DUELING OPINION | Off-campus gyms are a relaxing, competition-free environment

The beginning of the school year is a good time to start establishing healthier habits. While a lot of us, myself included, have difficulty sticking to a workout regimen as the year goes on, it will always be worthwhile to get whatever exercise you can to help cope with your stress and stay in shape.

Going to the gym regularly is one of the most reliable ways to get a consistent workout, and a lot goes into choosing one that will meet your individual needs. While we have the Gallogly Recreation Center here on campus that offers facility passes, I prefer to go to the gym off-campus because it gives me a mental break from school and enables me to focus on my workout without feeling self-conscious.

As a disclaimer, I am a Colorado Springs native, and it makes sense for me to have a membership that does not need to be connected to UCCS. Since I live here year-round, I can go to the same gym without any changes in price or hours based on the school year.

I am also not the most social butterfly in the pavilion, and I prefer to pop my earbuds in when I work out so I can get into my own headspace and take care of myself without feeling like I need to keep up with anyone else.

As someone who prefers to exercise solo instead of in a larger group, using a gym away from school to find my zone gives me a chance to distance myself from a lot of the things that are causing me stress.

Using a gym on campus means potentially running into people that are in your classes or dorms. If you want to cultivate a sense of community when you go to the gym, this can be a huge benefit. On the other hand, it can be tempting to compare yourself to the people around you based on how many pounds they lift, miles they run or reps they repeat.

I am not the kind of person who wants an element of competition when I exercise. If you go to the gym to maintain a healthier lifestyle instead of more specific workout training, leaving the area that contains all your social circles makes for a freer and more relaxing environment.

There is also a smaller sense of community that comes from interacting with staff and other regulars at an off-campus gym, with the understanding being that most people there are from different walks of life and want to mind their own business.

The employees at the off-campus gyms I have been to are friendly and helpful, and in my experience, the people around me tend to respect the social contract of wiping off the equipment when finished. I have never felt unsafe or unsupported when I go to an off-campus gym.

That being said, the UCCS Rec Center gives facility passes starting at $5 for students with student IDs along with additional memberships as detailed on their website, and it is convenient to have an easily accessible gym right on campus. A non-affiliated gym would mean paying a different membership fee and rate, which is more money on top of UCCS fees.

For someone who would be out of the city for a decent portion of the year, it might not make sense to pay a monthly membership when we have a gym this close that offers passes as needed. It all comes down to what is most important to an individual student wanting to get in shape.

For me, it’s worthwhile to take off and get my reps in by myself so that working out stops falling under the umbrella of school. We all need a break, and exercising is a fantastic opportunity to take it.

Photo courtesy of planetfitness.com.