Diary Of A Fit Patriot: Getting Started

Posted: January 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

By: Alison M. Hall, MS, CPTUntitled 2

You made the decision to start at the gym. Congratulations! Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. I know from experience it can be hard to get started. Even if you’ve been a gym rat for years, a new facility has new procedures, equipment, and rules. Here’s what you need to know to get started with Mason Rec.

ID: You need your Mason ID every time you come. Swipe in at the front desk. Look around the desk when you’re there—you’ll find signs indicating any adjusted hours, closed areas, and special events.

Gym Bag: Where does it go? The best place is securely locked in a locker. All of our facilities have locker rooms, but you must bring your own lock. There also are cubbies in the facilities, including in the group exercise room, but you leave items there at your own risk. For safety reasons, you cannot bring bags out on the fitness floor. That means no bags next to you on the treadmill, weight machines, or anywhere else on the floor.

Locker Rooms: In addition to lockers, we have showers (with liquid soap) in the locker rooms at the AFC and RAC, but not Skyline. We do not have any other toiletries besides the shower soap. We do have wall-mounted hairdryers, or you can bring your own. Towels are available to rent for $1 at the RAC and AFC.

Attire: We want you to be comfortable, but we have guidelines to help create a safe and welcoming fitness environment. The complete guidelines are posted in the facilities and online. To highlight, you must wear a full-length shirt, athletic pants or shorts, and athletic non-marking shoes.  So you can wear your high school gym uniform if you haven’t cut it to shreds yet. You can wear your fancy brand Brazilian supplex outfit with matching shoes and headband. You can wear anything in between as long as it meets our guidelines.

Group Fitness Classes: Yes, we have them, and yes, many of them are free for full-time students and Mason Recreation members. Did you see that? FREE! Green Access classes, which include all Group Exercise and Indoor Cycling classes, are free. Gold Access classes, which includes Yoga, Pilates, Martial Arts, and Self Defense, cost a little extra. It’s not much, and you can save with early bird pricing at the beginning of each semester. If you are interested in trying out our Gold Access classes then take advantage of our “Free Weeks” of classes. This occurs during the first and second week of the semester. During that time, Gold Access is open to all facility members. For all classes, stop by the front desk and get a numbered pass for the class. You can do this as much as an hour before the class. When you get to the room, hand the pass to the Fitness Attendant at the door or the instructor if no attendant is on duty. It’s that easy! All levels are encouraged at all classes. If you are new to a format, tell the instructor. They are there to help you. Please try to be on time for classes—doors close 10 minutes after class starts.

The Fitness Floor: I mentioned “The Fitness Floor” earlier, but what is it? Basically everywhere you see cardio or strength equipment. Each facility has an area with a variety of cardio equipment, strength machines, free weights, mats, bands, etc. If you’re not sure how to use a machine, ask the Fitness Attendant on duty for a quick overview. You also can sign up for a free equipment orientation by emailing fitness@gmu.edu. Always remember to wipe down your equipment after using it and put away anything you got out.

Personal Training: You’ve been to the gym, you’ve seen all the cool stuff, but you’re not sure how you should use it to meet your goals. Sound familiar? A personal trainer can help with that. All of our trainers are certified fitness professionals, and they can assess your current fitness and take you through a plan to meet your goals. Information and registration packets are available at each facility and online.

Fitness Events and Promotions: We hold fun fitness events throughout the year, including the Power Meet, Indoor Triathlon, Be My Fit Valentine couples competition, and Health and Fitness Screenings. We also offer discounts on personal training and Gold Access. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MasonRecFit for first notice of all events and promotions.

I hope this information helps you get started at the gym.  If you have any questions about Mason Fitness, email us at fitness@gmu.edu, call us at 703-993-9807, or stop by the Fitness office in the AFC.