Working out for Credit

by Sarah Canfield

We all know how dreadful the gym can be, especially when there are countless distractions to keep you away. That huge pile of homework you’ve been putting off or all your friends heading down to the cafeteria for free ice cream can be more appealing than the gym.
Some will argue that just getting to the gym is the hardest part—but the actual act of burning a few hundred calories isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, either. It’s uncomfortable lifting weights and running on the treadmill, sweat pouring down your face, with an extremely buff football player strutting around you lifting more than your own body weight. This uneasy feeling of being at the gym got me thinking, “I’m sure there’s a more productive way to work out with fewer wandering eyes watching my shirt turn from light gray to charcoal.”
A great workout accompanied by good friends and loud music.

I’d heard of taking skiing, snowboarding, billiards, and bowling for credit and wondered if this list of “activity” classes offered any high endurance courses. After a quick search on the webpage, I found a list of 16 activities courses, ranging from Beginning Yoga to 5/10K Race Training. Scanning the list, Power Cycling – Indoors caught my eye. My hobbies include sports like skiing, trail running, hiking, and yoga, so having strong stable legs is essential. I thought, “What better way to prepare for a powder day at Bridger Bowl, while receiving MSU credit, than with a mandatory cycling class?”

During the first class we learned the proper bike set-up and did a light workout. The girl-to-guy ratio in the class was about 15:1, which was perfect; the fewer attractive guys staring at me while I drip sweat, the better. It seemed like the class was going to be a relatively easy credit. However, on the second day, the instructor wasted no time breaking us in. After a five-minute warm-up we were climbing hills, sprinting, and jumping till we couldn’t feel our legs. The next day, walking to class was a challenge and sitting-down was even harder. I’ve always been an avid athlete, so being this sore came as a surprise. As the weeks kept on, the class grew smaller as people dropped out, and my legs became accustomed to the constant torture. It was an awarding feeling transforming my body with a workout routine I’d never have chosen on my own.
After a year of cycling class I was ready to take on Granite Peak.

The class is not lax—only three non-participations are allowed, no matter what the reason, and the 4th and 5th non-participations have to be made up. After that, you’re out of the class. Students must also pass one bike set-up test and one written test. 
Be warned: this course is addictive. I started this class the fall semester of 2012 and I’m still participating in it. My roommate and I have taken it together for the past two semesters; having a partner makes it more enjoyable and easier to attend. For more information on how to get involved in any activity course visit the MSU website