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Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Observation One Wednesday, September 5th, 2013 Time: 5:00PM-5:30PM Description of the Location: The group fitness room is located on the lower level of the Student Activities Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The room includes one large open space and a smaller storage room for workout and stereo equipment. The larger space contains two wide mirrors that extend the length of the front wall. This main space has hardwood floors for easy mobility and multiple ceiling fans for air circulation. The storage room is essential to providing music for the instructors and is only used by the participants when they are instructed to get additional equipment. At the main entrance, there is a sign-in table and a bulletin board. The side walls provide alternate double-door exits and space for equipment. The right side wall spaces the most equipment besides the storage room. On this wall are 18-20 medicine balls, over 30 different resistance bands that vary in difficulty by their color, and mats for floor work. On the back wall, there is an additional rack that holds 13-15 medicine balls, and a dispenser of Clorox wipes for disinfecting equipment. Upon entering the group fitness room, participants form rows facing the front and sit or stand depending on the fitness class.

Figure 1.1. Floor plan of the group fitness room. Figure 1.1.
STORAGE ROOM

Figured World: A figured world is a socially and culturally created space with its own standards for suitable behavior and manners. Rules and Conventions for Appropriate Behavior:
GROUP FITNESS ROOM

The group fitness room provides space to hold classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Salsa, Kickboxing, Super Abs, and Zumba. I will focus on three classes that take place in the group fitness room: Super Abs, Zumba, and Yoga. I have chosen these three specific classes because they show an example of three different kinds of exercise classes: Muscular, Intermittent, and Mind/body. To enter the gym, one must show their 49er express card. And To be able and participate in group fitness you must first sign the pink waiver form.

Yoga is an example of a mind and body fitness class. When Yoga is in session the group fitness room becomes a place of serenity and invokes energy flow. Because of the sedate atmosphere, certain behaviors and rules are implied. For example, in comparison to a loud partylike Zumba class, Yoga participants are silent through the majority of the class. Loud distractions are inappropriate as well as walking out during the middle of the session. Coming in late is unacceptable. Commonalities found within the Yoga class are actors with there own personal mats and proper attire. Contrary to Yoga, Super Abs is a muscular fitness class. Unlike in Yoga, in Super Abs it is acceptable and even encouraged, to vent your anger towards the instructor. Inappropriate behavior includes: leaving during the session, not responding when asked questions by the instructor, stopping during a repetition, and not giving it your all! The only appropriate time to

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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stop is when instructed to relax. It is understood if you come in late not to go to the front because you can interfere with other people being able too see the instructor as well as interrupting their focus. Super Abs brings a more diverse group of participants with a more equal ratio of men to women. Commonalties within this group fitness class include a strong passion towards proving one’s endurance. Lastly, Zumba is an intermittent fitness class that combines the laws of aerobics with the laws of interval training. As far as appropriateness, Zumba is the most lenient because the objective is to have fun while burning calories. An anonymous Zumba instructor stated, “There are no mistakes in Zumba only unexpected solos.” Inappropriate behaviors include: leaving during the session, making fun of other dancers, and not being courteous of others space. The same rules apply with entering late as with Super Abs. A common discourse community within the Zumba population is dancers. Because Zumba is a lain-inspired dance fitness class, it attracts many performers. Actors: are persons whose roles are of significance in the space of practice and begin to embody or become synonymous to the figured world.  Rachel Whitley: Rachel is a junior exercise science major at the university. In addition to teaching super abs, she teaches body pump and 49erX. Rachel loves to inspire people and help them reach their goals they would have trouble reaching on their own. She states, “Fitness has always been a huge part of my life, and I love being able to share that with others.” Participants: In this class are approximately 30 students, both male and female. Myself: Regularly visiting the gym, I participate in Super Abs at least once a week. Also since I am a recreational service faculty member, when Rachel needs a sub I can teach Zumba during her time slot.

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Artifacts: are physical objects or conceptual materials used in relation to the space or by the actors.    Instructor’s Headset: Every instructor must use this headset when instructing a group fitness class. It provides clarity for the participants and establishes authority to the instructor. Floor Mats: Each participant and the instructor use mats for comfort and ease. The mat assumes ones space for that fitness class. Rachel’s Watch: Rachel’s watch controls the tempo of the class and allows her to give the class cues for the remaining time for exercises.

