The quintessential gym rat

One of the great things about being a college student, especially at the University of Florida, is the fact that you have free access to the gym. Once you graduate, you have to pay for a gym membership and then each special ‘class’ you want to take incurs another fee. So while you’re here, it’s best to take advantage.

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Many people don’t like going to the gym, either because it’s far away, they feel intimidated or maybe they just don’t like being indoors to exercise. But there are many reasons why the gym is a great tool to use on your way to having that beautiful body. The different machines give you a chance to work out different muscles that are much harder to exercise without the proper equipment. Most gyms have a weight room so you don’t have to buy a set of weights. They also offer classes taught by fitness instructors in several specific areas, like yoga, pilates or spinning. It is also nice to feel a sense of camaraderie. All the other people in the room are there for different reasons, but you all have the same goal in mind: to get in shape.

When you go the gym, it’s best to take advantage of the materials there that you cannot easily acquire outside. The elliptical, stair climber and rowing machine are great examples of this. Unless you want to run up and down the stairs in your dorm or apartment or join a rowing team, you are not going to work out those muscles as often as you should. Using the weights available to you is also a great idea. Almost any exercise can be taken to the next level by adding five pound weights in each hand.  You can also use an exercise ball for abdominal workouts.

Between the two gyms at UF, there are indoor basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, and a track. If you want to work on cardio and are not really interested in running or using the machines, you can always start a pick-up game. There are a lot of people around to entice, and it is a great way to make friends. Chances are you will play for longer if you’re not in 90-degree heat (like Gainesville).

Last but certainly not least are the clubs and classes available to those who have access to the gym. You can sign up online for free to take a number of classes like zumba, yoga and spinning. This is a great option if you like having an instructor tell you exactly what to do and how to do it or if you like working in small groups of about 20 people. Joining a club is similar except that they usually meet regularly. There are many options, including tae kwon do, fencing and kickboxing. If you wanted to attend these classes outside the gym, it would cost you.

In the end, it’s up to you to make the decision where you want to work out. Be it in the gym, outside or in your own home, it’s important that you continue to exercise. But I do suggest that you try the gym before you turn it down. Otherwise, you’ll never know. Of course, there’s no time like the present!