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Sun Devil Fitness offers hidden gems

Gaining muscle and building a better you has never been easier with these unique programs

Sun Devil Outdoors on their hike in Hurricane, Utah

Sun Devil Outdoors on their hike through Hurricane, Utah.

November 05, 2015

With the holiday season around the corner, food is everywhere; however, just because you join in on the holiday treats does not mean you need to stay indoors and let your health fall to the wayside.

The four ASU Sun Devil Fitness Centers host several amenities for strength training and cardiovascular health, but it's the lesser known gems offering specialized self-improvement that make visiting these centers a must year-round.

Outdoor Recreational 

Sun Devil Out Doors takes you out of the gym and onto adventure, as you explore a variety of locations.

According to Amanda Smith, assistant director of Sun Devil Fitness, the program started out on the West campus, and expanded this last year into Tempe. Her primary mission is to expose the people of Arizona to their state and adventure. 

“Sun Devil Outdoors is a program offered to ASU Students and the community members that essentially creates adventures, for anyone and everyone,” Smith said. “And these adventures are taken in a group, and helps people who wouldn’t usually have the confidence or means to take these experiences.”

With one flat fee, varying in price with each trip, they provide all the necessary equipment and training for the trip.

Paige Cloyd, an ASU sophomore, went on one of the recent trips to Utah. She enjoyed her trip so much that she hopes to commit deeper with the program.

“It was such an incredible time, it was so well planned and we’re able to see so many things,” Cloyd said. “I was nervous at first, but it’s so worth it. I’m hoping one day to become a trip leader.”

The Sun Devil Outdoor Program's past trips include camping, backpacking and even zip lining. Last weekend SDOD took a day hike ending with a yoga session in the gorgeous scenery of Sedona. Still, their best trips are yet to come.

On Nov. 6-8 they will camp in the Superstitions Mountains, and on Jan. 3-10 they will take a roadtrip to meet with the staff of University of California, San Diego to finish their trip in Bahia de Los Ángeles, México. In Mexico, they will spend a few days kayaking along the sea as each adventurer takes part in primitive camping.

For additional information or to enroll, visit

If the great outdoors isn’t your thing, however, you can try these other unique instructional classes on campus.

Team Challenge

Success often means working together, but sometimes operating as a team can prove difficult. With this program building a team has never been easier. Hosted by a trained facilitator, Team Challenge helps promote groups to think creatively and problem solve together; guiding your group towards better communication, leadership, trust and eventually personal growth. How they do this is, perhaps, the best part: through fun and games. Available on all campuses.


Take upper body health into your own hands with this workshop. The handstand workshop in Tempe showcases the many benefits of using only your abdominal core and palms to hold you up. 

To a casual observer it may seem like a child pastime, but it actually requires a great deal of arm, shoulder and upper back strength. Beginner exercises use a wall as a support, but with a few dedicated sessions a person could find themselves turning their workout upside down — perhaps, even with one hand. Available on the Tempe campus.

Self Defense

Have you ever thought, “I’m not enough like Batman?” Well, after this class you won’t. It may not offer capes and cowls, but this dominant martial art will have you feeling safer in times of danger. 

Krav Maga, the Hebrew translation of “Contact Combat,” is the brutal but practical-defense martial art that specializes in quickly immobilizing your attacker. This instructional program at ASU focuses on neutralizing dangerous situations as quickly as possible.

The assortment of classes will provide the defense and discipline to equip you against the injustices of the night, while building self-esteem and keeping you safe.

Classes are held for both men and women, and a women's only class is offered. Available on the Tempe campus.

Cooking Classes

Living healthy involves two vital concepts: good exercise and a better diet.

ASU registered dietitian Jenna Heller makes sure your body takes in the best. This Sun Devil alumna finds her passion in helping people develop their healthiest self. Her instructional courses include lessons in constructing a plant diet, juicing and even a paleo diet. The paleo diet takes its name from the paleolithic era of man, dating nearly 2.5 million years ago, focusing on the intake of what a person may have eaten during that time, such as: fruits, vegetables berries, nuts, meats and seafood.

Heller’s class is free to attend. Offered this fall, and the upcoming spring term, with the next session on juicing being held from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Nov. 12. Available on the West campus.

Underwater Hockey

Have you ever felt like hockey didn’t have enough swimming? Well this game, also known as Octopush, invites people to discover the spirited co-ed event of underwater puck handling.

The game originated in the United Kingdom, and managed to paddle its way to the states with a style of play designed to focus on teamwork, as you attempt to perform breathe-defying feats underwater to achieve victory over the opponent.

Armed with only a snorkel, fins and a pusher (stick) this six-person team exercise promotes fun for all. 

Sessions are Monday and Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. on the Tempe campus.

Stress Class

Nobody said life is easy, and we’re reminded too often that it can wear us down. This class helps manage the stress in life.   

It focues on the Psoas, the principal muscle associated with physical stability (also known as the “muscle of the soul), which often gets neglected causing stress and tension. Since this part of the body connects to the rest of you, the upkeep is just as important as other parts of your body. Working on it means a more grounded and relaxed disposition. 

So whether it’s midterms, mounting paperwork or just life in general, this two-hour class from 2- 4 p.m. on Saturdays can help alleviate the pressures of the day. Available on the Tempe campus.

Chen Taijiquan

Despite being proclaimed as a martial art taking a lifetime to master, beginners are welcomed and encouraged to try Chen Taijiquan.  

This distinctive branch of Tai-Chi emphasizes controlled movements as a meditative exercise benefitting both mind and body. Taken from a martial art, and adapted specifically as a health regiment made this discipline accessible to a larger community.

This program offers the basic techniques to help achieve a style of strength, balance, coordination and understanding of basic Taiji principles.

With a wealth of classes offered there are two types of sessions differentiating in length and difficulty. 

Classes started Oct. 6 and will end Dec. 6. Available on the Tempe campus.

Intro to Four Way Handball

This class will teach you a skill and exercise great for cardio. Fast paced with its attention to coordination, a one-man team goes hand-to-hand with an opponent in an enclosed room for ball supremacy.

This crafty activity has roots dating back to Egyptian times — some historians considering it the parent of tennis.

Dedicated players will expect an increase in cardio-respiratory health, strength, endurance and balance, and even flexibility.

Transform yourself to the ace of handball today: sessions are on Monday and Wednesdays with $20 entry. Available on the Tempe campus.

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