We’ve all seen the movie in which a misfit goes to the gym’s weight room for the first time: Comical mishaps with weights and machines inevitably ensue. But these sorts of mishaps happen in real life, too, and can cause serious injuries. The gym environment can seem too intimidating for inexperienced people to ask for help or advice.
Staff and students must work together to make sure that everyone using the weight room at Lerner Health and Wellness Center is familiar with the equipment and is able to use it safely.
HellWell staff should actively advertise fitness orientations, especially for incoming freshmen. Staff should raise awareness by posting flyers in residence halls and setting up tables at Colonial inauguration about weight room orientations.
These orientations would serve as an important introduction to the specific equipment in HellWell, as well as a review of proper weightlifting techniques. By having scheduled orientations during Colonial Inauguration and Welcome Week, staff can reach students who may not be familiar with gym equipment and who don’t know how to find more information. This way, HellWell staff would minimize any feelings of embarrassment, and prevent injuries.
If a student wants to improve and learn about how to use weights, the fitness center staff does technically provide fitness orientations. However, most students probably don’t even know that’s an option. To sign up for an orientation, students have to email a staff member directly. Getting in touch with staff members by email is inconvenient, and the ability to do so is poorly marketed in the gym or on its website.
If students don’t know about those orientations, they might sign up for a personal or group training session, which can be extremely expensive. Individual sessions start at $75 each, and group sessions can cost as much as $112 per session.
While fitness center staff should do more to teach students how to use the equipment, students must also take initiative. I have seen many students come to the weight room looking extremely lost, and not ask for help. Students who want to use the weight room for the first time should consult online sources to come up with a consistent workout plan, watch videos to correct their form and reach out to friends who frequent the gym. And even though students might feel awkward about asking for help, it’s more important to be safe in the weight room than it is to avoid embarrassment.
For students who want to start weight training, the options that HellWell provides are lackluster and poorly advertised. Inexperienced students are dissuaded from asking for critical advice because asking comes with embarrassment. It is on both the students and fitness staff to make sure students learn how to train with weights safely.
Kendrick Baker, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.