Gym essentials

December 5, 2009

So you’re getting a head start on your New Year’s resolution and hitting the gym if first on the list. Before you start comparing different gyms, first you need to suit up.

Shoes

By far the most popular shoe seen in gyms is the Nike Shox, or really any Nike shoe. Another popular shoe (that I sport) is the Under Armour shoe which comes in three different shoe fits. The shoe fit is by far the most important factor when choosing a shoe because the wrong fit could end up causing you more harm than good. Another tip to keep in mind is the cost. Try not to go below $100 because then you’ll start to sacrifice the quality of the shoe. Now for those interested in cycling, you have two options: You can either use a regular cross trainer or running shoe, or you can splurge and get a cycling shoe that clamps into the shoe stirrups.

Clothes

You can wear anything to your heart’s desire. While some feel more comfortable in a free t-shirt and shorts, or a Nike jumpsuit, as long as you’re comfortable moving in them and not having to adjust, then whatever goes is fine. Just please don’t go skimpy, I’m talking to the guys too. But, if you’re a cycler, then the shorts above might be the answer for you. Anyone who has taken a cycling class can tell you how uncomfortable those seats can get, but these fantastic shorts will prevent you from ever feeling that because of the added cushion in “that” area.

Gloves

These babies are only necessary for those into weight lifting. This excludes the assisted weight machines ladies and gentlemen. You can opt out of getting these, but then you’ll risk callouses on your hands that will take forever to go away.

Bags

Bags, the things that hold it all together. Aside from school backpacks, I’ve noticed that girls tend to carry totes to gyms, like the silver one above, and guys (when they do bring bags) tend to bring the little bags, like the black Nike. But why not support UT and getting represent with their duffel bag?

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Gregory versus The Rec Center

November 24, 2009

So the great question that runs rampant throughout the UT campus is which facility should I use to workout? People have their preferences for many different reasons and whether it is location, crowdedness or just ignorance to other gyms, the Rec Sports facilities host over 90 percent of the student population — and that’s a good thing.

I asked a few people whether they preferred Gregory or the Rec Center to workout or do various activities and I also asked if they had heard about any other facilities on campus like Bellmont, Anna Hiss, etc. 

The results were somehwhat split, but a recurring theme was that many peopel preferred the Rec Center to workout because it had less people and preferred Gregory for other activities like basketball, swimming and requetball. 

Of course the Rec Center does not have any swimming facilities, but many preferred Gregory for basketball because of the greater variety of gyms and competition. And of course, as I suspected, most have never been or heard of the other smaller facilities. 

Above all, it doesn’t really matter where you workout, just get out there and get that heart racing before the holiday eating season. 

I blog about Rec Sports at UT. Let me know your favorite facility and why in the comments. 


Sokker, Fußball, Fútbol, Soka

November 23, 2009

By The Vancouver Sun

It has the greatest number and size of stadiums around the world, the number of people who wear football merchandise, number of people who are aware of football, and the number of leagues/tournaments worldwide. This makes soccer the most popular sport worldwide, more specifically in the UK, Europe, Asia and South America (America is still lagging behind in their interest with soccer). As we speak, countries are battling it out to gain a spot in FIFA’s 2010 World Cup-a championship tournament that takes place once every four years- hosted by South Africa (did you hear about the scandal between Ireland and France? Sucks for Ireland).

I was lucky enough to attend a World Cup pre-qualifier match between Jordan and S.Korea. Take a look as Korea scores their second goal.

For those not really interested in the spectator aspect of soccer, it’s also a major calorie burner for the casual player. One can burn up to 475 per hour (on a 150lb person). And if you’re looking for some cardio, look to run up 3 miles every time you wanna play a pick-up game; the average professional player runs up to 7 miles per game.

Not only do you not have to be a pro to play this game, but while you’re burning up those (holiday) calories learning to play you can also make new friends.

While it can be slim pickings in finding team to play with outside of UT, why even look? Part of UT’s IM sports includes, none other than… soccer! While it’s a bit late in the game to be signing up to play-my team is playing for championships tonight-check back at the Intramural site before Sept. 27 next year.

