BYU Aerobics program welcomes new director


The bumping music and smiling faces of BYU Aerobics participants can be spotted any weeknight in the Richards Building.

The Aerobics program, which has been around for 30 years, has a new program director for 2014. Becky Moller, a class instructor for the past six years, will take over the program.

Thirty years ago, the BYU Aerobics Program started under the direction of Barbara Neal (pictured left) and Denise Preston (pictured right). They are passing on the program to Becky Moller, who will be changing the program name to "Gym Empowered."  Photo by Becky Moller
From left, Barbara Neal and Denise Preston, who began the BYU Aerobics Program 30 years ago, pose together. They are passing on the program to Becky Moller. Photo by Becky Moller

“I feel passionate that being active and consistent in your own life and taking care of health and wellness can really have an impact on your life overall,” Moller said. “Your spiritual health and your mental health can be empowered by what we do in our program.”

Rachel Renshaw, an exercise and wellness major from Ogden, agreed that participating in the program reaps a variety of benefits.

“It’s a good time to relax,” Renshaw said. “Sometimes I would go (to classes) when there were big projects I had coming up or papers to write and I thought, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t go; I don’t know if I have time.’ I would go anyway, and I think it helped me focus afterwards to get more studying done because I had the stress relief. It gave me a good break and got me back to doing whatever I needed to do.”

Under the direction of Moller, the program will be called “Gym Empowered.”

“I love that (the program) can be used instead of buying a gym membership,” Moller said. “It’s much cheaper and there’s no contract involved, and the focus is on empowering people. People don’t realize how instructors can be like personal trainers and push you through a workout and make you feel strong and like you can do anything in your life. People who come get totally hooked on it and love it.”

To participate in the Aerobics Program, students need to buy a wristband from the information desk in the Richards Building. The wristband is $48 a semester and gives students access to cycling, Zumba, Insanity classes and other amenities.

Renshaw explained one of her favorite classes, Zumba Pump.

“They have so many different classes, so it’s really appealing to anyone,” Renshaw said. “Zumba is really fun because you’re sweating and having fun. Yoga is good because it’s relaxing. Weights make me feel like I’m getting stronger.”

Her favorites are Zumba Pump and the abs class.

“Zumba Pump mixes Zumba and weight training, which I really like,” Renshaw said. “I also really like the abs class because it always makes me feel like a beast. One day we did an ab workout and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it hurts to breathe.’ It’s a good kind of pain; maybe I’m addicted to it.”

This past semester, wristband sales were at their lowest at 330. Typically, 600 wristbands are sold per semester, and Moller hopes to see the program reach that number in 2014 and coming years as a result of the innovation.

“I think it’s down this year because of the freshman age and the new age with missions,” Moller said. “We’ve taken a hit there.”

The decline in wristband sales inspired Renshaw to become involved with recruiting students to participate.

“At the beginning of the semester I was trying to get more people recruited because I was worried they were going to drop the program,” Renshaw said. “Because of the missionary age change, a lot of girls who’d usually come weren’t around. I went to all my classes and handed out fliers and told people to do it because I loved it and didn’t want it to get cancelled.”

To keep students interested, Moller plans to keep the new program up to date on exercise trends.

“When I first came to BYU, I taught step aerobics,” Moller said. “Zumba came on the scene and changed everything, and now we’re trying to find stuff to align with Insanity.”

To kick off 2014, the program will have two free master classes. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, and Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., classes will be held where instructors are introduced. Each instructor will demonstrate 10 minutes of their exercise. Everyone is welcome, and anyone who purchases a wristband between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on those nights will receive $5 off their wristband.

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