Fighting Fit In The Pandemic: TRP Students Offer Fitness Classes To Combat Zoom Fatigue
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MHSc in Translational Research

Sarah Diaz for the LMP | May 2021

Facing prolonged virtual education in 2020 and 2021, students and faculty have been exposed to the mental and physical toll of sitting in front of a computer for hours on end.

To try and combat the ‘Zoom fatigue’ that follows back-to-back classes and meetings, a group of seven students from the Translational Research Program (TRP) formed the TRP Fitness Club to encourage students to exercise between classes.

These weekly, one-hour workouts, created collaboratively, offer students the opportunity to learn from one another. Through discussions on how to do different exercises (such as cardio, balance, strength and conditioning, and other exercise alternatives), the TRP Fitness Club creates a positive learning environment that is welcoming for all fitness levels. This outlook is underpinned by the club ethos of valuing “community, vulnerability, determination, and achievement; however big or small the achievement may be.”

Along with their mission of promoting a healthy active lifestyle for students, the TRP Fitness Club focuses on improving the motivation to exercise by actively encouraging the TRP program’s ‘hidden curriculum’- to network and build strong relationships with others.

“Exercising in groups is not only a great way to improve motivation to exercise but a way to stay connected during these very isolating times,” explains Sarah Diaz, Fitness Club Chair, “to this day, our cohort has not had the privilege to meet each other in person so having this club has felt like the next best thing.”

With regular physical activity drastically reducing the risk of preventable disease and stress, as well as improving mental health and academic performance, the TRP Fitness Club hopes to inspire more students to begin, or continue, their fitness journeys in order to reap the long-term benefits of exercise.

The team is now expanding the program to all students in LMP with the help of a MoveU Action Grant; a grant of up to $500 which helps students to create a physical activity initiative that can be delivered virtually.

With this funding, the TRP Fitness Club will be running a four-day Fitness Camp, led by certified Fitness and Performance coaches from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. Specializing in High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT), the coaches for this event will be running their very own “Big HIIT” classes to share their breadth of knowledge.

Although the involvement of certified trainers is a one-off, if popular the group hopes to secure more funding to run it again in the future.

In the meantime, everyone is welcome to join the usual Fitness Club routines, run by the students themselves every Thursday 12:00 – 12:45 pm from June 10, 2021.

Sign up to the TRP Fitness Club’s Big HIIT Fitness Camp

  • Monday, May 31st, 2021
  • Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021
  • Friday, June 4th, 2021
  • Sunday, June 6th, 2021

To encourage participation, the club will be raffling a variety of gift cards including a grand prize of $50!

Join the weekly TRP Fitness Club on Thursdays

Thursdays 12:00 – 12:45 pm from June 10, 2021

Email for more information and how to join.

These regular classes are run by students for fun and fitness and are not led by certified trainers.

The TRP Fitness Club on the TRP website

Instagram: trp_fitnessclub

Twitter: @trp_fitnessclub

Originally published online: