UNF Gym Life: What you should know

Tiffany Salameh

Going to the gym is a big part of being an Osprey. Photo by Jenn Mello
Going to the gym is a big part of being an Osprey. Photo by Jenn Mello.

Correction: A print version of this story stated that students get a free pass into the gym using their N# once a month. The story has since been updated to reflect that students get a free pass into the gym using their N# twice a semester. 

A walk to class will quickly tell you that going to the gym is part of UNF culture, but no need to feel intimidated. The Student Wellness Complex (SWC) will welcome you with open arms — and weights.

This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. But you’re young, able-bodied, and trust me, pretty soon you’ll be looking for excuses not to be in your dorm room.

There’s more going on at the gym than we could possibly touch on in this article — like trainers available to help you on a one-on-one basis and a rock climbing wall for your use. But there are a few things everyone should know about the SWC.

Rule number one of going to the gym: Always bring your student ID. Without it you won’t be able to get in. However, you are allowed a free pass into the gym twice a semester using your N number.

Rule number two of going to the gym: Make it fun. Look forward to your workouts and challenge yourself by setting goals each week.

The most important thing to understand is that going to the gym is all about bettering yourself. This means that you shouldn’t worry about what people are going to think of you if you’re only using ten-pound weights or if you didn’t match your gym clothes that day.

Focusing on yourself will make for a better workout and great me-time. Soon you’ll begin to see the same people around you at the gym and become more comfortable with your surroundings.

There’s a niche for everyone at the SWC, it’s just a matter of finding where yours is. For the shyer folk, there’s even an official “Cozy Corner” tucked away in a corner of the gym where not much traffic flows.

Whether your niche is upstairs on the track, in the cozy corner, or on the squat rack — enjoy the gym membership while it’s still free.

Beginners

If you’ve never been the active type, this is a great opportunity to explore and figure out what your favorite way to workout is.

Getting started is easy. You just have to decide what your goals are and set up a fitness plan to follow. I always recommend having a plan. You can reach your goals and be in and out of the gym faster and more efficiently.

Want to burn fat? Try a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout on either the treadmill or indoor track. It burns more fat and is more effective than running at the same pace for an hour, according to BodyBuilding.com. The idea is that you work your hardest for 30 seconds to a minute and then go at a slow pace for another 30 seconds to a minute, repeating until you’ve been working for 10 to 20 minutes.

I like to do my HIIT workouts on the indoor track sprinting for 30 and fast-walking for 30 for a total of 15 minutes. Completing HIIT workouts four to five days a week while also incorporating bodyweight workouts such as squats, lunges, and sit-ups will melt fat in no time if you’re consistent.

Want to build muscle? Try lifting weights three to five days a week. The results will become addicting. For beginners, I always suggest finding a fitness plan using online fitness training aids such as BodyBuilding.com. On the website under the “Training” tab, navigate to “Find a Plan” and select the option for beginners. From there, you’ll choose your physique and be able to find a plan you like. Remember that fitness plans can always be modified to your skill level, and while challenge is good, it’s important not to push yourself to the point of injury.

I also recommend researching proper form and studying your plan before going to the gym.

Advanced

If you are active, the SWC will soon become your home away from home.

The gym is big and beautiful and will require some navigating. I recommend visiting the gym on a Saturday or Sunday night to walk around and familiarize yourself with the equipment available. If you like to avoid crowds or enjoy super setting, working out in the early morning or around noon. From my experience, the gym seems to be the most crowded from 3-6 p.m. and after 8 p.m.

Cardio people: The third floor of the gym has an indoor track, otherwise known as runner heaven in the summer time. Rows of treadmills, stair masters, elliptical, bicycles and a few rowing machines can also be found on the second floor.

Lifters: The SWC is 27,000 square-feet with $900,000 worth of equipment. Free weights, barbells, squat racks, cables, TRX bands, a deadlift station and benches galore. This is all in addition to various stationary equipment such as leg presses, leg extensions, hip adductor/abductor and many other machines that isolate your arm and back muscles.

Adventurers: Group fitness classes are offered almost everyday on the first floor of the gym. They range from yoga to kickboxing to spin class and more. A schedule for what classes are coming up can conveniently found on the myWings login page or here. My experience with the group fitness classes I’ve attended have all been positive. Be adventurous, bring a friend, and break a sweat.

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