Let me open by saying this: I truly appreciate having access to a ‘free’ gym on campus, and I realize this is a privilege that many students at other universities do not have. It’s refreshing to see a genuine care for student health across campus—be it with the new Bite app that displays exactly what is in every item on the daily Seasons menu (PSA: if you love yourself, don’t check the burgers’ caloric count), or mental health awareness events like Fresh Check Day.
But what is up with the gym? Half of the time you have to plead with the benches in order to adjust the angle on them (shout out to all the benches missing knobs), and that’s when you can even find an open seat that someone hasn’t been texting on for the past twenty minutes. That’s not to mention an absolute lack of medicine balls or kettlebells.
The mats are haphazardly plopped in the middle of the first floor and have seen far better days. There are really only three spots to use them, and that’s counting the occasional mat tucked away in the corner (you know, by the hole in the wall). You can find another two mats on the first and second floor—but you practically have to keep them in your constant peripheral in order to snipe a spot during your workout.
Not only do we lack actual equipment, but students’ unsafe adaptations to some of the gym’s shortcomings are genuinely worrisome. Certain machines are so off-balance that students have to actively counter them with their own bodyweight—and when the machines are stacked on top of each other, they endanger any other student working out nearby. I have seen more than one girl fall from a bench when doing step-ups with a 50+ pound barbell because we don’t have the plyo boxes most gyms are equipped with. Plus, good luck doing cable flies at the one spot on the cable cross, because anything under 30 pounds causes the weights to move out of sync.
Maybe one sophomore who just really misses her gym at home isn’t the most objective perspective. However, most of my complaints are pretty resounding across campus. Don’t believe me? Here’s what other Bentley students had to say.
Improve the hours: Practically every weekend we receive an e-mail that the gym will be closed for the entirety of Saturday or Sunday; for some students—between internships and classes—losing one day to work out on the weekend is a huge deal. If you stack your classes in the morning, good luck trying to find any time to work out.
“The gym should be open past midnight, and operating even if there’s a home game.” –Courtney, Class of 2020
“I think it needs to open earlier—people who have work or 8 AMs may want to work out before going through a full day of school or work.” –Livvy, Class of 2018
A safer storage option: Every time I see a Canada Goose hanging from the coat rack, my heart dies a little on the inside. Most gyms have cubbies or unlocked lockers at the entrance—which is much more accessible than a typical locker room, but also safer than our rack where a coat goes home with the wrong person almost every other week. Plus, having a coat rack is sort of pointless when there’s only five hangers.
“It’s kind of sketchy how there are no lockers for you to put a jacket, wallet, or even your keys if you drive there like me.” –Caroline, Class of 2018
More space: Half of my cardio comes from doing laps around the gym while trying to jockey for my turn using the mats, equipment, or even just having a place to stand and lift weights. Between the students and the amount of machines crammed in on the first floor, there is hardly room to breathe, let alone exercise at a safe capacity.
“There needs to be a better space for abs, pushups, or any exercise you do on the floor—and not just one mat in the middle of everyone else working out. You shouldn’t have to walk out to the dance room just to have a place to lie down.” –Hannah, Class of 2019
“We need more mat space because football is always watching films in the dance room.” –Livvy, Class of 2018
“Don’t you just love trying to do core or weights on the mats while all of the guys standing in front of the mirror just stare at themselves?” –Erin, Class of 2019
“It would be nice to have a ladies’ room or just a separate section for us to do weights.” –Angela, Class of 2019
New equipment: Rather than having students find workarounds to faulty or missing equipment, weeding out some of the older or less-used machines would not only ensure safer workouts, but also make room for much needed updates. And no, we don’t need another treadmill.
“My favorite machine is the seated leg press, and not only is it super old, but there’s legitimately only one—so there’s always some sweaty guy on it and I never get to use it.” –Katherine, Class of 2019
“I would appreciate more gym equipment such as jump ropes, ankle straps for the cable machine, resistance bands, medicine balls, bosu balls, and more mats that actually support your back, given that the ones we have have bodies imprinted on them.” –Isabel, Class of 2018
“It’s frustrating when I’ve already waited for thirty minutes for a turn with anything that attaches to the cable cross, only to find out that there aren’t enough carbineers for me to work out.” –Kyle, Class of 2019
So, what can we do? Similarly to how the Slade Fitness Room functions, it would be a huge game-changer if we could swipe into the gym during unstaffed hours. And although finding more space is admittedly a challenge, just providing additional mats and equipment in the dance room solves the majority of our issues; it would provide comfort to female students who would like their own space, prevent dumbbells from being taken out of the main gym into the dance room, and even open up more space for workouts by having just ten students in there rather than the first floor during peak hours. The fact that I am almost willing to drive the two hours home to my Anytime Fitness points to a massive problem.
I’ll just close with this link to a set of six kettlebells for $140. I wonder if my yearly tuition could cover that…