Legitness Jean Fitness

Legitness Jean Fitness

Ranking UniPol classes on how easy they are to do in jeans

It’s academic weapon season, a time of the year when productivity is key. Everyone’s life is scheduled to the minute in a meticulously planned spreadsheet to the point where a slight deviation is mania-inducing. Like a Te Araroa walker drilling holes in their toothbrush to lighten the load or a swimmer shaving their legs for aerodynamics, students need to maximise their efficiency. Bear with us, here. 

Exercise is a proven way to elevate your performance (not just in the classroom *wink*), but in the rush between lectures, library study, and Unipol classes, who has the time to pack extra bags for gym gear or rush home to change in between? That’s basically emotional labour, and you’re so above that. 

Luckily for you, Critic Te Ārohi has the answer: doing that gym class in what you’re already wearing – jeans, probably. Like how one can transform an outfit from day to night with lipstick and a cute jacket, transform your daytime jeans to a workout fit with this one simple trick: doing fucking nothing! 

Critic Te Ārohi would never issue advice we wouldn’t take ourselves, so two reporters juited up for (almost) every Unipol group fitness class in jeans. Jitness is love, jitness is life, jitness is a yeast infection waiting to happen. 

Jin (Tuesday 5:30pm) (not to be confused with gin)

Contrary to seemingly popular belief (and to our great disappointment) spin does not involve spinning. However, the Jin combination of cardio and the unforgiving denim cutting into our abdomens resulted in just as much dizzying nausea as a class of spinning in circles would. Spin is an indoor cycling class, broken up into tracks of different terrains (some you imagine puffing up Signal Hill, others cycling along the harbour). 

It was a bold decision to begin our jitness journey with Spin. The denim was taut. The seams were… there. The rejection therapy was rife, as the class is in the middle of probably the busiest part of the gym: the downstairs cardio room. Cardio was fucking right. The jeans pinched as we gingerly adjusted ourselves on seats that we became increasingly aware of. Soon enough, this was the least of our worries. The jeans weren’t so much the issue as our general lack of fitness. 

The class was encouraged to begin each track with: “Shoulders back! Cores locked! Hinge at the hips!” Nina alternated between worrying about her crack being exposed in mid-rises (great to show off that y2k tramp stamp), trying to force her denim-clad legs to spin faster than 100RPM (the material literally wouldn’t let me), and getting distracted ogling the impressive workouts of those around us. “He’s really doing the escape the killer workout, fucking hell,” Jodie said to Nina at one point, pointing out a sprinter on the treadmill – you know, from our jinning spot. 

The online description of Spin promises it’ll lift your spirits, clear your mind and leave you drenched in sweat. Well, our sneans fits (we both wore sneakers) had us looking like members of the first year engineering cohort of UC, and sure enough, we left the class smelling like them too. 

Unipol staff reaction: Grimaces 
Gym track: ‘Spinning Around’ by Kyle Minogue
Difficulty: 8/10. 
Denim damnation level: Purchase canesten cream in advance x

Jep Jit (Sunday 3:30pm)

Step Fit had us divided on Unipol’s promise of it being a class to “gain confidence on the step while having fun and getting a great workout.” While Nina (a regular stepper) chasse’d and pony cha cha’d to her heart’s content with the spirit of a former Jump Jam leader, Jodie spent much of the class going the opposite direction to everyone else. Rest assured, this appeared to be nothing to do with our denim digs, but rather an issue of personal ability. Side note: do they sell jeans with two left legs?

That being said, the jeans proved a little restrictive during some of the choreography. While jumping into a sumo squat, Nina let out an audible “eughhhh” (it resembled a moose’s mating call) which echoed denim-clad pain throughout the entire gym. Luckily, no jeans were ripped in the process – but it felt like a close one. You may also be mildly concerned to know that esteemed, unproblematic Critic Editor Nina’s favourite step move is the ‘stomp, kick the dog!’ (“What? It’s fun”). We’ll leave what this move looks like up to your imaginations. Critic Te Ārohi would like to make clear, however, that we do not condone animal cruelty, only animalistic dedication to student journalism. 

