Fitness force

Kara Donbrock takes the lead on offering virtual workouts from Campus Recreation

Despite the canceling of in-person exercise classes at Wright State University, students are still able to make all the right moves thanks to a university virtual workout program.

To protect against the potential spread of the coronavirus, exercise classes and sessions in the Student Union sponsored by Campus Recreation were suspended.

But Kara Donbrock, program manager for fitness and wellness, has launched the Rec at Home Challenge, virtual workouts available to students, faculty and staff.

“I just wanted the Rec at Home Challenge and these virtual workouts to be a way for people to still get their workouts in and still be healthy,” said Donbrock. “Having an immune system that functions properly, you need to be exercising and taking care of your health.”

Donbrock teaches group fitness and personal training. She handles the day-to-day operations of the program, hiring personal trainers, making out schedules and teaching some classes herself. She teaches a circuit class, which includes weight lifting, cardio, burpees and battle ropes. She is also a certified instructor of yoga.

“The benefits of yoga are of course the mindfulness, the meditation and the calming effect that students need coming from a stressful day,” she said.

Kara Donbrock and others in Wright State’s Campus Recreation are posting workout videos that students, faculty and staff can do from home during the coronavirus pandemic. (Video by Kris Sproles / Photos by Erin Pence)

Donbrock was disappointed when face-to-face exercise classes were suspended, but says it was the right thing to do to keep everyone safe.

She now uses her smartphone to videotape herself doing the exercise classes and then posts the videos on Campus Recreation’s Instagram account. Some of the other fitness instructors are also doing exercise videos from their homes and can be viewed on Campus Recreation’s Facebook page.

Donbrock’s goal is to get viewers to do workouts of 20 to 30 minutes of moderate intensity five to seven days a week. She tries to challenge viewers to make it more fun and rewarding for them. She is also planning to begin doing some live workouts.

“I’m just going to press ‘play’ and we’re going to do a workout together,” she said. “Hopefully we can get people at their homes all working out at the same time.”

Donbrock says she has gotten “tons of positive feedback” from viewers, some of whom share videos of their home workouts and equipment.

The biggest challenge for Donbrock is no longer having a face-to-face connection with her exercise students, who have become family.

“I love those people so much. They’ve been coming to my classes for so long. I don’t get to see them. I don’t get to give them a high-five and encourage them,” she said. “Being by yourself and having to do it, it’s just not quite the same.”

Kara Donbrock says the benefits of practicing yoga including mindfulness and a calming effect that can help those experiencing stress.

Donbrock discovered her passion for fitness and wellness growing up in the western Ohio village of Versailles, where she worked in a gym.

After graduating from Versailles High School in 2014, she attended Edison State Community College for one year before transferring to Wright State and graduating in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

Donbrock encourages people to take advantage of the virtual workouts because they are simple, healthy and fun.

“You don’t have to worry about leaving your house. You don’t have to worry about your gym closing. You don’t have to worry about having all of this fancy equipment,” she said.

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