Since we’re on the topic of soccer, you all have probably heard about the uber aggressive female soccer player, Elizabeth Lambert. If you haven’t already seen the clip be sure to do so.

Some people believe that her actions were taken out of context while others believe that she deserves to be suspended. What do you think? Leave your comments!


Cycling for Your Life

November 23, 2009

Spending as much time as I do at the Rec Center, I have observed all activities and I have to say the most challenging and sweatiest workout is group cycling.

Its also the most popular. 

The Rec Center has the only cycling studio on campus and any student or member can participate if they purchase the group cycling pass.

ATTENTION:  CYCLING IS NOT FREE JUST BECAUSE YOU PAY TUITION.

The pass is only $40 a semester and if you purchase the combo pass that includes TexerCise classes it is only $100. 

“Cycling is just part of my weekly workouts,” JV Vong said. “Its worth the money.” 

There are 13 different cycling classes you can choose:

Group Cycling:  For all participant levels. (beginner – advanced)

Group Cycling Express:
A 45-mintute group cycling class for those on the go.

Power 40:  designed for those who are short on time but high on motivation over their lunch hour (beginner – advanced)

Endurance Ride: A 60-minute class that involves cardio challenges, hills, varying speeds and resistance, and endurance segments. (beginner – advanced)

Endurance Ride PLUS: A 90-minute class for the weekend warriors out there. 75 minutes on the bike plus a 10-minute stretching segment. This class ends with 5 minutes of pure relaxation.

Cycle 40/20/20: Great for those who are looking for a complete workout! Cycle for 40-minutes, do 20-minutes of upper body exercises, and finish with 20-minutes of core and flexibility work. (beginner – advanced)

Cycle + Abs: A 40-45-minute cycling workout followed by 15-minutes of great abdominal exercises. (beginner – advanced)

Cycle + Pilates: A great cycling workout on the bike – followed by a Pilates segment to lengthen and strengthen your entire body. No previous Pilates experience necessary. (beginner – advanced)

Cycle + Sculpt: Combine the best of both worlds and reap the benefits of a cycling class infused with sculpting and group strength exercises.

Cycle + Upper Cuts: Complete a great cycling workout and finish up with some amazing upper body exercises to tone, strengthen, and define.

Cycle + Yoga: Get a great cardio workout and follow it up with a yoga segment. The perfect combination for a complete mind/body workout! (beginner – advanced)

Hill Ride: This class will focus on hill specific movements and will challenge and improve your lower body strength and cardiovascular system. Shake up your cycling routine and try this class! (beginner – advanced)

Speed & Interval Ride: Consists of fast flats, standing and seated runs, and intervals galore! (intermediate – advanced) 

And be prepared to sweat because the classes are challenging and although it is a group class, you can set your own personal speed and rate that fits how you feel. Just remember to bring a towel and water bottle to every class and arrive at least five minutes early because they fill up fast. 

“It is the most intense workouts I have,” senior Myrna Rombado said. “Looking in the room it seems easy and basic but its not like an ordinary bike ride. The instructors are intense too.”


Inevitable Intramurals

November 16, 2009

With over 90 percent of the student body at UT participating in the Division of Recreational Sports, most have played or have known a friend that has played on an intramural sport team. Whether it is flag football, soccer, basketball or softball, they are all great ways to stay active, fit and meet some new friends along the way. 

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The program at UT started in 1916 and is one of the oldest in the nation. And forget about the IM fields, Gregory or Clark field existing. The original sports of baseball, basketball, track, handball and tennis took place in the basement of the main building and were of course strictly male. 

Of course women are now welcome to play all sports thanks to our good friend Anna Hiss , who we learned about earlier, with more than 100 team and individual events every year. 

“I started playing intramurals as a freshman and it really is resposible for some of my best memories as a student,” senior Turner Thornton said.” “I made great friends and got to keep playing sports past high school even though I’m not a student athlete.” 

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The Mecca and prize for all athletes participating in is of course an intramural championship and the iconic T-shirt that is handed out to the winners of every league. 

“We won co-ed basketball my sophomore year and it was so much fun,” senior Megan Clark said. “I still wear the shirt every-time its clean.” 