As a first-time stepper (“only time stepper”) Jodie was disappointed that the class did not, in fact, live up to her 2000s dance franchise Step Up fantasy. It was decidedly unsexy, and there was no Channing Tatum in sight. There were no opportunities to stomp and grind on each other in rain puddles, either. The lovely instructor however came over and reassured Jodie that it would take a few classes to pick up the routine (Nina concurs). 

Jodie maintains it may have been the most embarrassing moment of her life thus far. Those of you who read her confessional about fancying Spirit the animated horse a few issues back may disagree. But for those of you who, like Nina, have a background in childhood dance recitals and beeline for the line dancing at a hoedown, this is the class for you.

Unipol staff reaction: Extreme pity
Gym track: The coconut song from Jump Jam for real nostalgia. Or for PTSD, whatever fits the mood.
Difficulty: 9/10 or 4/10, depending on who you ask
Denim damnation level: If Channing Tatum did Magic Mike in janties

Jogalates (Sunday 4:30pm)

Ever bought a pair of jeans a bit too snug? Depop order gone wrong? Forget wearing your jeans in the shower – wear them to Yogalates and stretch your jeans AND your muscles! Yogalates is exactly what you’d imagine: a combination of yoga and pilates. We went immediately after Step Fit, and it was the perfect mix of deep stretches and mindfulness to prevent Jodie from immediately boarding a plane to South America in humiliation. 

The looks our attire had attracted in other classes were magnified in Yogalates. Since the “standing strength” portion of the class consists of a series of holding poses, it allowed plenty of time for others to ponder our fashion choice as they warrior posed or stared at our denim-clad behinds on all fours. This is opposed to cardio-based classes where everyone is so locked into survival mode that someone wearing jeans is only given a fleeting thought. Jodie did Nina dirty in this case by wearing stretchy black jeans that could have passed for leggings from a distance. 

It goes without saying that this class involved a significant amount of adjusting. Nina reckoned the class included more lunges than usual, speculating that the instructor Tash (her flatmate) included them just for Critic’s benefit. The three-legged dog (downward dog with a leg in the air) especially was a personal attack. All the while, the Step Fit sweat marinated against our skin. Yummy.

Unipol staff reaction: Amused side glances from the stage
Gym track: ‘Genie in a Bottle’ by Christina Aguilera. 
Difficulty: 6/10. 
Denim damnation level: If the jeans weren’t already stretched, they sure as fuck were after this. 

Jore (Monday 4:30pm)

Besides the warm-up move of high knees (more like mid-rise knees) and butt-flicks, Core wasn’t too much of a jore. Thanks to a combination of the nature of the class and the pre-stretched jeans from Yogalates, this one was fairly tame in the jeans department. Not too much bending was involved, which by this point we’d identified as one of the key jindrances. For those unfamiliar with Core, it could perhaps be called Pump Lite, or dynamic pump, involving a series of exercises taken at your own pace involving light dumbbells, body weight exercises, and (shocker) lots of ab-targeted moves.

Admittedly, the bicycle crunches had us battling a bit. We swore that riding an actual bike is nowhere near that difficult (if you completely forget the existence of Spin). Nina made a comment mid-way through what we’re pretty sure was called the ab smasher (or whatever the fuck) that it would hurt to laugh the next day – not ideal considering the centrefold shoot we had lined up. But the best thing about exercises where you are lying down (not in that way, get your mind out of the jutter), is that when you run out of puff, you can just lay there for a hot minute to recover – and to discreetly remove your denim wedgie. Overall, Core was relatively pleasant. Or maybe by this point we were starting to acclimatise to the jitness life… like real hard-jore jathletes. 

