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By Jordan Stone

When the calendar changes from one year to the next, optimism and motivation grows. Optimism turns to goals, those goals to resolutions and those resolutions often begin in a gym.

But the fear that the gym can elicit in people can derail resolutions before they even get started.

At least that appears to be the case for Western students.

“I felt super intimidated by everyone there,” Taylor McPherson, a Western student who is just starting out in the gym, said. “I felt like all of the people that go there are super fit and look like they go there all the time.”

Wade King Student Recreation Center is the home to Western’s exercise facilities for the student body. These facilities see a marked increase in attendance during the month of January, according to rec center student employee Caroline Schmidt.

“Definitely there’s more people,” Schmidt, who is a personal trainer among other duties at the facility, said. Schmidt added that New Year’s resolutions means there just seems to be more people around the gym, giving it a try.

While people flood the gym during January, the amount that stick with it throughout the year is significantly lower. “Quitters Day” was coined by Strava, a social networking service for fitness, as the day where most people decide to give up their fitness resolutions.

The rec center offers several programs and classes to encourage students to get into the building — and avoid being victims of “Quitters Day.” One such program is called First Step.

Schmidt describes First Step as a free program for students where they can work with a personal trainer and figure out what their fitness goals are and how the rec center can help achieve them. There is an online questionnaire that acts as a sign-up sheet on the rec center’s website.

Another program the rec center offers is Demo Week, when students can try out the classes they offer for free. Those classes include Zumba, spin class, yoga, self-defense and many more, Schmidt said.

Due to the snow, Demo Week was rescheduled for the week beginning Jan. 20 this quarter. After demo week, students can pay $45 for the X-Pass, which allows unlimited access to the fitness classes that quarter.

However, the programs the rec center offers aren’t the only way to stick with resolutions and overcome intimidation. Just stepping into the building is the biggest hurdle, Schmidt said.

“Once you’re inside, it’s a little less intimidating than it might seem from the outside,” she said.

Western student Sarah Loegering, an avid user of the rec center, employed a different strategy to commit herself to the gym.

“I just felt like I didn’t have to be the best or the most fit person in the room,” she said. “I’m doing this for myself.”

Loegering recommends just getting to the gym and trying different things out until you find what you like.

McPherson said everyone has to start somewhere and to work through the intimidation.

The best way is to grab a buddy to hold you accountable and give it a try, Schmidt said.

No matter if you are just starting out or have been going to the gym your entire life, January is a month of change and growth, especially inside the rec center.


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