Freshman 15 is advertised in the Dalplex fall program as a class in which students “learn how to prevent unwanted weight gain through fitness and healthy eating.”
While this is true, course instrutor Ryan Cairns says the main goal of Freshman 15 is to help students of all ages (not just freshmen) feel more comfortable going to the gym and working out.
Although the program can accommodate up to 12, the last class Cairns taught only had five people in it – all of them women in their first year of university.
Cristi Gilbert, who’s just starting her arts degree at Dalhousie, was looking for ways to stay active as soon as she found out she was accepted. “I went Dal-crazy,” she says with a laugh.
She was apprehensive about gaining weight her first year at school, but this course erased her concerns.
“I can walk around knowing my objectives for the day – strength, endurance and muscle growth – and confidently go through a circuit that I created for myself, knowing that it will actually work,” she says.
The last group of students to take this class had the opportunity to speak with a nutritionist and learned how to isolate specific muscle groups.
Cairns also taught them how to design their own workout. “We really did a lot of hands-on. We spent a lot of time in the weight room doing activities,” he says.
“Basically, they got a personal trainer for two hours a week … dirt cheap.”
There is a registration fee of $15 to take Freshman 15, even for Dalplex members. It works out to roughly $1.90 for one session with Cairns, which would normally cost $50.
But why aren’t more students taking advantage of this deal? Cairns says the name of the course may be to blame. He’s unsure whether the course was presented correctly. “There was a write-up in the brochure about what it kind of entailed, but to tell you the truth, we actually didn’t know what it was going to entail 100 per cent.”
Cairns says that he has a much better idea of how he wants to run the course now, thanks to feedback from students.
Senior manager of programs at the Dalplex, Shawn Fraser, says the class will be available again in January. The number of classes, however, depends on demand.
Fraser says if fewer than 10 people sign up for the first session, it will be the last of the semester.