Discourse Communities: are groups that share common traits and ways of interacting within the Figured world.   People on Collegiate Teams: During my observation I noticed a group of 4-5 guys with collegiate shirts on that participated in the group fitness class. This group of men were very intense and driven throughout the entire workout. Group Fitness Instructors: Oksana and Stephanie are both zumba instructors that still participate in other group fitness classes.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Literacy Practices: include the construction of knowledge, values, attitudes, beliefs and feelings associated with performing in a particular world.   “Are you Breathing”: Rachel asks this question repeatedly throughout the class to monitor heart rate and to ensure that the participants are not overworking themselves. It is an essential practice for any group fitness instructor. Correcting Positioning: To ensure injuries to do happen, Rachel describes and demonstrates the proper way to execute a move. Then she walks around the classroom to make sure the class is performing the move properly.

Super abs Terms:     Burpees: Performed beginning in a standing position and then dropping to a push up position. Then immediately returning to standing position and adding a jump in the air. Plank: Performed by holding the push-up position with arms extended or resting on your forearms. Superman: Performed lying facedown on the floor, legs together and straight, and arms straight and extended above your head. Keeping your arms and legs straight, lift them towards the celling and hold. Rocker: Lying on your back, with you legs straight and extended, lift your legs at least 6 inches of the ground. Using your core to maintain balance, gently rock back and fourth.

The Observation: 4:59-5:00 Participants enter the group fitness room and sign the pink waiver. They then continue to get a mat from the wall and seat down. Participants coming in late mimic what they see and immediately get a mat. A few people stagger in later and go to the back. The participants quietly wait for the instructor. Since it is not time to start, the instructor plays fast beat music to get the participants pumped up. The instructor emerges from the storage room and introduces herself as Rachel. She is very assertive but not overly serious. 5:00-5:02 Rachel explains the main rule: to respond when she asks if you are breathing. Rachel begins to lead the warm up, which is one minute of burpees. Observing, I notice that all the guys add a push up to their burpees while the majority of the girls do not. Rachel’s informs the class when there are 45 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and the final 3seconds remaining. 5:03-5:05 Rachel announces that it is time to do crunches and gives an example for the proper way to complete one. The pace is different for each individual. Some people go by the flow of the music. The more exhausted participants take longer. Stopping is not appropriate. Rachel enforces participants to keep going by giving them a count of the remaining time and using phrases such as “hold it” and “almost there”. 5:05-5:07 Rachel demonstrates another position consisting of laying flat on your back and using your core to reach up and touch you toes. The participants seem to respond more positively to the less straining core exercise and complete it with out groans. However, after the final countdown, Rachel instructs the class to flip over and go into the plank position. This command results in a

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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more negative response from the participants, for they are slower to react and turn over. Seeing that the class in now struggling, Rachel gives some variations to the plank position to make it easier on the body. 5:07-5:09 When Rachel asks the class if everyone is breathing, the right side does not respond as loud as the left side. When she asks the right side a second consecutive time, they still fail to respond the way she would like. So, Rachel makes the right side hold the plank position for an additional 20 seconds. When she asks them a third time if they are breathing she gets a much better response. Rachel introduces the next move. The class engages in 45 seconds of V Sits. 5:09-5:11 Rachel asks if everyone is breathing and then starts the second set of V Sits. The class is exhausted compared to the beginning of the class, but continues to push through the last set of V sits. Counting down the time appears to help ease the workout. Rachel then tells the class to go back into plank. 5:12-5:15 Finishing planks, Rachel moves into more advanced side planks. Rachel demonstrates the different levels to a side plank and then gives the class 8 seconds to decide on the level they want to attempt. 7 out of the 8 guys carry out the side plank at the hardest level and are able to hold it the entire time. The ladies in the front row attempt the hardest level. Participants in the back row attempt the hardest level but then reduce to the easiest level when they are not able to maintain their balance. 5:15-5:18 Rachel starts to bring the level of intensity of the workout down. She demonstrates a superman. The class repeats this move with short rest periods in between. The class responds by doing the move with ease but more intensity. 5:18-5:21 Rachel informs the class that it is the final stretch of the workout and that there are only 5 minutes remaining. For the last move she demonstrates a rocker. 5:21-5:25 Rachel informs the class that they have made it through the workout and to go into upward dog position to stretch out the core. She then tells the class to come to her if they have questions and to wipe down their mats. The participants simultaneously walk over to the back wall to get Clorox wipes and wipe down their mat before placing them back in the proper position. The Class then exits the group fitness room.

