Fit to Go program helps University of Iowa students, groups get back on their feet

The university’s recreational center has altered its once in-person private instructor program to be offered online as a Fit to Go program, giving on-campus student groups a break from classes to help them get active.


Matthew Hsieh

Gym goers on the way and leaving the UI Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.

Caitlin Crome, News Reporter

Since the beginning of the pandemic, fitness has become harder to achieve while staying safe and respecting others’ space. The University of Iowa canceled most group fitness classes in order to limit gatherings.

After noticing this lack of social fitness opportunities at the beginning of the pandemic, the UI’s Campus Recreation and Wellness center came up with a program built for limited groups of people, all while exercising safely, called the Fit to Go program.

“It had been called ‘Hire an Instructor’ since the onset [of the pandemic],” Associate Director of Fitness and Wellness Patricia Kutcher said, “but we just recently changed the name to Fit to Go, but it is hiring an instructor.”

When recreational services first started offering the program, it was on-site only, Kutcher said. After hearing requests from groups to bring classes to them, they decided to do so, but Kutcher said they were still worried about the risks and liability involved.

The rules still are in place regarding face coverings for these off-site classes.

“Participants are expected to wear a face mask while moving to and from activities and while exercising,” the UI Recreational Services website said regarding their COVID-19 procedures. “A face shield alone without an accompanying face mask will not be permitted and gaiters are not an approved face covering alternative.”

In addition to the in-person option, Kutcher said there is also an option for instructors to teach over Zoom.

“It has been working out wonderfully,” she said. “Each week I get someone else inquiring about yet another group [session].”

RELATED: UI Recreation Services provides group fitness from a distance

A single Fit to Go virtual class is $60 virtually and it is $75 to take the class in person. Kutcher said multiple classes that are scheduled at relatively the same time on different dates are $50 for virtual and $65 for in-person classes.

Kutcher added that Fit to Go is not just a program a group of friends can sign up for together, it is made for on-campus student groups.

Many student groups have gotten involved with the program, Kutcher said, including the College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, as well as sororities and other student groups.

UI fourth-year student Hannah Klaassen in the College of Dentistry said she recently took two classes through the Fit to Go program.

“It is definitely a lot different, but honestly in some ways it is a little more fun, because you can take a break without anyone knowing,” she said.

Klaassen said she has been able to take a body combat class and a High-Intensity Interval Training workout through the Fit to Go program’s online format.

“It obviously is not really as much fun as being in-person,” Klaassen said. “There is a lot more energy in-person but you gotta do what you gotta do with COVID-19.”

While studying a rigorous curriculum at dental school, Klaassen said she felt it was important to help bring this program to the students, since they do not have a lot of time on their hands for exercise.

The College of Dentistry has about 20 students involved in the classes at a time, which Klaassen said is a lot considering the students’ tight schedule.

“It allows us a really easy opportunity to prioritize our fitness and mental health,” she said. “It is so important for students in this school to do that and the classes are so good. The instructors are really fun and engaging and they make it a fun hour instead of a chore hour.”