Unipol staff reaction: Meh 
Gym track: ‘Tight Pants/Body Rolls’ for an early Youtube throwback. 
Difficulty: 4/10
Denim damnation level: Minimal, but high-waisted jeans would be a different story. 

JU50 (Tuesday 5:30pm)

Jitness is hate, jitness is death. We were repeatedly warned by Unipol staff (who were very much clued in at this stage) that this class would be difficult. After describing the planned class of intense cardio and strength training, Tash said, “It’ll be fun though!” Fun is subjective, Tash. Flatting with a Unipol staff member has taught Nina to take a Unipol staff’s version with a grain of salt. “Just around the corner” is a half marathon away and a “light weekend workout” is hot yoga (I’m never going to go with you Tash, I’m sorry). Naturally, we entered the class scared for our lives, met with no less than four “good luck!”s.

For the May challenge, Aspen and Maddie had planned an extra special U50 class. We had nothing to compare it to as U50 virgins, but the structure of this one was something called a HYROX. The class was split into two, with each group alternating between completing one of eight exercises in the middle of the room, and running around the perimeter of the gym for two minutes at a time. As an added bonus, Maddie was taking everyone’s scores throughout to tally up for a prize at the end, like how many metres erged or laps completed. Halfway through the class, between gasps and sips of water, Jodie commented that, unlike the other classes, she was barely able to think of witty remarks or pointers to write about the class: “I’m in survival mode.”

Maddie broke the ice of the bewildered looks thrown in our direction by announcing to the class our jitness challenge, motivating everyone to work harder because at least they weren’t wearing jeans. At this point in the week, our jeans were stretched to the point of barely being a handicap bar needing to jump-adjust mid-run. This could be why, despite our hesitations (“I’m scared” read a text from Jodie beforehand), at the end of the class we couldn’t help but smile at our accomplishment. 

Unipol staff reaction: Dramatically bad
Gym track: The sound of your own ears ringing and your muscles groaning in protest *acoustic version*
Difficulty: 7/10
Denim damnation level: Would rather eat a pair of jeans, buttons and all. 

Jump (Wednesday 7am)

The lengths we go to in the name of journalism, honestly. Pump (jump in our case), saw us at the gym bright and early at 7am on a Wednesday morning – on Nina’s birthday, no less, because what better way to welcome 23 than totally lejitness fitness? While Pump includes an intimidating level of set-up, complete with two bars, two sets of dumbbells, a step and a mat, the class itself was very palatable. Nina sported the same (now decidedly baggy) jeans, while Jodie said she opted for a fresh pair after picking up her sweat-dampened jeans from the previous day’s JU50 blitz. The strength-based nature of the class meant a blissful break from that level of sweat. While our arms were burning, our jeans stayed delightfully sweat-free, though Jodie reckons she would’ve gone harder “if they played ‘Pump up the Jam’ every few minutes like in Cunk on Earth.” We finished Pump – dare we say it – pumped to be done with our jitness streak. Also, hearing “you still have to squeeze into your jeans” from the One Direction track while we did our cool down was quite amusing, to say the least. 

Unipol staff reaction: Guilted into joining in solidarity with the birthday girl
Gym track: ‘Pump It’ by The Black Eyed Peas
Difficulty: 5/10
Denim damnation level: At least stretched-out jeans mean your vagina is safe. Your dignity, however, is not. 

Joxfit (Wednesday 5:30pm, theoretically)

Fine, we bailed on Boxfit. Nina drew the line at two jitness classes on a day that’s meant for drinking and cake. Six out of seven classes is a good enough effort, right? However, we still made sure to get our Joxfit in –  Jodie totally let Nina fight her in the OUSA parking lot. That counts, right?

Denim damnation level: We’re wearing sweats for the next two weeks, minimum.

This article first appeared in Issue 13, 2024.
Posted 8:14pm Sunday 26th May 2024 by Jodie Evans and Nina Brown.