Observation Two Sunday, September 8th 2013 4:57-5:28 Actors:  Oksana Kyper: Oksana is a Russian instructor that teaches Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Yogalates, and Super Abs. Oksana states she loves to teach because it keeps her alive and energetic. Teaching gives her the incentive to keep her mind open to learn more about fitness and apply it to her life as an example. Participants: In this class are about 25 participants. There are no males in this session of Zumba.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Myself: As one of the Zumba instructors on campus, I shadow many of the Zumba classes. When Oksana is not available, I sub for her classes. Also, Zumba at UNCC holds an annual Zumbathon. I am one of the instructors for that event

Artifacts:  Oksana’s Zumba Attire: Zumba attire identifies Oksana as the instructor. Her outfit consists of a pair of official bright pink Zumba cargo pants, and an official Zumba tank top that is bright purple and pink. Oksana’s outfit attracts the participants’ attention and gets them prepared when she walks inside the group fitness room. Instructor’s Headset: Every instructor must use this headset when instructing a group fitness class. It provides clarity for the participants and establishes authority to the instructor. Speakers: The speakers in the room are important to Zumba, because Zumba utilizes music to set the atmosphere for the class. Thus, the speakers amplify sound and generate a positive classroom mode.

Discourse Communities:  Roommates and friends: Roommates and friends form groups of 2-3 and make small circles within the group fitness room. They tend to stand next to each other throughout the entire class. They generally look to be having the most fun and encourage one another during the class. Beginners: People that have not attended Oksana’s class are usually identified at the beginning of class. They typically do not feel comfortable and linger towards the back of the class and do not rotate. Dancers: Because Zumba is a lain-inspired dance fitness class, it attracts many performers.

Literacy Practices:   Repeating dance moves: Oksana uses a few dance moves consistently throughout each song to get the participants comfortable with the dance moves and not discouraged in routines. Monitoring Maximum Heart Rate: Occasionally Oksana asks the class if they are breathing. This is a verbal technique to monitor heart rate.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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The Observation 4:57- 5:00 The participants gather in the group fitness room. A small line forms as people continue to come in and sign the participation wavier. The instructor has not arrived, so small groups of 2-3 form and chatter among themselves. Some individuals begin to stretch in place, while the remaining people quietly stare at themselves in the mirror. 5:01-5:03 Late for class, Oksana runs in the room and proceeds to the storage closet to get the music prepared for the class. A minute later she walks out and welcomes everyone to Zumba. Shouts and calls are exclaimed from a few of the excited participants. Oksana resumes and introduces herself and ask if anyone if new to Zumba. Yells and roars are shouted again by those that are new but also eager to dance. 5:04-5:06 Oksana begins to lead the class in the warm up. The song has a strong African feel to it because of the drums in the background. Thus, many of the dance moves have an African influence to them. The warm-up consists of toe-touch movements to slowly warm the body up. Oksana dance cues are primarily non-verbal, but she speaks when introducing a new move. The class remains attentive and mirrors her movements. 5:07-5:09 The warm-up song begins to get faster as Oksana instructs the class through the dance moves. To keep the class motivated Oksana says, “Looking good!” Oksana also performs a verbal heart rate monitoring test by asking the class if they are breathing. The majority of the class does not respond to the question. 5:09- 5:11 Since the song has ended, Oskana instructs the front line to go to the back of the room, and for the back line to come to the front of the room. Confused by her instructions, most participants stay in their current place. Oksana leaves to change the song and small groups begin talking again. But, most of the class stares at the mirror and waits for the instructors return. 5:12- 5:17 Oksana announces the next song and dance, which is a salsa song, named Dekole. When the beat of the song is heard it immediately restores the energetic mood that was lost during the long warm-up. Oksana emerges from the storage closet clapping to engage the class. Oksana usage of basic moves allows the class to easily catch on and they respond with smiles and laughs while dancing. At the end of the songs the class starts clapping to show their satisfaction. 5:17- 5:21 The next song plays directly after the previous one. It is a funky reggatone named Zumba He Zumba Ha. Oksana directs the front row to the back, and the back line comes to the front. Enthusiastic dancers that enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror try to avoid going to the back by moving further to the side in the front row. For the second time, Oksana commences the dance with clapping. The primary moves in this routine are the beto shuffle, and the reggatone stomp. 5:21-5:24 After Zumba He Zumba Ha ends, the energy in the room decreases. Some participants quietly pack their belongings and leave out the front door. Nonetheless, the next piece Oksana teaches is to a belly dancing song. The dance is slower to allow the class to rest but they appear to be bored.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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5:25-5:28 Oksana has the lines rotate while another reggatone song, Zumba Mami, starts playing. The fast beat seems to get the participants pumped up. Also, the quick past of the moves challenges the class. Oksana make cue noises to signal dance moves. Oksana continues to repeat various moves from previous songs while adding variations to the versus in the songs.

