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Record attendance pushes FitRec to the limit

FitRec in the Beaman Student Life Center. Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision
FitRec in the Beaman Student Life Center. Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision

Students looking to get into the FitRec may need to wait longer than usual for their workout fix, due to an increase in gym traffic.

Belmont’s Fitness and Recreation Center has logged a larger number of students in the Beaman gym this semester which has led to a significant amount of overcrowding.

In the fall of 2021, there were approximately 464 visits from freshman in the first week. In the fall semester of 2022, there were 2,121 visits from freshman in the first week, a 357% increase in usage by first-year students. There has been a significant decrease in sophomore, junior and senior usage this fall, according to FitRec data.

The current capacity of the Beaman gym recently increased to 55 people at a time, but a few times this semester, the numbers almost went over the set limit.

“We have a capacity and when we reach it, we tell them they need to wait until people leave for them to come in there,” Director of Campus Fitness and Recreation Jaime Zeller said. “We’ve been close to getting to it several times this semester. When we get close to that, what we ask our staff to do is that if there are people in the open space using some of that equipment that can potentially go to the rec gym to be used or the group fitness room, we’ll ask them to relocate or take the equipment out of the weight room and go use it somewhere else so we can have more people come in.”

The most crowded times of the day at the gym are at 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. on the weekdays.

“We try to encourage students to understand that there are certain parts of the day that are just going to be busier than others,” Zeller said. “If you are choosing to work out during that time, you need to understand that you are going to be doing it with 60 of your closest friends as well.”

Some students have had to wait for machines or benches for only a few minutes while others have waited for more than 10 minutes.

“I go to the gym six times a week and usually wait about seven minutes for a squat rack and five minutes for a bench on normal days,” freshman Anna Hatala said.

To ease the overload, the FitRec increased the hours in the Beaman gym and will be increasing the hours in the new Caldwell gym in October as more staff get hired.

“I would encourage people to utilize Caldwell when they can as well, it is a wonderful space. It is not fully complete yet; we still have some equipment that is coming in that will be here next month, but it is wonderful,” Zeller said. “If people haven’t seen it, it is a really nice space and the people that have been in it have loved it.”

In March of 2022, FitRec was redesigned to make space for more students and decrease the amount of overcrowding.

The FitRec has an app that updates users on the capacity of the gym every 30 minutes and encourages students to utilize it to find the right time to go to the gym.

This story was written by Cat Da Rocha

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