Stay fit despite the crummy weight room

I am not an athletic person. Unlike those with the dedication and drive to go to the gym every day, I do not have muscles on my muscles. In fact, I do not have much in the way of muscles at all. This is something that I would like to change. But how do you get fit when the arduous school schedule means the most working out I do is walking up the stairs in the Fir building?

Let’s begin with the Sportsplex. For those of you who tend to ignore such things, it’s located across the parking lot from the Birch Building. There, in the light of soaring skylights and in between the fake plants, you can find the backbone of Capilano University’s sports facilities: a multi-purpose gym for basketball and volleyball. On some days, there are even ping-pong tables available for student use, provided you have a student card to check out a ball and paddle.
There is also a facility that the administration calls a “weight room.” In all honesty, my high school weight room was nicer and better equipped during our seismic upgrading renovations, when it was located in a ply-wood room in the middle of the cafeteria.

One thing the gym lacks most is windows. There’s never a guarantee eye candy will be working out every time I go there, so I am left wondering what I should stare at while I pretend to row on our solitary ergometer. I think I would prefer biking in the rain to staring at some guy flex his hairy arms but, hey, the saunas sound nice. And they’re free.

If you prefer a little instruction, there are two yoga classes offered at the Sportsplex multipurpose room. The first is Intro to Therapeutic Yoga and the other is called Hatha Yoga for Students.

More information on both can be found in those little blue pamphlets at the Sportsplex or by talking to either Deanno Opperman or Tom Smith. They are the two legendary facility attendants who you will see when signing into the weight room, asking questions, or inquiring about getting some ping-pong balls.

Still not your thing? I spoke to Sally St. Quentin, a receptionist in the film building, who recommended some walking trails near campus. Sally seemed surprised that I came to talk to her about fitness, because all she does is go walking at lunch hour. Still, she was a wealth of information on nearby trails. Two she recommends include one that begins above the cemetery and heads up towards the Bayden Powell Trail and Rice Lake, and another that starts near the Equestrian center and follows Lynn Creek to Lynn Canyon.

Another option comes from the Human Resources center where Lorraine Douville has been running a mountain climbing program, all by simply taking the stairs.

Douville explains, “Grouse is 155 stories tall, Seymour is 191, and Whistler mountain is 286.” That is a lot of stairs, but as Lorraine explains “it doesn't have to be all at once.” Just add a little more each day, and you're on your way to the peaks.

Staff members Dr. Jackie Snodgrass and Dr. Robert Campbell have even set their ambitions on climbing the stair equivalent of Mount Everest.

One new opportunity for student fitness has become available as the Cap Sun Run team, usually made up of COPE union members and employees of the university, is trying to include more students. “Last year we didn't have many students,” says Douville. “We're hoping to get everybody together this year.”

The team will be using the official Sun Run training schedules to work from whatever participants’ current level with the ultimate goal of running on walking the 10 km Sun Run in April. The team uses email to work together to schedule practice runs in small groups or as a team. Trust me, this support will be a tremendous boost to your training regime.

There is also, of course, the tired old option of biking to school instead of taking a car or the bus, but instead of going to those extremes, I think I'll try those walks, keep climbing the stairs and maybe see if I can't learn to enjoy the weight room, even if it doesn’t have a view.

//Yette Gram

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