Campus Rec

Not all classrooms have desks — some have weights.

A handful of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students head to the CrossFit studio for class. The UNL Campus Recreation Center offers over 40 classes, like CrossFit, that students can take for elective credit. 

Most of the classes are one credit, with the exception of personal training and fitness instruction according to Liza Thalken, instructional outreach coordinator for the UNL Campus Recreation Center.

Students can register for the classes through MyRED, where they’re listed as permission-only classes, according to Thalken. She said students can email her for the necessary permission code.

CrossFit Lincoln offers two classes through the Campus Rec, with five spots available for each class, Thalken said. She said students join an existing class alongside community members. 

Aaron Purkeypile, business development director and coach at CrossFit Lincoln, said offering this class for academic credit could help motivate students to exercise.

“Sometimes we need someone to give us a push to make changes in our lives,” he said. “Academic credit and class schedules have a way of dictating our willingness to put in effort and show up.”

Like Purkeypile, Thalken said she thinks the CrossFit class, like other Campus Rec classes, helps motivate students, keep them accountable and foster strong friendships.

Thalken said she sees a higher retention rate in students who take classes through the Campus Rec for academic credit. She said she noticed that students who take the classes continue coming back to workout. 

“When you’re taking it for academic credit, you’re with people who are qualified to be teaching [the class], as opposed to watching a YouTube tutorial and doing it on your own,” she said.

This is the first semester the Campus Rec has ever offered a CrossFit class for credit, according to Purkeypile. 

Thalken said she and a graduate assistant were brainstorming ways to introduce students to different fitness activities when she remembered that some classes at the rec center, like archery and scuba diving, already partner with local businesses and decided to partner with CrossFit Lincoln.

“It doesn’t compete with anything we offer and it gets students out in the community and exposes them to something new,” she said.

The goal of the CrossFit class is to build up an athlete’s confidence in three areas: weightlifting, gymnastics and conditioning, according to the class’ description. It’s open to all students, and each workout is personally tailored to meet the individual’s needs.

Purkeypile said CrossFit often looks scary to those who haven’t tried it, but he and the rest of the coaches try to make the process simple, like other instructors for Campus Rec classes.

“We only ask that you show up and you try your best,” he said. “Over time you get more comfortable and the fear washes away.”

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