Heskett Center brings Australian fitness program to campus


Brian Hayes

Andy Sykes, coordinator of health and fitness, stands in what will be the space for the new F45 fitness program in the Heskett center. The space will be completed and Sykes will be a certified instructor in the program, in early January. It will be open to students and faculty on Jan. 9.

Surrounded by Shocker gold and fitness equipment specially designed for the Heskett Center, the F45 workout studio is quite an upgrade from the old racquetball court that once sat in the basement of the Heskett.

Brought here by collaboration through the alumni association and the Heskett Center, the F45 fitness program is an innovative workout session that combines cardio and strength with teamwork. The Australian company’s goal is to initiate this program at colleges throughout the country. Currently, Wichita State is the only college in Kansas to have this program.

“The relationship [with F45] is such that they’re providing all of the equipment, they’re providing audio, visual and team training for Andy [Sykes] and his instructors,” Eric Maki, Director of Campus Recreation said. “Our job was simply to do our very best to help repurpose a racquetball court into an F45 fitness studio.”

The F45 program is similar to the Orange Theory program where the results are about gaining oriented fitness in 45 minutes. F45 also pushes collaboration and teamwork, as many workouts require a partner. The program allows for nine to 36 people to participate in each class.

“We’re trying to go around and outreach to different groups on campus and if one department isn’t large enough to fill that space then we will look at collaborating with multiple groups,” said Andy Sykes, Coordinator of Health & Fitness Education. “The focus is team training and it’s to get everyone working together, to get the high-fives going and get some encouragement so we’re moving forward together.”

The program includes 16 training sessions including ones called “Quarterback” and “Pipeline.” These programs will include anything from workouts that a professional quarterback would do to rowing simulators. The different sessions are a mix of cardio and strength training workouts.

“I hope this program allows people to get the results that they are looking for, that they are able to come into this environment, that they can find workout partners or change their body make-up,” Maki said. “I want them to also become exposed to all of the quality programs that we have in campus [recreation], and maybe this program is what gets you into our facility. I hope this program also helps change the culture on campus and to continue to push the importance of wellness.”

Both Maki and Sykes agree that their ultimate goal of this program is to help create a happier and healthier campus community.

F45 classes are free to students and part of the Shocker Fit membership. It will open on Jan. 9 and will have free classes until Jan. 22 so students and facility can see what the program is like.