Observation Three Monday, September 9th 2013 8:00-8:30 Discourse Communities:  Intermediate (repeat) participants: follow with their eyes closed and move according to the name of the move.  Beginners: look up at Bethany for a demonstration on the move and often invert to child’s pose when quickly exhausted. Actors:  Bethany Massman: Bethany is the assistant director of fitness for recreational services. She is in charge of hiring instructors for group fitness classes. In addition, Bethany is one of the yoga instructors for group fitness and also teaches spinning in the Belk gymnasium.  Participants: In this class are about 20 participants. The class consists are both males and females.  Myself: When I am feeling stressed, usually towards the end of the semester, I begin attending yoga consistently. Artifacts:  Instructor’s Headset: Every instructor must use this headset when instructing a group fitness class. It provides clarity for the participants and establishes authority to the instructor.  Speakers: The speakers in the room are important to yoga, because they create a soothing atmosphere for relaxation and positive energy flow.  Yoga Mats: Yoga mats are provided to participants.  Yoga block: yoga blocks help increase flexibility and stabilize one’s balance during poses. Literacy Practices:  Bethany’s speaking tone: Bethany instructs is a soft relaxed voice that meshes with the class environment and reinforces the tranquility created in the figured world.  Correcting Participants form: Positioning in yoga is important to achieve a full workout. Bethany describes and demonstrates the move with the class. Then she walks around and helps individuals they are struggling with poses.

Terminology:

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Child’s Pose: Is a resting pose. It is perform by kneeling on the floor, with ones big toes touching each other and the knees spread hip-width apart. The arms are extended above ones head. Cow Pose: Allows the spine to warm-up. It is executed by making a tabletop position on ones hands and knees. On the inhale, lifting ones chest toward the ceiling and extending the neck. The pose if often paired with cat pose. Cat Pose: Allows the spine to warm-up and is often paired with cow pose. It is executed by rounding the spine on the exhale when in tabletop position. Plank Pose: Teaches one how to hold the self together while strengthening the core. It is performed by holding the push-up position. Upward- Facing Dog: Is a resting pose. It is executed lying prone on the floor, stretching one’s legs back, with the tops of the feet on the floor. Bending the elbows and spreading the palms on the floor beside the waist, so that the forearms are relatively perpendicular to the floor. Downward-Facing Dog: Is a resting pose. It can be perform from plank by pushing back with the arms and knees. The arms and legs should be extended. Sun Salutation: Is a flowing series of poses including warrior 1, 2, and 3. Warrior 1: Is executed by raising the arms perpendicular to the floor while the legs are in a lung position. The back leg should be angled 45 degrees. Warrior 2: Is executed by raising the arms parallel to the floor and anchoring the hips parallel to the arms. The back leg should be angled 45 degrees. Warrior 3: Is executed directly from warrior 2 by raising the front arm over the head and gazing upward. The back leg should be angled 45 degrees.

