The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



SMC ready to ‘dump its plump’

Laura Kleinschmidt | Wednesday, February 1, 2006

The Saint Mary’s community is looking a little more fit these days – due to students and faculty getting motivated and dumping some “plump” in a new fitness program at the Angela Athletic Center.

The “Dump your Plump” program was recently renamed “Belles for Fitness” due to the number of women who signed up and in order to promote the more positive aspects of exercise and fitness.

Director of Athletics and Recreation Lynn Kachmarik said she is impressed with the large turnout for the program and expects it to go well.

“I expect the program to run very effectively and with lots of fun and motivation,” she said. “I am very excited to see Angela even more crowded than it already is with increased fitness activity.”

While this is the first time Saint Mary’s has attempted to launch a group fitness program, “Belles for Fitness” is already so successful that students are not the only ones taking advantage of the program – it has attracted many faculty and staff members as well.

One strong aspect of “Belles for Fitness” is the focus on group effort, which encourages motivation and persistence within each team as well as with all of the women participating in the program. The competition aspect helps as well, with teams of two to 10 participants competing against each other for prizes and recognition.

Several teams have chosen a fun and creative team name. Team names range from “Making Spandex Look Good” and “I’ll Take Fries with that” to “Why have a Six Pack when you can have a Keg.”

Each team member is required to work out for a minimum of 200 minutes per week (an average of about at least 30 minutes per day). If a participant does not make the 200 minutes, the entire team loses points. Each week there is a “huddle” where teams gather to help encourage each other and are can do a weigh-in, an optional part of the program. Contestants may have a goal to lose anywhere from zero to 10 pounds on an individual basis.

Bridgette Van Schoyck, a physical education instructor, began the program at the College after running the same program at a Gold’s Gym Athletic & Medical Center in Buffalo, Mich. Van Schoyck said she found it to be very successful at Gold’s and hopes to achieve the same success at Saint Mary’s.

“The women really seem to be excited about it. We are trying to make exercise fun,” she said. “The contest runs right up to the week before spring break so I think it will be successful.”

“Belles for Fitness” began Monday and ends right before spring break. In order to address other issues associated with exercise and dieting, there will be weekly lectures during the program.

Talks will range from topics such as learning to monitor heart rates to nutritional facts and information. The lectures are meant to inform participants about problems with eating disorders and over-exercise that many women face.

Van Schoyck said she could not give an exact number at this point, but handed out close to 300 registration forms.

Many students said they are excited to be participating in the program.

Freshman Brittany Fitzpatrick said she likes the competition aspect.

“It’s better to have a competition because people are naturally competitive,” Fitzpatrick said. “The prizes and timing of it ending right before spring break help a lot as well.”

Kristen Brickley – a freshman member of the team “Will Work for Food” – said she is excited about the team aspect of the program.

“We exercise after class together,” she said. “It makes it more fun and there is more motivation to go and work out.”