Body Combat

Let’s be honest: college is stressful. Despite the incredible experiences I’ve had at Penn so far, there are still times during the semester when I feel completely overwhelmed. While all Penn students biologically react to stress in the same manner, each of us is faced with the individual task of learning how to release it.

Prior to move-in day, I practiced yoga at a studio in my town almost daily; however, for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to continue this routine on campus. I absolutely despise working out at the gym, and can only exercise in a group setting, such as fitness classes. During the first week or so of the semester, Pottruck, one of our two gyms, offered free “demo days” for all of the classes on the schedule, so I decided to try some out.

Pottruck offers a wide variety of options (check out the schedule here!, but one specific style of class changed my experience at Penn: Body Combat. Although it may sound violent, Body Combat is actually a non-contact, mixed martial arts based workout that consists of ten “fights”, or songs. The instructors are incredibly passionate, and encourage everyone in the class to do his or her own personal best.

When I first began going to Body Combat, I could only physically complete about 75% of the class. I took many short breaks throughout the class, and sometimes felt so sore that I had to leave early; however, this didn’t make me feel discouraged. In fact, I felt empowered, because every time I went back I saw a little bit of progress. When I looked in the mirror during class, I didn’t see a tiny 5 foot 2 woman-- I saw a strong, confident fighter. I loved the class so much that I purchased the $75 group exercise pass, a price that I probably would have paid ten times over at another location with the number of classes I attend.

Whenever I feel frustrated or stressed, an hour at Body Combat is enough to refresh my body and mind. I’ve found that I’m more productive when I take some time off from studying to throw a few punches, instead of forcing myself to trudge through my homework. Whatever your strategy may be, give yourself some quality time each day to unwind and reflect. Your GPA will thank you later.

-Kaitlyn B, C'21