The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

The student publication of Arapahoe Community College in Colorado

The Arapahoe Pinnacle

Throwback Thursday: A new year rolls in, so roll yourself to the gym

Image via Bryan Goodland
Dan Tubbesing and Chris Meyers (pictured with headphones) enjoy morning workout on the Lifefitness Treadmills at ACC’s Fitness Center.

Editor’s Note: This article originally ran Jan 13, 2003, in the Arapahoe Observer, Arapahoe Community College’s Student newspaper at the time. Some information may be outdated. 

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get in shape. Whether this means losing some weight or striving for a more athletic body, the best place to do that is in a fitness center.

The problem is how do you decide which one to choose? There are several criteria that can help you decide which center is the right fit for you.

Roland Ryan, the director for ACC’s Fitness Center has some suggestions when looking for a center and trying to decide which one will best help you achieve your goals.

According to Ryan one of the first things to look for is what time of instruction comes with the membership. Hopefully, the center provides some sort of orientation on the equipment that you will be using in order to prevent injury. Most centers provide personal training, but this is often extra and sometimes the cost makes it prohibitive.

Ryan said another point to consider is what kind of initial assessment is provided? Do they check your blood pressure, heart rate, medical history, etc.? If they don’t offer at least a basic fitness evaluation it may be time to consider another center for your exercises needs.

One of the major things to consider is what kind of contract you will be obligated to, after signing up with the center. “If they don’t offer a short term contract, like four or six months, you really have to ask why,” Ryan said. Often there is a quota that is expected to be met by those who work in the membership office, and it is their goal to sign up as many new members as they can, and also to make sure they sign long term contracts.

The enticement to commit to a longer contract is often to waive a membership fee or to offer reduced monthly fees. Read the contract and make sure that before you commit this is a place that you will be comfortable with in the long run.

If you decide on working with a personal trainer or if training is provided along with your membership, it’s important to make sure trainers are properly educated. “The minimum requirements for our fitness staff is a four year degree,” said Ryan.

Participant rides stationary bike as part of the “Aerobic Super Circut” training system utilized by ACC’s Fitness Center. (Image via Bryan Goodland)

Make sure to ask for their qualifications and understand what they mean. Ryan said that some certifications are questionable and that the

certifying body often lets students buy a preview of the test before they take it for certification. If your trainer does not have a four year degree Ryan suggests that there are a few certifications that are recognized as worthwhile.

The first is the American College of Sports Medicine, which requires a four year degree in order to be certified and the other is the National Strength and Conditioning Association which provides  rigorous testing and requires thorough exercise physiology knowledge from the people taking the test. Ryan acknowledged that there are other worthwhile certifications, but make sure you do your homework.

Ryan said there are some other things to consider when finding the center that is right for you. Look to see how many machines have out of order signs, it often is reflective of what you will find on a regular basis. Also look to see how well the center and the locker rooms are maintained. No one wants to work out in a filthy environment. What are their hours during the week and weekends? Will this fit your personal schedule? How much does membership cost? How close is the center to your home or work? Studies have shown that if it is over five miles away from either your work or home, the likelihood of you going is minimal.

One of the final considerations to make according to Ryan is, does the center match your personality? Do you like loud music and lots of lights? Or do you prefer a more subdued atmosphere where you can concentrate and relax? Often yoru first impression of a center is reliable. If you don’t like what you see go somewhere else, because there are always plenty of options in the metro Denver area. If you are interested in enrolling in the ACC Fitness Center you may contact them at 303.797.5850 for additional information.

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