On Wed., Feb. 17, Eastern University opened its new fitness center to students and faculty. After the 10 o’clock chapel service and a prayer dedication, the gym officially opened its doors–complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a little bench press action by Dr. Duffet himself.
While I’m no gym-buff, I do like a good workout. My first two years at EU—before the revamped fitness center—I relied on the tiny, garage-esque gym to meet all my exercise needs. While the gym was small, it was still faithful. I was thankful that my school had the equipment it did. But even so, it was often unable to accommodate all the people who needed its facilities. On numerous occasions, I walked in the gym hoping to get in a quick cardio workout before class, only to find that every treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike was occupied. In addition to the crowdedness, since there was no specific staff hired to maintain the gym, there was often free weights and other equipment sloppily laying on the floor, inconveniencing anyone looking for the equipment where it actually belonged. And if there was ever an EU sports team in the gym when I wanted to workout? Forget about it. That gym could hardly accommodate an entire team, let alone other fitness center users.
Yet as much as I complain about the old gym, going without one for the past semester and a half was so much worse. Eastern had very thoughtfully partnered with Fairmount Athletic Club to provide a discounted, temporary membership, but I quickly declined the offer. I refused to pay any amount for a service that I thought should be free at my college. At first, I was proud of this decision. I created a running plan, and was able to stick to my schedule by running on the side roads and through the neighborhoods in Wayne. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to devise a good strength plan without proper gym facilities, and so I just did my best to get by. I was proud of my little running schedule. In a funny way, I felt like I was outsmarting the university by optimizing my workouts without any of its accommodations. In January, however, the weather inevitably got colder. Although it was often miserable, I still made my way outside for runs, often bundled up in long sleeves, a light jacket, thermal leggings, some sporty gloves, and a headband to cover my ears. I was a pathetic sight, and always finished my runs feeling chilled to the bone.
When I read the e-mail from Bettie Ann a couple weeks ago, announcing the grand opening of the fitness center, I was excited to hear that I would be able to pack away my cold running gear. I had watched the promo video online, and on Thurs., Feb. 18, I happily made my way to the fitness center to check it out for myself. I was blown away by the professionalism of the facility when I first walked in. This is no thrown-together, make-do structure—it’s the real deal. The two-story fitness center features several different cardio machines on the top floor, including ellipticals, treadmills, rowers, stationary bikes, and stair climbers. The main floor features several lifting benches, as well as other strength machines. There are also free weights located on both levels.
In addition to the new space and equipment, specialized fitness center staff has also been hired to ensure the best of care for the new facility. Ryan Saltzman serves as the Fitness Center and Strength Conditioning Coordinator, and is available to assist individuals in workouts. Student athletes and athletic training majors have also been hired in the new gym, so as to establish a knowledgeable crew with the best interest of fitness center users in mind. To obtain a gym membership, students need only to fill out a fitness center waiver upon arrival of their first visit and present their Eastern ID. Questions about the fitness center can be forwarded to Ryan Saltzman at firstname.lastname@example.org.