A wise man once said, “college is the best time of your life. When else are your parents going to spend several thousand dollars a year just for you to go to a strange town and get drunk every night?” There is much truth to this statement, but I think the wise man leaves out one very important college aspect – well actually two, there is that whole getting an education thing to prevent you from living in a box.
When one enrolls in a college they are not only signing up for a multitude of classes, a mediocre meal plan, an abundance of friendships and a series of awkward interactions but they are also given the ultimate gym membership. The gym in a university setting is the equivalent to the playground in an elementary school. I am really quite convinced that my attention span is not much better than it was in second grade, so after an hour and 15 minute class I am literally doing the “I need to go run around dance” or at least the “I-gotta-pee dance”. College students long for the time when they can release all that pent-up energy required for focusing on school work. Relief comes in the form of running, lifting and climbing for as long as they so desire. You will not believe the tiny little girls that go to the gym and run 20 miles like it is their job. And let’s face it, that the gym is a forum for college students to check-out their crushes sporting shorts and tank-tops in the middle of winter with a sexy sweaty glow – or that not so sexy tomato-faced look.
When it comes to the gym there are three types of people who frequent it. There are the people who make themselves go a few times a week because they feel bad about eating all that chocolate and they want to be able to wear their skinny jeans on saturday night without having to worry about a “muffin top”.
There are those who go so far as to put their workout clothes on, but then end up just sitting and watching “I Love the ’80s 3D” for four hours because you never know when it will be on again. And then there are the obsessed. These are the people who view the gym as their mecca. They are always there, appear to have already been there for hours and are still running hard when you step off the treadmill, making you the loser of the “who is in better shape race.”
“Yeah, there are definitely those people that come in everyday for almost two hours,” Goergen Gym Fitness Center staff member and junior Emily Lyons said.
Often, these people will work out until the brink of exhaustion but Lyons feels “they know what they are doing.”
“If I don’t go to the gym I feel like a lump,” junior Julia Meyer said.
She estimates she goes to the gym about five to six times a week. After being on the crew team in high school, Meyer feels the need everyday to go work out in an attempt to prevent the “lumpiness” feeling.
Of course, we know that exercise is essential for preserving the health of the human body – and looking good in a thong – however, it is often during college that in conjunction with the stress of work and easy gym access, exercise turns from a hobby into an addiction.
According to a recent study at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, symptoms that show exercise addiction are very common among college-aged students and even more so in college-aged women. Exercise dependency is considered to be just as serious and detrimental as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
However, going to work out is much more socially acceptable then having to go vomit, so people are able to get away with excessive exercise. People who become addicted to exercise will develop an overwhelming guilt complex and will not be able to sleep, eat or engage in any social activities until they gone to the gym.
Junior Raquella Hess observed this behavior in her freshman year roommate who went from being a few-times-a-week-gym-goer to a person who went to the gym two or three times a day.
“She admitted she was addicted to the endorphins she got from working out.”
There are people who go to the gym purely to be social.
“They basically just come to hang out,” Lyons said.
As we all know, how many weights you can lift can really tell you a lot about the soul of a person.
So, if you are a regular gym goer, remember that 40 minutes to an hour of cardiovascular activity five times a week is the ideal amount of exercise for a typical college student.
Also, remember you will never look as good as Madonna, no matter how hard you try because she does Yoga all day, only eats macrobiotic foods and has those Kabbalah gods on her side.
Lepore can be reached at email@example.com.