing on-campus fitness and wellness to students, faculty and staff.

“Since reopening, things have been going really well,” said Biran Wallace, SUNY Oswego’s Fitness Centers manager. “There were challenges with getting everything set up and operating. However, since we have reopened the fitness center, things have been running smoothly and have been working out the way we’ve envisioned.”

While fitness equipment fills most of the arena, the northern end of the rink now features student-run group fitness classes including kickboxing, yoga, indoor cycling, muscle toning and Zumba. 

Multiple benefits come from group workouts, Wallace said: It makes exercising fun as you work towards a common goal with others, it offers a good workout for those who are less experienced with a fitness routine or equipment and from the motivational aspect and structure that comes with the weekly class.

All group classes are taught once a week with varying hours depending on the class and with instructors. Visit the Fitness Centers website for the spring semester class list. All classes are covered under the student membership fee of $55 a semester. 

Becoming fitness instructors

On average, becoming a fitness instructor requires around six to eight weeks of training classes on campus or online. After finishing the training classes, students must attend approximately 20 group classes to learn from real experience. 

“The process wasn’t too hard. The instructor classes we did last spring were about eight weeks long,” said Eric Marcal, the Friday night student instructor for BGT (Butts, Guts and Thighs). “The only thing was making sure to go to the classes every Sunday and attend the required 20 classes after the training courses ended.”

When becoming an instructor, it is important to have an interest in the class one wants to teach because being an instructor is a commitment and does not include any course credit.

“I started dancing when I was six, and I went to Zumba classes because they were cost-effective,” said Lensa Romage, the Friday night student Zumba instructor. “I like teaching Zumba because it not only allows you to work out and exercise but still allows you to have fun and even learn how to dance,” 

In addition to the fun and fitness, safety remains a consideration. Participants must be up-to-date on their tests and pass their daily health screening. In the workout area, green dots spaced 12 feet apart ensure that distancing is maintained while exercising. And all participants must wear a face covering. 

“Getting people to understand that the classes are safe is the most important thing we can do right now,” Marcal said. “We currently have green dots set up to ensure that people are socially distancing while attending a class.” 

Aside from the concerns of staying healthy while exercising, the student instructors believe that getting people to realize the classes exist is an equally important aspect. 

“I think we just need to promote the classes more and more,” Marcal said. “I know we have been putting things on social media, and we just need to keep enforcing that idea, just getting people to realize that we are doing group classes.” 

“It was hard at first because I couldn’t find people due to COVID,” Romage noted. “I always make sure to post my classes on social media because it’s a big thing right now and it gets people coming in.”

If you decide to attend a class, you can sign up 15 minutes before that class begins. 

If you are a student and wish to become an instructor, you can find more information and an application under the employment tab on the Fitness Centers site. It is best to reach out as soon as possible due to spots opening with instructors graduating and since becoming an instructor takes time. 

The Fitness Centers arena location is currently open Mondays through Thursdays, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.; Fridays from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

For more information or any other questions, email

-- Story written by Jonathan Morrow, Class of 2021