These days, working out in public is akin to speaking in public. Both can be terrifying if caught unprepared or out-of-shape.
Unless you are one of the few individuals who won the genetic lottery or have the self-efficacy to a follow a strict workout routine, this fear might already be lurking within.
Not everyone has the time or desire to work out on a daily basis, so it can be an alienating experience when one begins to exercise at the gym.
When I first fearfully stepped in to the new Student Recreational Center and saw the enormous rock climbing wall looming by the entrance, I felt I had entered a small steel city within CSUN.
“The whole place is amazing,” says Pejum Adeli, an accounting major who was also working out at the SRC for the first time. “Everything is new and the area is convenient for students.”
From the three floors full of workout equipment to the helpful staff workers who found my lost gym bag one night, the SRC has exceeded all of my expectations.
For the following five days that I worked out at the gym, I divided my time between rumba classes at noon, running a few miles in the indoor track and attempting to lift weights.
The rumba classes, led by the instructor Isabel in one of the Motivation Studios, were tiring and entertaining. It was a liberating experience that never turned embarrassing even though I was part of the male minority in the class.
One room that has become a quick favorite of mine is the Total Training Zone, located on the first floor of the SRC.
A large room with wall-to-wall mirrors and sprawling with treadmills and strength-training equipment, the room does (thankfully) miss one detail that thousands of other gyms in the United States have—a funky smell.
At the topmost floor lies the indoor track, a large circular path that offers students the option to run in a comfortable environment regardless of weather outside.
The fact that it is carpeted certainly aids the runner attempting to add an extra mile to their run.
But there are downsides to the SRC that might stop an aspiring fitness guru in their tracks.
The SRC requires all registered members to input their nine digit student ID number and have their right hand scanned in order to gain entry. The process, promoted on the opening day as a modern and time-saving check-in system, tends to create a long line of students that extends to the outside.
“I lost my reservation at the racquetball court after waiting in line for nearly 30 minutes,” said Julie Guillen, a liberal studies major who works out a few times a week.
Jennifer Sierra, Guillen’s friend and a computer engineering major, remarked on how time consuming lines can be especially if one exercises between classes.
Another downside to attending the SRC if unprepared is the lack of locks for the lockers. During all my sessions, I never managed to get a lock because they had always been checked out by others.
By the large number of people eagerly waiting to get inside, one can’t help but think of the SRC as a nightclub that offers its minor share of problems if caught unprepared but is still completely worth the wait.