Summer weather is near, so students and faculty are taking advantage of fitness classes at Western Michigan University’s Student Recreation Center to get in shape for shorts and bathing suits.

Joelle Graves, 20, is studying Human Resource Management at WMU, and has been a fitness instructor for two semesters.

Along with being a full-time student, Graves teaches five different fitness classes a week and works as a hostess at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Every Sunday afternoon, she teaches her Butts & Guts class that is designed to tone the upper body and mid-section.

On one particular Sunday afternoon, Graves’ class featured upbeat pop and hip-hop music playing at full volume while Graves ran her students through exercises ranging from no sweat to serious cardio. When Graves notices people struggling to keep up, she calls out encouragement. “You got this!”

“This job has helped me build my endurance because having to talk and workout all at the same time is nowhere near easy,” said Graves.

Roommates and workout partners Arica Altobello and Lauren Jerovsek have been attending Graves’ class together and love the intense workout they say they receive. Altobello and Jerovsek have been coming to WMU’s fitness classes for two years now, and Butts & Guts is one of their favorite classes.

“This job is a lot nicer to come to because you get to make people laugh,” Graves said. “I have people that come up to me amazed and happy at what they notice changing about their bodies and I love that.”

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