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“Gymtimidation”? Here’s My Guide To Working Out Comfortably At The UConn Rec Center

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

UConn’s Student Recreation Center has been a buzzing hub for students ever since its opening in 2019. As intimidating as it sounds, the 191,000 square feet facility occupies students to its fullest potential every day until it closes at 10:00 p.m. As beautiful as it is on the outside, the jungle of people inside is inevitable at its peak hour. Now I know this might sound scary, but there are so many ways to workout at the Rec without feeling overwhelmed by the crowded sea of students. I’ve curated some of my favorite ways to workout at the Rec, without feeling intimidated by others around me. Let’s take a look at some of the ways I conquered my “gymtimidation” at the SRC.


Going to the gym alone can be quite scary, especially if you have never been to the rec. My first time going to the Rec, I was struggling to find my way through different machines, finding the elevator to get to other floors — I even struggled looking for the bathroom! Luckily, I had my awesome friends come with me the next few times around, and it definitely relieved so much of the stress I felt when going alone. Having a gym buddy didn’t only help relieve my anxiety to get around the gym, but it also made me better at my workouts too. It feels like a tremendous sense of relief knowing that someone is not only there to encourage and push you to do better, but is also there to help find your way.


If you’re like me, you’ll know that working out in front of others can feel a little daunting at times. I’ve learned that finding my own little nook to exercise has made me feel so much more comfortable than using areas that are full of people. Thankfully, the SRC has some great spots where you can do your own workouts at your own pace without feeling rushed or intimidated. The second floor in particular has one of my favorite spots — a small area of artificial grass that overlooks Hillside Road and has a phenomenal view of Gampel Pavilion, the Bookstore, and the Student Union. There are so many other small corners of the SRC that can fit your comfort level to work out, it’s all a matter of experimenting to find your favorite spot! 


The SRC may be big, but finding staff around the building is one thing you won’t have to worry about. As you walk in, you are greeted by the front desk workers who make sure that your membership is active, and are readily prepared to answer any questions you have. There are also many staff members who walk around making sure that everything is cleaned and wiped down, so don’t be afraid to ask them anything as well! In the event that you have questions about any SRC activities, resources can also be found on their website at recreation.uconn.edu, so you never miss out on any information that the Rec posts! 


You don’t have to be a gym expert to attend any gym, and you most certainly don’t have to have a set routine to have an efficient workout! Thankfully, SRC offers so many different areas with machines for students to work out and experiment with. One of my favorite features about the workout machines at SRC is that it comes with the name of the machine and instructions on how to use it. My first time using some of the machines I use in my everyday workout routine was at the Rec, and I couldn’t be more grateful that it came with the steps on how to use it, and what areas of my body I was training. There are also other things that the Rec offers to students that are easy to experiment with. My favorite is the cycling machine, which has a screen that projects your cycling movement as if you were actually biking in the mountains or on actual roads! 


Fortunately, the SRC is one of many places here at UConn that offers so many fun activities for students who want to participate. From yoga and cycling classes to swimming and rock-wall climbing, the Rec offers many alternatives to just using machines and doing your average workout. Working out doesn’t have to feel dreadful, especially at such a large gym. I can guarantee that you and your friends will find something fun to do while also staying active! Make sure to look on the SRC site and all their socials for any activities that may interest you throughout the year.


My experience using the Rec Center for the first time was rough, but it didn’t have to be. With the steps I’ve shared, I learned that navigating my way around the Rec Center has taught me to navigate my way around other unfamiliar gyms. Now, I feel that the Rec is just another gym that I can workout at without feeling overwhelmed… and so can you! “Gymtimidation” is a thing, but conquering it just takes a little experimenting and motivation to help push through! 

Jayra Cruz

U Conn '24

Jayra is a fourth year student at the University of Connecticut, and is studying as a Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) major. She hopes to one day become a psychotherapist or a social worker. Besides writing on Her Campus, you can find Jayra hanging out with friends, listening to music, or spending time with her family.