Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Hooping into fitness: new exercise craze hits campus


At the UTSA Rec Center, one can always find a wide variety of workout options. From rock climbing, group exercise classes and even demonstration kitchen classes — the Rec offers it all.

However, there is one exercise class that is about to change the way students think about fitness and fun — the Rec’s premiere hula hooping class.

Officially titled “Hula Hooping 101,” the class is all about “learning the basics of hula hooping, exploring new tricks and perfecting a new skill with this fun and unique fitness class with no prior experience required,” according to the Rec posters around UTSA.

UTSA student Taylor Bird, who is well versed in the world of hooping and is spearheading this class, is excited about hooping coming to the masses and sharing her knowledge.

“There’s a huge hooping community,” Bird explains. “There are a lot of hooping retreats all over the country. Fire hooping and LED hooping is really big right now. The community has definitely blown up — especially in the rave music scene — and it’s now expanded to people who want to be fit or people who want to dance. My mom even hoops now, since I hoop.” As an avid hooper, Bird decided to bring this community to UTSA.

“This class was just an idea that I had,” Bird says. “I was really passionate and enthusiastic about hooping, and there was no hooping club or anything like that, so I thought, ‘wow, there’s more I could be doing.’ Bird made her idea come to life by proving its validity to the Rec’s new director of fitness, Alyson Smith. After creating a sample workout plan — and a hula hoop for Smith — she gave a demo to the new director, who approved the idea. “It was really self-initiation, a little bit of ambition, and good timing that led me to teaching the class.”

Though hooping may seem like an abnormal workout option to most, it has gained recognition and is vastly growing. UTSA senior Sabrina Cirilo is one of these followers.

“I saw people on YouTube and at music festivals who hoop and I thought, ‘They must be in really great shape to be able to manipulate the hoop in different ways,’” Cirilo says. “I thought the class was a fun and interesting approach to fitness and I love the artistic ability that comes with it as well.”

However, hula hooping isn’t all fun and games. It’s a serious workout. Just like any sport, constant practice brings great fitness benefits. “Not only will you look amazing while dancing and doing hula hooping tricks, it’s really a great core workout,” Bird says.

According to Bird, hooping gives you much more than just some abs. “Through working out your core so much, it really improves posture and makes you feel more confident.” With a laugh, Bird continues, “If you can get up, dance with a hoop and blow their minds with a few tricks, you can do anything! You get a good core and cardio workout — and more confidence — so it’s a little bit of everything.”

Hula Hooping 101 can be found at the Rec. Center on Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Blue Studio. Registration is required at All spots for the class have been filled, with a growing wait list, but Bird says not to fear; a hula hooping club will be coming to UTSA soon enough.

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