World's Largest Exercise Ball Workout

Meet Our Next Guinness World Record Fitness Instructors!

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This year will mark our third annual Guinness World Record attempt at the UW. We will break the record for the Largest Exercise Ball Class in history on Wednesday, May 25, when over 500 participants fill the basketball court in Alaska Airlines Arena.

In partnership with UW Sports Medicine and the IMA, our instructors this year are UW’s very own fitness experts. I had the pleasure of interviewing them, and while I knew they would be a great representation of health and fitness, I didn’t realize just how special of a treat we are all in for!

Jessica Norman
Fitness Coordinator, Recreational Sports Programs

Jessica Norman has over 12 years of experience in leading group fitness classes. She started instructing group fitness classes during her undergraduate career at Penn State University where she earned her bachelor’s of science in kinesiology. Since then she earned her master’s of science in exercise science and certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. As a fitness coordinator and Whole U Ambassador at UW, Jessica enjoys motivating people to move and smile while achieving their goals and becoming healthier!

What do you love most about working at the UW?

I love UW’s energy, enthusiasm, and opportunities for engagement.

How is fitness defined for you?IMG_0390

For me, fitness is not only being able to do activities of daily living, but also having the energy to engage in play. That “play” can be anything from a team sport to an individual pursuit. It’s a hike in the woods, a sand volleyball game, or playing fetch with your pup.

What is your typical routine to stay fit?

A lot of my activity and exercise comes from the fitness classes that I teach; however, I also engage in solo exercise pursuits, including indoor cycling, running, and weightlifting. Outside of the gym, I like to hike, walk, and play with my two-year old pup, Levi.

Why are you excited to be part of this Guinness World Record?

We have been playing games with balls since the beginning of time, and regardless of the game or sport, a round ball is a familiar tool that not only represents recreation but it also creates that sense of “play” I mentioned earlier. During our 30 minutes together we’ll have fun bouncing, tossing, and moving with the ball. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll also get a workout and break a sweat?

What advice would you give someone who needed some motivation to get back on track with their fitness?

If you tried an activity and you weren’t able to stick with it, consider the reasons why. Are you more of an outdoor person? Do you enjoy social activities over solo ones? The answers to some of these questions could help you learn about what types of fitness experiences best fit your personality. I think that’s half the battle. If you like the outdoors and prefer a social environment, instead of running on a treadmill consider joining an outdoor running group. By meeting the needs of your personality, you’ll be motivated to stick with a routine that fulfills you in more than one way.

Julie Schroeder
Member Services Manager, Recreational Sports Programs

Julie grew up in Spokane and played sports throughout her childhood, eventually narrowing her focus to soccer, basketball, and track in high school. She went on to play soccer at Gonzaga University where she majored in sports management. From Gonzaga, she accepted an event management internship position in Harvard University’s athletic department. When her internship was over, she had officially fallen in love with Boston and was grateful to receive a position in the student rec center. After five amazing years in Boston — including championships for the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics — she moved back to the West Coast after accepting a position at the UW. She is the member services manager at the IMA within the Department of Recreational Sports, as well as the men’s & women’s Soccer PA announcer for Intercollegiate Athletics.

IMG_0396What do you love most about working at the UW?

I love the UW for its location, the community, the students, my co-workers and the perks of working in the recreation department!

How is fitness defined for you?

Fitness has been a part of me my entire life because I love feeling strong and the high you feel after a great workout. I typically work out six times per week lifting weights, running, taking step class (a new one for me), or using the Step Mill. I’m currently training for my sixth half marathon!

Why are you excited to be part of this Guinness World Record?

I love being a part of the UW community and being a part of something that has ‘World Record’ in the title!

What advice would you give someone who needed some motivation to get back on track with their fitness?

Take it slow. Start with working out two to three times per week, eventually working up to working out five times per week, including weightlifting and cardio exercises. Start taking the stairs, park farther away from entrances to stores, take a walk during lunch or after dinner to increase your daily steps. I always think about increasing my lifetime fitness by taking more steps throughout the day!

Sarah Gustafson
Physical Therapist, UW Sports Medicine

Sarah has been a physical therapist at UW Sports Medicine since 2004. She has a strong orthopedic focus, with special interest in runners and bikers, as well as women’s health. She conducts biomechanical assessments of runners and bikers as well as assessments for orthotics. With a very diverse caseload of orthopedic and sports-related injuries, Sarah has been able to expand her skills as a manual therapist using muscle energy techniques, joint mobilization, myofascial release, Kinesio Tape, and Graston technique. Sarah earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Washington.

What do you love most about working at the UW?d

The variety of patients and disciplines that I am able to interact with. It’s a very motivated population.

How is fitness defined for you?

Fitness is defined by the ability to feel good in my body, with respect to work, emotional health, and being able to perform the activities I love.

Why are you excited to be part of this Guinness World Record?

I love seeing how this motivates the UW community to come together.

What advice would you give someone who needed some motivation to get back on track with their fitness?

Start with something, anything that they love to do, or find an event to train for. Sign up for a specific class to hold themselves accountable. If possible find a partner… it’s always more fun and motivating to workout with someone else.

The Whole U would like to thank our UW sponsors: UW Medicine, UW Athletics, Husky Nation, Housing and Food Services, and the University Bookstore.

We’d also like to thank Nike, React Mobile, Washington Athletic Club, and KIND for their generous donations.

See you there!