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Fitness Center Gets Pumped for Fall

Published: August 25, 2010
When cyclists hop on a bike in the McNiff Fitness Center they can challenge themselves to the inclines of the rolling Italian countryside or the curvy, Californian coast. While the ride is virtual, the sweat certainly won’t be.

Beginning in October, the UT facility gains official Spinning licensing, which includes continued education for the Spinning instructors and enhanced quality of the workout, said Coordinator of Campus Recreation Katie White.

Indoor cyclists can choose from 16 new, top-of-the-line Spinner NXT bikes (the same bikes they use on The Biggest Loser ). Instructors can use a newly installed projector to take cyclists on occasional virtual rides. White has plans to use that same projector for the yoga classes for things like guided meditation.

"Adding visual focal points to cycling rides and possibly yoga classes is one way to help students who struggle to let go of the day’s stressors during their workout to totally engulf their mind and body into the workout,” White said. 

Due to a popular request to increase the number and variety of cardio machines and with the help of Student Government funding and a 2010 Senior Class Gift, White purchased a new elliptical machine and two Precor Adaptive Motion Trainers (a cross between a stair climber and an elliptical machine) to replace older equipment. Earlier in the year she added two Concept2 rowers and four Life Fitness treadmills.

Scattered throughout the fitness facility are nine new flat-screen TVs visible from all areas, including the weight machines, stationary bikes, stair climbers and the more than 2,500 pounds of free-weight plates.

Open to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the 6,000-square-foot McNiff Fitness Center not only looks like it got a facelift, but the classes are becoming more diverse too. White said she is adding more fusion classes, such as blending cycling and yoga. She will be offering certification classes for students to become instructors, and the student Wellness Committee will host a Wellness Weekend in November.

Fourteen students were selected for an inaugural 13-week weight-loss program this fall with White. Students will meet three times a week in the gym at 6 a.m. – before it opens.

“This will provide a safe environment for the participants to exercise in,” said White. “We’ll teach them how to create a workout plan, they’ll have regular consultations with a dietician and they’ll be journaling.”

Another change to Campus Recreation is the addition of team member Chris Gottlick, the new coordinator of intramural sports , who hopes to grow the program.

“I’ll be able to interact more with the students, explore some new sports we haven’t had in the past and add six weekend tournaments,” said Gottlick.

There are 12 intramural leagues with six sports a semester including dodge ball, floor hockey, Ultimate Frisbee and indoor soccer. 

“We hope to see an increase in both new and returning participants by enhancing officials’ training and adding new sport event opportunities to the schedule,” White added.

Membership to McNiff Fitness Center is free for full-time, undergraduate students. Faculty and staff memberships are $50 per year. Memberships for graduate students, alumni and part-time students are $100 per year. For information, contact the McNiff staff at (813) 258-7435.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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