Health Special Section

Q&A: Nightclub Cardio instructor gives the skinny on Rec classes


In his high-energy Nightclub Cardio class at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, Myles Parnell said students will “drop it low.” | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

Working out at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center doesn’t have to feel like a chore. At the Nightclub Cardio class, led by mathematics senior Myles Parnell, it might not even feel like you’re on campus at all.

Just like nearly everything at the Rec, the fitness class is free to students. Parnell leads the class each Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 5 p.m. The Cougar spoke with Parnell about what students can expect from his class and his favorite parts about teaching at the Rec.

The Cougar: How is nightclub cardio different from other exercise classes at the Rec?

Myles Parnell: Well, it’s actually easier to say what it is similar to. Nightclub Cardio is similar to Zumba. The only difference is that Zumba is Latin-inspired dance and Nightclub Cardio is… well, it is inspired by the music in nightclubs and on radio. I want you to sing along as you’re dancing. Part of the appeal is that you know some of the music coming out of the speakers. My class is one of the more intense dance fitness classes on the schedule due to my affinity for big movements and pin drops — dropping it low.

As for the other classes offered at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, it is difficult to say what is different without knowing the fitness goals of the person who is interested in them. As group fitness instructors, we strive to make our classes as fun and interactive as possible. We love seeing the same people week after week and seeing them progress in their achievement of their personal goals. Each class offers something different in terms of parts of the body. Classes like Cycling and Buns & Guns really focus on lower body, while classes like Zumba, Nightclub Cardio, and Insanity really are trying to make you get a full body workout. Then classes like Yoga and Pilates can be both for mental and physical health.

TC: How did you get a position leading a class at the Rec?

MP: Well, I was inspired to teach at the Rec because I was going to all of these Zumba and Nightclub Cardio classes and I kept thinking, “I could totally do this. I like dancing, I’m here all the time anyway, let me figure out how to have my own class.” I asked the Nightclub Cardio instructor at the time, Eugenia Williams, how she became an instructor. As she told me, she also said she was going to stop teaching after that semester, so I should definitely get certified so I could take her place.

After I got over being sad, I signed up for the next available training. Then after I got my certification I came back to the Rec and spoke with the head of fitness programs with all of the Dance fitness instructors’ encouragement for an audition. I slayed in the audition, and I was on the finals schedule starting in May 2015, and I have been on the schedule ever since.

TC: What do you enjoy about leading  Nightclub Cardio?

MP: I really enjoy teaching at the Rec because it really is a family. Getting sweaty in close proximity to other people is one of the quickest ways to bond because of the mutual grossness. Also, every time someone comes up and talks to me to tell me about how they are meeting their fitness goals, or that they really enjoy my class, I do a mental back flip, mostly because I can’t actually do a back flip. The camaraderie that comes from classes and getting to know patrons drives me be a better instructor and person.

I can be walking in and not really feeling like teaching that day, and as soon as I turn on my warm-up music, I start getting pumped and totally forget the feeling of not wanting to be there. I’m getting energy not just from the awesome playlist I have, but also from the amazing people that come to my class.

TC: I think most students, especially commuters, don’t know about these free classes at the Rec. Do you find that to be the case?

MP: I think that’s true in some situations, but the majority of the time it it because some students don’t use the Rec altogether. However, for people who come to group fitness classes for the first time, the first question they often ask is, “Is this free?” And anyone at the Rec would joyfully tell you that all of our group fitness classes are free. And if you happen to ask an instructor, you might even get a personal invite to their class.

TC: Why should students consider exercise classes at the Rec?

MP: People should consider group fitness classes at the Rec because really why not? You have the the opportunity to go to classes technically for free. I mean you pay for the Rec through your student fees anyway, so you might as well use the resource you are helping pay for. They are beneficial for your health, and when you go to group fitness classes, you have a whole class to help motivate you to pursue your fitness goals. I would call it a win-win-win situation.

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