Waiting in line to have your fingerprint taken. Typing in an access code into a small metal box and waiting for the green light to send you through the electric turn- style. Filling in waivers full of personal health history. This is the typical scene during the first few weeks at school as new students gather at the front desk in the Student Recreation Center to register for their gym membership.
College can be difficult, but at the College of William and Mary getting healthy can be easy. After that first, somewhat time-consuming entry to the Rec Center, getting in requires only a student ID number and a fingerprint. From there, the Rec Center offers activities and equipment perfect for all fitness levels and needs.
Newly renovated in 2006, the Rec Center is 90,000 square feet featuring a climbing wall, swimming pool, massage room, multi-purpose courts and weight and cardio equipment.
“The only thing we don’t have at the Rec Center is personal towels for people to use,” Mohammad Rahman ’10, who works at the front desk of the Rec Center, said. “Aside from that, you’ve got everything. It’s a great social place to meet people. There isn’t much we don’t offer.”
As students of the College, the Rec Center offers the opportunity to do what we do best — multitask. Students can flip through their textbook while peddling on the exercise bike or elliptical machine, or watch their favorite TV show on one of the big-screens. Going to the gym is also a great way to prepare for activities beyond the Rec Center.
“I try to get in better shape for riding because I do event riding,” Devlin Murphy ’13 said. “It’s like a horse triathlon with three phrases. I compete twice a month, so I need to be a little more fit.”
For people with little experience working out at a gym, the Rec Center offers personal training with nationally certified personal trainers and individualized fitness assessments.
“The staff is so dedicated; they put all their efforts behind it, and it really does show,” Rahman said. “If you’re uncertain about anything, you’re more than welcome to ask the front desk. Ask questions. Come on by and get a tour to make it more personal.”
The Rec Center also offers options for those who want to bring a competitive edge to their quest for physical fitness. With 45 competitive sports clubs ranging from synchronized swimming to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is something for everyone. Participating in club sports can double as a social activity and a way to stay fit.
For motivation to get to the gym, intramural teams are a great way to get a group together and stick to a schedule. There are 21 different recreational sports offered. If something more adventurous is your speed, the Rec Center organizes several outdoor recreation trips a year, including a kayaking trip and a caving expedition.
“All of our trips are completely student-led, and they are offered to all members of the William and Mary community and any guests they might bring along,” Theran Fisher, assistant director of Outdoor Recreation and Student Development said. “And we do everything from a couple hour clinics and afternoon trips to several day trips.”
Like many of the activities offered at the Rec Center, experience is not a prerequisite.
“All of our trips are designed for those interested in outdoor recreation, but not necessarily outdoor experts,” Fisher said.
The Rec Center is also the home of the latest fitness phenomena for those looking to build muscle. Body Pump, a Les Mills class, is a toning and conditioning class using a non-impact weights-based exercise that is perfect for every fitness level.
“The classes are always easy to follow, too, with no complicated choreographed moves, so there is no danger of feeling lost or self-conscious,” said Jenny Fisher, the assistant director of Fitness and Wellness and also a Body Pump instructor.
The classes are taught by fully qualified Body Pump instructors who are there to offer guidance on the correct lifting techniques throughout the class. Depending on the weight added to the barbell by the participant, the class’s difficulty is determined on an individual level.
“If you’ve always thought that exercise is boring, Body Pump will change your mind. The classes are incredibly motivating, with dynamic music and an instructor giving constant encouragement and feedback throughout the session,” Jenny Fisher said.
After the first free week of classes, Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, Fitwell passes — which have unlimited use for any class — can be purchased at the front desk of the Rec Center. An Academic Year Pass can be purchased for $70 before Sept. 1 or for $75 after that date. Semester passes are also available for $45, otherwise the drop-in rate per-class is $5.
With so many different opportunities for every fitness level, the Rec Center offers something for every student.