Addressing the gym dilemma

Cassidy Fuller

There are many amazing aspects to going to a small school like Washington and Lee. We have small classes sizes, a small student body and a small campus. Unfortunately there are also downsides, including smaller facilities, such as our own very small Doremus-Warner gym.

Between classes, studying, meals, sleep and parties, it’s strange to imagine that we still have a fairly active campus. At almost any time of the day you can find a large group of students in the gym together, whether it’s for gym class such as weight training, a sports team lift, or people just working out on their own.

Although the gym does have quality equipment that fits almost any workout, it fails to have enough space to accommodate the amount of people that workout–especially at “rush hours” such as 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

The reason these hours are the busiest is because they are the most convenient times for most people to go to the gym, either as a way to start or end the school day.

As someone who lifts for a sports team, I have around 45 minutes to complete my lift before I have to go do my swim workout. If I get to the gym and even one other team is also there, I know that I will not be able to do my entire workout that day.

There are a limited number of squat and bench press stations and since they are among the most used equipment, it can be nearly impossible to find a vacant machine during team lifts.

For my friends that aren’t on an athletic team, the presence of that many athletes in the gym at one time intimidates them into not even using the free weights section.

During the first and last months of school the weather is nice enough that going for a run outside instead of on a treadmill is always an option for non-athletes. Unfortunately, around this time of the year, the temperature begins to drop and an outside workout is no longer a valid option for some.

Students can choose to workout when the gym is uncrowded at inconvenient times, sacrifice aspects of their workout or skip going to the the gym altogether.

While missing a workout every now and again due to an overcrowded gym won’t have a detrimental effect on your health, continually skipping might. Working out daily is not only a great way for students to stay in shape, but also to relieve stress.

Working out releases endorphins and provides amazing post-workout highs. It is unfair that students have to compromise these workout benefits because the gym does not have enough space for them.

Fortunately, there is some hope on the horizon for the overcrowded gyms. Plans for the Doremus-Warner Athletics Center renovations will begin after the construction of the natatorium is finished.

According to the Washington and Lee website, the gym will be “completely renovated,” in addition to being fully air-conditioned.

Hopefully these renovations will include expanding the gym space since the old Cy Twombly Pool will be transformed for “other uses.” A newly renovated and expanded gym should be designed to fit everyone’s workout needs, not just athletes.