posted 2012-10-05 22:34:02

The Non-Athletes Guide To On-Campus Fitness

A crash course in fitness and navigating Hunter’s facilities 

Kaitling McKendry

Associate Features Editor

It goes without saying that you need not be an athlete to be fit. The non-athlete can find their fitness niche right here at Hunter. Of course, the facilities aren’t state of the art, but they are clean, accessible, and extremely functional. Considering that all facilities are located on campus, even the busy student has no excuse for not hitting the gym.

All fitness resources are free for Hunter students, so why pay for an expensive gym membership? In fact, part of your tuition is allocated for recreation funding, so you are already paying for a Hunter gym membership, technically. Being that the closest New York Sports Club to campus charges close to $90 per month, the savings are unignorable. Furthermore, the Hunter facilities offer everything you would expect to find in a typical gym: locker rooms for changing and storing belongings, showers, and plenty of mirrors for after work-out primping. Yasmin Zakiniaeiz, 21, a Biology and Psychology major, feels that “for 21,00 people the gym seems small, but then again not many people use it so its not usually that crowded.” If you desire to workout with a non-Hunter friend, guest passes are available for $2. All the comforts of “going to the gym” are here, just steps away from your last class.

So, if you haven’t seen for yourself already, the Hunter fitness center and locker rooms are located on the B3 level of Hunter West (two levels down from the 1st floor.) Inside you will find an assortment of workout machines aimed at improving cardio, strength, or both! For your cardiovascular pleasures, choose from treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals. I recommend practicing interval training, in which one switches from low to high intensity cardio exercise in a cyclic fashion. This kind of training benefits the heart in the best way possible, not to mention builds more muscle than endurance training (when one stays at a steady pace for a long period of time.)

Now, moving on to strength machines: Hunter has you covered. In the area of the fitness center closer to the back, you’ll find an array of resistance machines, each designed to target a different set of muscles. Don’t know where to begin? Luckily, many of the machines have step-by-step directions printed directly on them. If you feel stumped as to how a particular machine works, the staff around the facilities are willing to help you out.

When using a resistance machine, it is best not to work every core muscle group within a single workout. For instance, one visit you may want to focus on arms and chest, and during your next visit, focus on abs and legs. Structuring your workout plan in this way allows your muscle groups ample time to recover, which will ultimately provide for more productive workouts, not to mention more excellent results. If you prefer to steer clear of machines, the fitness center has a myriad of free weights, fitness balls, and mats for floor exercise as well.

If the gym just isn’t your thing, don’t rule out working out on campus yet, as Hunter also offers a variety of group fitness classes. On any given weekday, there are several workout classes provided on campus. From Tai Chi, the Chinese art of internal martial arts, to Yoga, to kickboxing, there is a class for everyone, whether you are an exercise novice or a well-seasoned athlete.

For those who, like myself, are natural born fish and sometimes just not in the mood for sweat, looking to water for your fitness endeavors may be the most enjoyable plan. The Hunter pool is located on the C-level of Hunter North. Although it is yet to open for the semester, due to staffing issues and the reassignment of the department head, it will soon serve the Hunter community once again. Typically, as based upon previous semesters, the pool is open for “free swim” a few hours a day. During these designated hours, the pool is divided into lanes based upon speed: slow, medium, and fast. That being said, if you aren’t a very strong swimmer, don’t be discouraged, there is a lane for you to swim sans stress. Don’t know how to swim at all? Hunter offers a program called “Learn to Swim”, which will be reincorporated later in the semester.

When preparing for her research trip in Florida, on which she was required to snorkel, Biology and Psychology major Olivia Ferrari, 20, learned to swim at the Hunter pool. “I’d go everyday after class and work on my swimming. Being that I hadn’t used any of the Hunter fitness facilities before, I was a bit intimidated. Once I started though, I found the staff extremely helpful and I got my swimming up to par in no time,” said Ferrari.

Now that you know about the fitness offerings available at Hunter, the next step is getting your Physical Activity Card (PAC), which is an identification card that allows you to access all the fitness facilities on campus. To get it, stop by Health Services in Hunter North 307 and fill out the Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability form. The process is quick and simple so there is no need to delay!

Not only are Hunter’s fitness facilities perfect for the budgeting student, they will remain available to you after you graduate, so long as you have a valid physical activity card. “It’s nice to know that I can use the gym after I graduate, that will save me a lot of money in the future,” Zakiniaeiz said. Now, go grab the treadmill next to the water fountain, that is prime real estate with your name on it!