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Campus gyms see new year influx

Bridget Keating | Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Year’s resolution-makers and the fitness faithful have flooded campus gyms – including Rolfs Sports Recreation Center and the Rockne Memorial Building – since their arrival on campus.

“The first six to eight weeks of the spring semester is the busiest time of the year,” said Sally Derengoski, director of RecServices and fitness.

Sophomore and Rolfs regular Steve Marencik said while his workout schedule was not impacted by a personal resolution, he has noticed an influx of students to the gym, which often changes his daily workout.

“Newcomers indirectly affect my time here because long waits for equipment lengthen workout time,” Marencik said.

Assistant Director of Fitness and Fitness Facilities Jennie Phillips said wait times can reach 45 minutes or more during the busiest time of the day, 3 to 6 p.m.

“Go to the RecSports website and click on Fitness to find daily usage graphs for the RSRC fitness room. The graphs show the average number of users for each hour of the day,” Phillips said. “By studying them, users may find a better time to utilize the facility and maximize their workout time.”

Marencik said he has a positive outlook on the current flood of gym-goers, despite the necessary changes to his personal workout.

“It’s great to see this many people out and the numbers will likely decrease as class work picks up,” he said.

Students are not the only ones who have to make adjustments due to the busy winter season. University employees also face challenges.

Rockne Memorial Building maintenance crew leader Steve Roberts said facility upkeep is crucial during this period.

“It’s all about multitasking because of the high usage of the building,” Roberts said. “Current happenings in addition to increased gym attendees tracking inclement weather in on their shoes include men’s faculty locker room improvements, physical education classes and hosting all St. Joe High School swim meets for both the boys and girls teams.”

Rolfs front desk staff member Ashley Paluf, who accommodates guests by distributing towels and other requested equipment, said she fields more questions on aspects of Rolfs services.

“Most people ask about intramural sports and Challenge U Spring Break, an exercise incentive program for Notre Dame students, faculty and staff,” Phillips said. “The program is a fun way to encourage people to stay active in what is typically a cold, dreary time of year.”

The free program is especially geared toward those resolution makers who might want to look good in a swimsuit by spring break. After registering, participants gain a “mile” towards their chosen “destination” for each minute of exercise. Logbooks are kept in the Rolfs fitness room and at the Rockne front desk for participants.

“[Individuals who] reach their destination will be eligible for drawings that include gifts such as beach towels, sunscreen, CDs and other travel necessities,” Phillips said. “Anthony Travel has also donated one free roundtrip airline ticket as the grand prize.”

Derengoski said Challenge U Spring Break is beneficial to both regular gymgoers and those who want to get fit in the new year.

“The program is always very enthusiastically received,” she said. “People use it as motivation to follow through with resolutions and keep them going.”

Numerous other services are available to interested individuals seeking direction or more information about all health and fitness issues. For example, someone who is new to training or has not worked out in the recent past can take advantage of facility orientations or programs like Exercise Basics: 101, which features 45 to 60 minute workshops on a variety of topics.

Derengoski said whether or not the influx of exercisers is due to New Year’s resolutions, RecSports is always happy to have more people in the facilities.

“We like being busy,” she said. “Our mission is to serve the Notre Dame community and to make it an active and enjoyable place to be.”