A new studio called 8 North Athens offers yoga, kick boxing and improv, among others, to become fit.

Kicking off the semester with a "new year, new me" mentality doesn’t have to mean running or biking to become physically fit.

Students and Athens residents have multiple alternatives they can take advantage of, including classes at Ping Center or at CRE8 Wellness Uptown.

A new studio on Court Street called CRE8 Wellness, located on the fifth floor between Pita Pit and The Fluff Bakery and Catering, provides classes from improv to kickboxing.

Jacob Brister, director of the studio, said he wants to provide people with a “transformative and creative space” so people can try and learn something new.

“At Ping, you’ll probably learn the beginner level and do the same thing every week that you go to the class,” Brister said. “Here, we tailor it to what your skill level is. We take it up a notch. We have instructors that help you push yourself without feeling like you can’t do it, but they really challenge you a lot more.”

The studio's rates for yoga and Pilates are as low as $8 and can be a monthly fee of $49. 

Brister said at a young age he felt as if he had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and because his mother didn’t allow him to take medications, he said he turned to fitness to “calm his mind.” When developing CRE8 Wellness, Brister said he focused on making classes he can teach himself as well as classes that would benefit the Athens area. 

Stress relief and physical fitness are a few of the benefits resulting from getting in shape, Brister said, but it’s also a great feeling to see progression throughout a semester and meeting different people in the classes.

“(You’ll meet) a social network of people who aren’t just about the party life at OU but people who are about the creative side, physical fitness and wellness and interesting people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet on the street,” Brister said. “You have to be a different type of person to want to come up here and attend classes.”

Elijah Wright, a martial arts instructor at CRE8 Wellness, said he preaches the importance of making it a lifestyle when trying to become physically fit.

Wright added that when teaching, he focuses on the idea of not having an ego and understanding it’s going to be hard work. 

“There is no ego in here,” he said. “I am 5'3" and teaching people how to kick box. I don’t have an ego — I was the short stack in the gym my entire life. I know what it feels like to be the odd one out while trying to learn something. As long as you have the right kind of atmosphere, everything you want to build on is supported by that.”

Wright compared fighting and training to an animalistic viewpoint. For example, he said, when a tiger is hunting, the tiger is focused on the elk not the watering hole nearby. He added that martial arts is more than about being physically fit, it also teaches awareness.

“When you’re fighting or training to fight or doing any kind of martial arts, you’re closing off everything," he said. "So if I had a terrible day in class or am having a terrible day in my life, I am not focused on that. I am focused on dodging that punch or stopping this take down or this guy from choking me.”

Ping offers group fitness classes all day and access to workout equipment. The classes include different variations of yoga, dance classes and more. Ohio University students have access to the gym for free with their student I.D.

Julia Messinger, a freshman studying marketing, said she likes to work out and tends to go to Ping four times per week, which includes attending some of the fitness classes offered. She has attended classes such as cycling classes, yoga and Zumba.

“Classes like Zumba are really fun because they’re high energy and the music gets you pumped up,” she said. “There are different options for times for the classes … and it’s free so why not take advantage of it?”

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Messinger said she likes the different variety the classes offer, but she also enjoys having access to the elliptical machines and being able to do ab workouts on the yoga mats provided. She added that she enjoys being able to mix up her workouts and that working with others in classes has made an impact.

“(In a class) you’re motivated from being around other people so you want to push yourself harder to keep up with everyone,” she said.