Gym Ratz: students on the grind in the new fitness center

Isabella Zhang, Staff Writer

The new fitness center attracts many students from different athletic backgrounds, some of whom love the facility and others who advocate for further changes.

“The fitness center is set up in a way that everyone can come in and have fun. It is filled with functional machines that you can incorporate into your workout,” Fitness Center Director Kevin Valluzzi said.

Many students, including athletes, bodybuilders, and dancers work out at the new fitness center on a daily basis, Jack Blackman (11)  said.  He has met so many new people that he would not normally interact with, he said.

Mikayla Benson (10), who is a dancer, uses the spin studio everyday for her workout. Since her workout does not require heavy lifting, she loves the huge space upstairs that allows her to stretch, work out, and spin, she said.

“I do the Tracy Anderson Method, which targets small muscle groups so that my body does not bulk up,” said Benson. “Because of the unique nature of this workout I really appreciate the privacy upstairs,” he said.

She also spins twice a week, and the spin bikes allow her to watch Netflix, and send voice text messages while working out, she said.

Similarly, Joshua Benson (12) works out at the center five days a week. He started out the summer of sophomore year just because his friends were working out, but as time went on he grew to love working out, and is planning on competing by the winter, Benson said.

“I do this because it makes me a lot happier, a lot more comfortable with my body and myself,” Benson said.

Many students athletes also work out everyday to get in shape for the upcoming seasons.

“The girls track country team uses the treadmills in the fitness center while it is raining outside,” Euwan Kim (11) said. Last year, Kim trained in the old gym for her half marathons and now that the treadmills are new and improved, she hopes to further increase her distance.

“With these amazing equipments I think I can definitely do it,” Kim said.

As a wrestler, Rhys Shepherd (10) is lifting weights often and trying to gain weight before the season, Shepherd said.

Kyle Gaillard (12) is also training for basketball this winter, he said.  “My favorite exercise is the box jump, because it is really fun and at the same time helps me in basketball. I can get the rebound more often if I keep practicing,” Gaillard said.

However, not all comments about the gym were positive.

“Although the gym now has more room, more natural light, and air conditioning, it lacks the the necessary equipment it had before,” Philip Shen (12) said.

David Shen (12) said that he and his brother are unable to perform two important lifts, back squatting and barbell bench press, and were forced to sign up at a local gym near their house.

“Most of the essential free weight equipment that many lifters like me used on a daily basis such as the bench, squat racks, decline bench, incline bench, cable machine, and lat pulldown are either not here yet or not going to arrive at all, and we now have a jungle gym instead,” Shen said.

In addition, there is no stereo system or water in the gym, Shen said.

“The gym obviously can be improved on more but the school is taking a step in the right direction,” Natalia Mason (10) said.

Valluzzi encourages everyone to come  into the fitness center and just sample everything. He loves when students are not intimidated and ask questions. “Everyone is focused on their own work, and no one will judge you,” he said.

“A balance between mind and body can be very important,” said Mikayla Benson, “and this new gym is a great way to relax your mind and train your body.”