Searching for the Ultimate Workout
Cycling is physically demanding in a distinctive sense from traditional cardio exercises. “It’s a totally different workout," Schwartz said. Group cycling combines endurance and strength training simultaneously. “It focuses on core and leg strength," she said.The potential for success is huge, too – if done correctly, it is possible to burn 500 calories in a one hour ride.
But while group cycling may sound intimidating, in truth it is a lot of fun.
“You should feel energized, not sore [afterwards]," said Schwartz.
And her students agree.
“We love it," said Katrina Grosse, sophomore at IC.“The time goes so quickly," said classmate Katie Moore. “It’s a great workout. It’s challenging, but not something you loathe."
Schwartz’s goal is to create a positive workout environment.
“I try and make it fun with music and talking," Schwartz said.
When it comes to group cycling, it was love at first sight for Schwartz, now 22 years old.
I got into cycling because I’ve been bogged down with injuries, so I wasn’t able to run. I needed a better way to work out."
-Jess Schwartz, student group-cycling instructor at Ithaca College
After trying a host of other workouts, Schwartz came across spinning. “It was really hard my first class, but I loved it."
But upon arriving at IC, Schwartz could not find a group cycling class on campus. She was forced to join Courtside Racquet and Fitness Club, near Cornell University, to feed her cycling addiction. Through the grapevine, Schwartz learned that the Fitness Center, the student gym facility at IC, was looking to start a group cycling program. Schwartz jumped on the bandwagon to teach.
“I applied, told them my background in spin, and was interviewed. A week before classes, we were trained."
Schwartz, who is planning to intern at the Cayuga Medical Center physical therapy center next semester and eventually hopes to open her own physical therapy rehabilitation and wellness clinic for children and adults, appreciates the opportunity to put the skills learned in the classroom to practical use.
“I know my clientele better…it’s all about reading your clients, reading your athletes, and also being a leader," she said.
Teaching a cycling class also gives Schwartz, who also coaches the women’s club basketball team, the chance to develop a fitness plan.
“You’re implementing a workout program, whether it’s people paying or your athletes trying to win a season for you," Schwartz said.
Since Schwartz teaches everyone from 18 year olds to retirees, there is always a cross-section of ages, abilities and fitness levels.
“As far as rest and recuperation, I know that from my major. A 30-second cool-down for a 40-year-old man is different than a 19-year-old girl."
Perhaps more valuable than the practical experience for Schwartz is the chance to help people meet their fitness goals.
“I’ve had clients who couldn’t make it through a class standing more that two minutes now taking advanced classes, which is huge."
Schwartz acknowledges the valuable role positive reinforcement plays in an exercise regimen. “Motivation is the biggest part of our job for our clients."
Schwartz encourages other exercise science majors to apply for certifications, like her group cycling certificate, which can bring in extra money on the side. Cash flow aside, though, those 500 calories are surely a sweet bonus to a great resume builder.