Escape Fitness has refit one of the Wellness Center’s racquetball rooms as a functional training space. New boot camp classes in the space started last week.
Steve Mayer, the director of the Wellness Center, said that the feedback has been positive, and the change came out of looking at the growth in popularity for functional training and looking at how to best utilize the space.
“We were sitting here looking at our two racquetball courts, knowing that we’re not getting a ton of usage and we have 800 square feet of unused space in one room and 800 square feet of unused space in the other room,” he said.
Around the same time the Wellness Center staff was exploring ways to use the unused space, they saw an Escape Fitness display, where they were refitting racquetball rooms with “rigs” at a conference. Mayer said many other universities across the country have converted their racquetball rooms to functional training spaces as well.
The space is open for anyone to use, with only eight hours of scheduled class time a week. The classes are functional training boot camps. Mayer said the current boot camps will be different than past classes, where attendees had to go to the same class at the same times every week.
The current system runs off of a punch pass. Students and community members can buy a punch pass and then go to the classes that work best for their schedule that week.
“With this one, we wanted to give people flexibility,” he said. “So you now buy a punch pass, whether you’re a student or community member, and you can get 3, 5, 15, 30… and then you can choose which ones you want to go to based on your schedule.”
Personal trainer and boot camp instructor, Dottie Kerkman said the new space offers a lot to Wellness Center users.
“It gives (users) a high-intensity interval work out without having to do it by themselves,” she said. “So they have the team comradery and you have someone running it for you and the 45 minutes just goes in a heartbeat.”
She said the new space has a lot to offer.
“I love this because it has a lot of unique equipment that you can’t just get out on the gym floor, and the way we have it set up it just has a nice flow to the circuit,” she said.
Mayer said they are trying to keep classes to a minimum so students can use the space as much as possible.
“Besides those eight classes, really anyone can go in there. We didn’t want to bog it down with a lot of classes or make it like a studio, obviously but we wanted to have these boot camps also,” Mayer said.
In addition to adding variety to classes, Mayer said the equipment gives students more desirable exercise options.
“There are a lot of students that grew up with athletics in high school but don’t do athletics in college, but they still want to train like they did in high school,” he said.
The funding for the new equipment came out of General Activity and Wellness Center funds.
“I’d say 80 percent of the funding came from a GAF pool, and some of the other funding for things like the flooring… that can be paid for out of a different account because it is considered part of the building,” Mayer said.