Working Out on Campus

One of the questions people have been asking me a lot (other than “why?”) since I started my fitness project is how I like using UMKC’s campus recreation center to work out. Often, the implication is that it is not a good place for UMKC staff and faculty to work out — the main assumption being that working out with students is somehow problematic. I have to say, though, that I love working out at Swinney — and here’s why:

  • Convenience. If I want to take a lunchtime class or just work out, I can do so and only be out of the office for a little over an hour (assuming I’m taking one of the 30-minute classes or doing a short workout) because I don’t have to drive anywhere. I just grab my bag and walk over from my building (which gives me the added bonus of a few steps towards my 10,000/day goal). If I went to an off-campus location, I couldn’t do lunchtime classes or workouts as I would have to add in driving/parking time. This has turned out to be key to my success at sticking with a program this time around as I absolutely HATE going to the gym in the morning and am also not hugely keen on the post-work gym visit. But lunchtime works well for me.
  • Cost. As an employee of UMKC, my membership is $20 per month. Yes, TWENTY dollars. Sure, I pay extra for classes and training, but it’s still the best deal in town, hands down. Rates for alumni and community members are also very reasonable. You can check out their pricing here.
  • Community. This has turned out to be the best, and most unexpected benefit, of working out at Swinney. Because I knew I would do better with some accountability built into my routine, I signed up for classes, talked some of my friends and my husband into doing so also, and got a trainer. I now have a host of workout buddies and have also gotten to know some folks better. Additionally, I have developed a rapport with many of the employees at Swinney — sure, I knew them before, but now I see them much more often and take the time for a chat when I come in. A lot of my other colleagues also work out at Swinney so I see them in the fitness center or locker room and get to catch up with them. Without the time at the gym, I wouldn’t see many of these people — so I am not just taking care of myself physically, but am also building better relationships through my time at the gym, which benefits me both personally and professionally. I truly was not expecting that, but would argue that it’s the second important thing to come out of this — after decreasing my body fat percentage.

“But,” I hear some of you saying, “what about the students? I don’t want to see my students in the gym.” I have to say this has been a non-issue (such a non-issue, in fact, that I am befuddled when folks ask me about it). Yes, I do see students in the gym — some of them I know and some I don’t. Some who are in my classes, some who are not. If I know them, we’ll greet each other (assuming they recognize me — I look different in gym clothes with my hair pulled back apparently) and then we move on to doing what we are there for — working out. In other words, if you are avoiding using your campus gym because you’re worried about running into students, in my experience that is a non-issue and the benefits far make up for any awkwardness. I should note that I say this with one big caveat — which is that at Swinney, we have separate locker rooms for students and faculty/staff/community. I would feel much differently about working out on campus if I had to share a locker room with students.

Bod Pod @ Swinney Recreation Center

Bod Pod @ Swinney Recreation Center

And remember: If you’re at UMKC or in the KC metro area, and want to get an initial assessment to help determine your baseline and goals, you can get a free Bod Pod before December 31 by calling the Wellness Coordinator at  816-235-5425 to make your appointment. Tell her Brenda sent you!

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