Get your sweat on at campus gyms

    When it comes to readily accessible health advice, television personalities like Dr. Ian and Dr. Phil have the market cornered. It makes sense — calling doctors by their last names is so passé. As authors of diet books that have helped a lot of people lose weight, perhaps they do know a thing or two about one item that makes a big difference when trying to lose weight and stay fit: exercise.

    You’ve already read pieces about how to get a good workout in your day-to-day life or even without leaving the comforts of your dorm room, but at some point you might want to visit Northwestern’s gym facilities. They are free. Let me rephrase that: FREE. For the last time in your life, you have free access to a gym, so enjoy it before you’re out in the real world being charged way too much for the gym membership that you only used in January.

    What does a gym have that’s worth the walk? In case you’ve never ventured to any of our on-campus fitness meccas, here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect when you do:

    Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatic Center (colloquially, SPAC): While campus Northerners are lucky enough to have this large facility in their neighborhood, SPAC’s perks are sufficient bait even for those who live farther away.  It has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a 165-meter, 3-lane track and cardio machines galore, not to mention the tennis, raquetball, squash and basketball courts.  Additionally, you can sign up for group fitness classes with fun titles like “Cycle Challenge,” “Boot Camp” and “Aqua Fitness.” About 1,400 people make it here every day – so what’s your excuse? Plus, people from the community use the machines here too, so maybe it will motivate you when you see those senior citizens who still make the time for exercise.

    Blomquist: Though many freshmen have no idea that this unassuming building is actually a gym facility, it’s the best option for people who want to exercise but who are lazy or don’t have time to make it to SPAC. People will tell you it’s the “girly” gym, and while it is true that a bulk of the patrons are of the sorority variety, I can report of one instance where I was one of only 3 girls using the machines, while I counted at least 8 men. Boys, don’t feel self-conscious when using the ellipticals. There’s something sexy about a guy who’s man enough to use a so-called woman’s machine.

    Patten: This gym is way the fudge up north, near Elder and Long Field. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been here for IM sports and Pilates classes but I have never stepped into the weight room. However, NU Fitrec discloses that, in addition to a bunch of free weights, there is a dip bar, a pull up bar and other equipment that you’d have to be pretty athletically inclined to try and use. As far as cardio goes, there are only a few Lifecycles, so you might have to get your heart pumping elsewhere. This gym is mostly used by athletes; I’m only going to check out this gym whenever I feel the need for someone to put me in my place by lifting 100 pounds more than I can.

    But whichever gym you go to, remember some helpful hints:

    • Don’t hog the machines, and if there are a lot of people, then sign up for a time. If someone is on the machine you signed up for, politely ask them to move, no biggie.
    • Bring a towel or use the facilities’ towels to wipe down machines when you’re done. It just shows people that you’re thoughtful enough to realize that other people aren’t into touching your sweat.
    • Ellipticals and bikes are awesome multitasking machines – get some of that reading done for class!
    • Remember that everyone else is pretty much doing their own thing and not worrying about what you look like. Don’t let fear of judgment prevent you from getting a good workout. Better yet, bring a friend for motivation and moral support.


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