By Molly Welby
For The Diamondback

Trying new things during the pandemic has been a trend, but taking a barre class from my childhood bedroom wearing fuzzy socks and sweatpants was something I never thought I’d experience — but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, University of Maryland Recreation and Wellness has implemented new guidelines to protect Terps attending in person group fitness and small group training classes.

Safety measures include making reservations and limiting participants, physical distancing, providing each member of the university community with their own spray bottle and cleaning rag, cleaning between classes and requiring all participants to wear a mask during each session.

And for those who want to stay active, but aren’t able to make it in person, RecWell offers a selection of virtual group fitness classes Monday through Friday. Classes are accessible to anyone through YouTube and can be taken live or at your own convenience.

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Whether you prefer dancing it out to Jason Derulo or centering yourself with yoga, there’s a class for every way to move and every level of time commitment.

Having a ballet and dance background, I figured a barre class would be a walk in the park. However, 10 minutes in I found my legs shaking, already reaching for a second water bottle.

The class was live but virtual, so the only thing between me and the instructor was my screen — an added bonus for me, a five-foot-three female who normally ends up in the back of a class and struggles to see over other students.

The class was led by Meaghan Dal Collo, a sophomore nursing student. No equipment was required aside from your body and a wall, with the exception of some weights for added resistance.

“I recommend a little two pound weight … but you can also use soup cans or candles,” Dal Collo said.

Trust me when I say the workout alone will have you feeling sore for at least a day or two, no cans needed.

The majority of the class involved controlled movements incorporating the arms, legs and core. We started with a light warmup and went straight into bicep curls. During the first few repetitions, I thought it didn’t seem effective. I quickly regretted that thought.

According to Women’s Health Magazine, much of barre focuses on using your body weight to churn out reps of a muscle-burning move, and this class followed that to a T.

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“Creating our own resistance here, really fighting an upward and a downward force,” Dal Collo said, as I continued to fight to make it to the end of the workout.

We moved down to the floor for variations of glute bridges and crunches, which I’d hoped would make me sculpted like Dwayne Johnson, but I think that might take a few more classes.

Finally, we stretched it out and Dal Collo and I parted ways.

While I wasn’t able to draw motivation from other students in the class as I might have in a gym or studio, I found the virtual fitness class to be a simple and safe way to get active and take a break from what can be a mundane school day. Plus, there’s no pressure to wear cute activewear or even leave your living room, and all classes are recorded if you can’t make a live session.

If barre isn’t your scene, there are a host of other videos on RecWell’s YouTube channel you can take advantage of.

If you prefer to jog or run, or are interested in getting into running, RecWell’s Couch to 5K/10K program offers training plans to walk or run a virtual 5k by March 5 or a 10k by April 23.

And if you’re someone who needs one-on-one training and encouragement, virtual personal trainers are ready and available to help both online and in-person.