AU RecFit: American University

AU FitRec

The February 2021 Rec of the Month is American University Recreational Sports and Fitness (AU RecFit), in Washington, D.C.

Mission: Recreational Sports and Fitness (RecFit), a unit within the department of Athletics and Recreation, provides facilities and programs designed to make it easy for the AU community to be active. RecFit will serve the AU community with health, fitness and recreational programs to meet a variety of needs and interests of a diverse population to foster broad participation and encourage active lifestyles, provide a healthy release from academic rigor and develop lifelong habits of activity.

Vision: To be a leading recreational sports and fitness program recognized for continued innovation and excellence in programs, services and facilities designed.

AU RecFit


AU RecFit manages three fitness centers and one aquatics center, and also assists with the management of the Bender Arena.

Jacobs Fitness Center

Multi-use fitness facility located within the Sports Center, Jacobs Fitness Center (JFC) is the main fitness facility on campus. In addition to housing the athletics strength and conditioning, and wrestling rooms, AU members and students can utilize fitness equipment and a multi-purpose studio. Jacobs is part of the larger Sports Center and serves as the student’s entry point for the Reeves Aquatic Center and Bender Arena.

The JFC opened in 1998, and recently it celebrated its 20th anniversary.

AU RecFit

Bender Arena

Located in the Sports Center, Bender Arena is host to a variety of events on campus including commencement, home basketball and volleyball games and practices, club sports, intramurals, and open recreation.

Reeves Aquatic Center

The Reeves Aquatic Center consists of two pools: an eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool and a three-lane, 20-yard teaching pool. The aquatic center is located on the lower level of the Sports Center along with the locker rooms and showers. RecFit members share the facility with the AU varsity swimming and diving team.

Cassell Fitness Center

Located on the north side of main campus, the Cassell Fitness Center (CFC) is part of Cassell Hall. The facility houses both cardio and weight training equipment in addition to two fitness studios separated by a Skyfold partition. This facility doubled the available fitness space on campus when it opened in Fall 2013.

This 8,000-square-foot facility includes an open floor plan to provide easy access between cardio and strength spaces. Additional features also include two group exercise studios, fitness assessment room and three locker rooms.

AU RecFit

Group Exercise Studio: The addition of the CFC tripled the amount of multi-purpose studio space on campus. These studios support a robust group exercise program, academic fitness and dance classes, and a variety of student organizations.

Fitness Assessment Room: The fitness assessment room at Cassell allows personal trainers to work with their clients and supports the campus’ exercise physiology classes.

Duber Fitness Center

Located on the east side of campus, Duber Fitness Center is AU’s newest fitness center. At only 1,000 square feet, Duber’s primary function changes throughout the year. During the academic year, it serves as a personal and small group training studio, primarily serving the popular club sports team training program. During the summer months, it changes its focus to a drop-in fitness center.

AU RecFit

Campus Fitness Trail

In Fall 2016, AU launched its two-mile campus fitness trail. The trail showcases the campus and highlights unique achievements of campus, faculty, students and alumni.


Virtual Group Exercise: AU RecFit began transitioning to the virtual group exercise program in early April. It started off primarily using Facebook Live and now has transitioned to fully using Zoom for hosting classes and IMLeagues for participant registration. Most recently, RecFit has partnered with Georgetown University to expand both university’s virtual fitness offerings.

Virtual Personal Training: Designed to set specific goals for participants’ current ability level as well as the current space and equipment you have available to workout with. The program consists of monthly one-on-one virtual check-ins between client and personal trainer. Clients have access to workout videos that demonstrate proper form and verbal cues with their individualized at-home workout program based on their fitness level and personal needs. In addition to individual goals and programs the personal trainer has designed specifically for each client, there are group challenges that participants can also take part in. The program utilized Microsoft Teams to keep participants engaged, motivated and encouraged.

Intramurals and Esports: RecFit typically offers 22 different intramural programs and has 2,700 participants. During COVID-19, it expanded its esports offering with weekly tournaments and created a new DMV collegiate gaming league. Tournaments and events competing against Georgetown, George Washington, UMBC and Loyola. This spring, it expects to resume in-person outdoor intramural programs.

Club Sports: During a typical year, 700-plus students participate in one of the 29 club sports. The newest club sport is the AU climbing and bouldering club.

AstrongU Push-Pull Competition: The 5th Annual AstrongU Push Pull competition was held November 2019 and allowed students to test their strength in the deadlift and bench press. Judging is based on the international power federation technical rules. All competitors received an AstrongU tank or T-shirt. Held at the CFC, the program has been very successful growing each year and allowing students to experience a power lifting competition.

Club Sport Team Performance Training: This program utilized personal trainers to develop a robust strength and conditioning program for individual club sports and initially launched in Spring 2017, training the girls lacrosse, basketball, ultimate frisbee and equestrian teams. The program has now grown to incorporate many more club teams including men’s and women’s rugby, men’s and women’s volleyball, crew, climbing, and women’s soccer. This 10-week program focuses on improving sport specific athletic development while also promoting team building. Lead by RecFit personal trainers, the student club athletes receive a pre and post-fitness assessment followed with an eight-week strength and conditioning program adjusted to meet their team needs during the semester.

Barbells and Brunch: Hosted at CFC each spring semester, Barbells and Brunch allows students during finals week to engage in a stress-free barbell workout with RecFit personal trainers and then enjoy some healthy post-workout fuel while also learning more nutritional guidance and tips from the campus dietitian or RecFit personal trainer led nutritional talk.

Stretch-It-Out: Long before the pandemic, RecFit started using Skype for Business (SFB) as a platform to bring stretching sessions to faculty and staff throughout the week for five- to 10-minute stretch breaks. This platform was new with the transition to Outlook, so it was also intended to give faculty and staff exposure to the SFB platform.

Live sessions were conducted by the wellness coordinator and personal trainer coordinator twice a week from CFC. Each session was structured with different stretches. Faculty and staff signed up for this program through Human Resources and added a Stretch-It-Out invite to their calendar. Throughout the years, the program has grown, using Facebook Live and now Zoom. Stretch-It-Out even made an appearance at a men’s basketball halftime show.

Women on Weights: Beginner program that is designed to help women learn basic knowledge of the benefits of strength training, program design, proper technique, correct warm up and cool down activities, and exercise myths. In addition to the education component, there will also be an at-home exercise routine led by certified personal trainers each session.

Fitness Professional Development: Each year RecFit holds workshops to prepare future fitness professionals to take their ACE Group Exercise certification and NASM Personal Training certification exams. This past fall, the department successfully adjusted the workshops to a virtual format.

Wellness Promotion: Health and wellness promotion efforts largely shifted to social media during the pandemic related closures. RecFit increased its regular Instagram programming to five days a week, with some consistent themes: Mindset Monday, Trade-in Tuesday, Group X Wednesday, Trivia Thursday and Fit Friday.

Want to stay up-to-date about AU RecFit?

  • Facebook: @aurecfitness
  • Instagram: @aurecfit
  • Instagram IM/Club Sports: @au_clubandim
Brittany Howard
Brittany is an editor at Peake Media. Reach her at

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