Intramural sports are also an opportunity for freshman to get involved and create memories in their first year, even if they don’t really know everyone on the team. 

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“I’m 6-foot-8 so I’ve gotten recruited by a bunch of basketball teams already,” freshman Roy Zwenermann said. “I played football earlier in the year because I knew one person on the team and they needed an extra guy, but it was great.” 

The flag football championships are finishing up right now with basketball right around the corner in the spring semester. So grab a group of friends and sign up for a team. Even if you don’t win, its a great experience at a university like UT.


I Never Knew That Was There

November 5, 2009

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For all of you thrill-seeking, ghost-loving Halloween fanatics, I know the sacred day of the dead has come and gone for another season but fear not. There is still a place on campus to get you thrills of the paranormal while also increasing the heart rate.

Its the one of the oldest buildings on campus, built in 1931 for a whopping $400,000, nestled on the edge of the Forty Acres where students can go for other activities besides lifting weights. And if you don’ mind the squeaky sounds or eerie lorckerrooms, its a magical place to dance, play basketball or even shoot in the archery range (if you are a member of the club team of course).

Just avoid in the summer. No AC in the gyms.

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Anna Hiss Gymnasium was named in 1974 after historical UT faculty member and Director of Physical Training for Women, Anna Hiss. In fact, His was in charge of planning the construction of the building and believe it or not, it was long considered model architecture throughout the nation.

The gym was originally built to meet the needs of female students and specialized in activities interesting to only women. Now, the facility has two basketball courts for patrons to play basketball, volleyball or dodgeball, two dance studios, a hallway for table tennis and an archery range.

Now I don’t want to sound like a complete loser for saying its scary, but put yourself in my shoes at 10 o’clock  at night, all alone locking up the building. The lights flicker, doors squeak and there is always the lurking thought of the demolished natatorium and filled in swimming pool.

Besides that it is a great place to shoot some hoops if you feel subpar at Gregory or the Rec Center. And the archery range in the lower floor always leaves the imagination wandering to a possible attack from deranged archers. Of course this will never happen, but what if?

So if you are brave enough and fit enough to walk out to almost Dean Keaton and Speedway, stop by Anna Hiss for a look into UT’s history and a quick game of basketball.

Just don’t go downstairs.

I am writing about UT Rec Sports


Beyond Bellmont

November 3, 2009

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Besides classrooms, offices and the majority of Longhorn athletes strutting the floors, Bellmont Hall has a variety of Recreational Sports facilities for community members and students to use. In case you find Gregory too touristy or the Recreational Sports Center too crowded with freshmen or girls desperatley trying to get fit before the holidays or Spring Break, take advantage of one of the most exclusive workout facilities on campus.

Bellmont is located in the football stadium on San Jacinto Boulevard across from the Alumni Center. Walk up the steps through the glass doors and take the elevator to the third floor. If you manage to get on the elevator the first time, walk out of the elevator, make a right and walk down the freshly-painted hallway till you run into the glory of Rec Sports, Bellmont 348.

I’ll be honest, the weight room is old and populated mostly by retired faculty and elderly professors or community members, but let me assure you, the equipment is quality and there is literally a total of four people in the weight room at any given time.

The exclusivity of the facility is one of the biggest appeals and the majority of students are totally naive to its presence.

“No one knows about this place so you literally have a private gym,” Texas Exe member Nick Christenson said. “It’s old and not as flashy as the other gyms but perfect for what I want to do.”

With four cardio machines and a complete set of dumbbells, Rec Sports is also in charge of two other floors inside Bellmont. Along with the weight room, there is a fencing room on the third floor and the fifth floor has two rooms where patrons can dance or even play badminton. The ninth floor also has squash courts and a martial arts room.

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So if you don’t mind green painted walls, bright fluorescent lights or the occasional encounter with a naked elderly patron in the locker-room, give Bellmont a try. You may not have the luxury of watching attractive patrons of the opposite sex flexing their muscles, but you do have the privacy that many people feel no longer exists in public gyms.

You can also get personal training sessions at Bellmont if you prefer it to the other gyms on campus. The hours for Bellmont are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

You can take a virtual tour here