The Observation 8:00-8:04 Upon walking in the group fitness room, soft tranquil music is heard. Yoga participants are walking around acquiring yoga mats, blocks, and Clorox disinfectant wipes. The room is in transition from the previous group fitness class, Super Abs. The atmosphere quickly changes and becomes more composed as the louder Super Abs crowd leaves the room. 8:05- 8:06 Once the class is settled, and their attention is geared towards the front of the room, Bethany enters from the back of the room instructing the class to let their eyes flutter shut and began taking deep inhales and long exhales. The participants all appear comfortable in the environment and do as Bethany instructs. Bethany then moves into child’s pose and the class follows. 8:06- 8:07 Bethany moves the class into a series of Cat and Cow poses. While demonstrating how the move should look, she also describes how the back and neck should move. The class responds by repeating the move at their own pace. 8:08- 8:12 Gradually bringing up the heart rate and warming up the body, Bethany instructs the class to move into a plank position. This move illuminates participants in the room that are beginners and those that are more intermediate students. Girls in the back of the room struggle to hold up their body weight. From plank position, the class smoothly transfers into upward-acing dog position and then back into child’s pose. This combination is repeated four times.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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8:12- 8:13 The class performs the first downward-facing dog of the session. Quickly into this pose, four girls in the back row begin to instantly struggle and result to child’s pose. The remainder of the class continues to hold the downward- facing dog position. 8:13- 8:15 Coming out of plank pose, Bethany moves the class into a standing up right position. The class seems needed of a break from the mat work. Giving the arms a rest, Bethany instructs the class in a series of back-strengthening poses. 8:15- 8:18 Bethany resumes back to downward-facing dog. Most participants hold the position better than the first time. Bethany adds on variations to this pose. The class repeats this combination of back-strengthening poses and the downward dog position. 8:19- 8:21 Bethany begins to lead the class into sun salutation. The first position is warrior 1. While holding this position, it is obvious that yoga is not only a mind workout but also challenging on the body. Beginners watch intermediate participants to fix their positioning. 8:22- 8:25 The class performs warrior 2 and appears more comfortable doing this pose. The energy flow of the class is still calm as the music changes to classical tunes. While doing the poses in sun salutation, no participants restore to child’s pose. 8:25- 8:27 Warrior 3 is performed with a combination of planks and back-strengthening poses. The class moves more simultaneously as they grasp a hold of the moves. Bethany continues to describe each move as she demonstrates them. 8:27- 8:30 Warrior 3 is performed but then Bethany transitions out of warrior 3 into triangle position. When Bethany gives harder variations to the move, most student attempt to do it. The move is then ended with a combination of planks and upwards-facing dog poses.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Visit the My Figured World Tab on http://smyers39.wix.com/staceyslight to view pictures and hear tunes from my observations Survey A survey was taken between 5 guys and 5 girls that participate in group fitness classes. Below are the results to what they indicated as their favorite group fitness class. They had three options: Zumba, Yoga, or Super Abs.

Table 1.1. This chart shows which group fitness classes are more preferred by both men and women.

Table 1.1.

Favorite Group Fitness Class

The chart shows that super abs has a more diverse group of participants, whereas Zumba is a predominately female class.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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The following are Question and Answer interviews. They were conducted to group fitness participants. Interview 1 Jasmine Williams: Zumba Participant Thursday, September 12th, 2013 Question: Can you first state your name, classification, and favorite group fitness class? Answer: “My name is Jasmine. I am a sophomore. And my favorite group fitness class is Zumba.” Question: Tell me why you choose to participant in group fitness classes? Answer: “I choose to participate in group fitness classes because they are fun. They are not boring. They can get a little boring with the same routines. I like having variety.” Question: Can you expand on that with examples? Answer: “It’s mainly because I do not have to do the same thing over and over again. I can do something different.” Question: What inspires you to continue attending group fitness classes? Answer: “The fun and the excitement. And all of the dance moves because I personally like dancing.” Question: If you could change anything about any group fitness class, then what would it be? Answer: “I would definitely change HABIT. Not HABIT plus but HABIT. Because of the amount of reps you do it hurts. A lot. It hurts like… death hurt.” Question: Explain your relationship with the group fitness instructors? Answer: “On a personal level, I do not have a personal relationship with them. It’s more if they have energy, then it makes me want to have energy when it comes to exercising and whatever routine they are trying to teach me. If they are excited about it, so am I. Question: Explain what your goals are by attending group fitness classes? Answer: “My main goal when attending group fitness classes it to lose weight without thinking about it.”

Observation Assignment Site Location: Group Fitness Room

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Interview 2 AJ Davis: Zumba Participant Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Question: Can you first state your name, classification, and favorite group fitness class? Answer: “Hi my name is AJ Davis. I’m a sophomore. And my favorite group fitness class is Zumba.” Question: Tell me why you choose to participant in group fitness classes? Answer: “I choose to participate in group fitness classes because I am a very fun person. I like to go and get motivate. I like to workout and not have to think of a workout in my head.” Question: What inspires you to continue attending group fitness classes? Answer: “The ladies. I do it for the ladies. I put in work on my body for the ladies. I practice for the ladies.” Question: If you could change anything about any group fitness class, then what would it be? Answer: “I would add on more group fitness classes, because I look at the schedules and there are many times when there are open gaps, especially on the weekends. So I feel like there should be more classes.” Question: Explain your relationship with the group fitness instructors? Answer: “ I love the group fitness instructors and they love me.” Question: Explain what your goals are by attending group fitness classes? Answer: “I want to see progress. I want to see work being done. If I go to Zumba, I want my legs to be built, and I want my arms to be toned... Also, I am a dancer and it builds stamina. For classes like super abs, I go because I want to look sexy for the beach.”