Your Perfect PE Class

If you’ve been putting off adding PE classes on the Portal because the seemingly endless list of options is just too intimidating, procrastinate no further. The add-drop period is open for all students again, and since PE classes don’t start until Monday (September 5th), you still have a couple days to figure out what you want to do. To decide what sorts of classes you might want to sign up for this semester, think about what you want from the class: to train for sports? To learn something new? To wind up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger? I’ve listed a few examples of classes you might want to look at, depending on your goals. Keep in mind: there are pages of awesome PE classes, and I have only mentioned a few. The perfect class for you might not be mentioned here, so make sure to ask around, explore, and try things out! I’m looking to…

… get an easy credit You don’t have to want to do a PE class. Maybe you already do physical activities outside of school, or maybe you just aren’t the physical activity type. There are still classes you can take to fill your 3 required PE credit with minimal discomfort or time commitment on your part. Rock climbing, which meets only once a week for a short period of time, is a great option. It’s fun, social, and if you happen to fall in love with it you can always arrange additional trips to the climbing wall with friends you make in class. Playground games are fun if you sign up with a big group of friends… relive your middle school days playing capture the flag, laughing with friends, and just having fun.

… learn a new skill There’s more to physical activities than just getting in shape. Impress your friends on at TNC by taking break dancing/hip hop, feel more secure walking home at night by learning self-defense, or get a cross-cultural experience with capoeira. What was that last one? Daniel Lipson, the class instructor, explains the Brazilian dance/game as “a physical conversation that involves kicking, dodging, and self-expression.” The class is taught to music and is not only a great workout that will improve poise and flexibility, but it is also an experience that will give you insight into another culture. Another mysterious-sounding class that’s definitely worth checking out is Aerial Circus. Maria Bernhard, who offers the class from her studio in the village, calls aerial “a full-body workout where you will learn the most awe-inspiring circus tricks… climbing long pieces of hanging fabric and then twisting, hanging, and even performing drops.” “It is absolutely exhilarating!” she adds. And it would definitely be something to show off to the family when you get home.

… stay in shape off-season CATZ (Competitive Athlete Training Zone) and SPARK are classes specially designed for athletes to stay in shape and ready to compete even in their off seasons. Although the two have similar goals, they differ slightly in their methods. CATZ consists mainly of weight lifting and energy circuits, while SPARK is all body weight, on the track rather than in the weight room or gym. A lacrosse player who took SPARK testifies: “I LOVED spark, and I hope it fits into my schedule again this semester… the trainer works a lot with improving your form with running so you have more explosive speed and power.” It’s not a huge time commitment either, only twice a week, but it’s enough: “I felt like I got in great shape for lacrosse,” says the Athena. “I would recommend it to any athlete in their off season.”

… cross-train in-season Ok, so I’m clearly biased as a yoga teacher, but it is a fact that yoga is one of the best cross-training activities, no matter what team you are on. Not only does it let you stretch your over-worked muscles and get some quiet time after all the two-a-days, it is also a complete-body workout that targets many muscles that are difficult to access through any other activities. There are also so many different types of yoga that, depending on what you want to get from your yoga class, you can easily pick and choose. Hatha is a less energetic form of yoga that focuses on stretching muscles and quieting the mind, Anusara is more energetic and focuses on heart opening and playful postures, and Ashtanga/vinyasa and Power Yoga will be an intense full body workout that will help you lengthen muscles. These are only a few of the many types of yoga that exist and are offered on campus, and with so much variety it’s easy to find one that’s right for you!

… get fit and burn calories Swimming isn’t just a fun summer activity: it also burns calories like crazy, and will get you toned even faster than running. Your abs and glutes (most peoples’ target tone-zones) will get the most work from this activity, so if that’s a goal for you then give one of the swimming PE classes a try: once you learn the workouts and get more comfortable with the strokes, you can go on your own as much as you want. Boxing is an excellent workout if contact sports are more your thing. A sophomore who took boxing last year says “its a crazy workout, especially the sparring… the class iscentered essentially around learning how to spar, so if you just want to hit a bag I’d say try kickboxing instead.” If that’s not enough exercise for you, there are also mandatory workouts outside of class that the teacher will monitor for you if you request it. Or you could just try signing up for a running class: even though you already know how to run (probably) having the structure of a class will motivate you to get out there and do it.

… end up with a certification, not fitness Even if you don’t care about staying in shape, or you want to do it outside of a PE class, you can still take advantage of the 5-C programs. Instead of ending up with a six-pack, work towards a certification in CPR, First Aid, SCUBA diving, or lifeguard training. Coming out of a class with something tangible to show for your efforts is always satisfying, and the certifications can be helpful later in life. Be forewarned, though: these are classes with reading and homework and tests… not quite the stress-release that PE courses generally are. Also, many of the programs have fees for the class and annual dues that must be paid in order to remain certified. These classes can be a valuable and rewarding experience and should not be overlooked in the PE course listing.

In the end, no matter what you choose you’ll be getting a great experience out of it. If you take the time to choose right, you’ll get to take a class that’s fun for you and a break from the hard academic work in other classes. Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to only the 3 required credits, either! There are so many classes that will challenge you and enrich you in so many different ways: give them a try, and have fun!

For more information about capoeira, email Daniel at For info on Aerial Circus visit or call 323-632-2386.

Of course, feel free to post your PE class recommendations (or warnings) below!