September 23, 2019 | 90° F

Workers at Rutgers recreation centers provide insight, tips for students looking to be active

Photo by Justin Confalone |

 With the start of a new year and semester, fitness centers have been much more crowded. The crowds tend to be larger around noon and before closing, and it is recommended that students come when the gym opens or between 3 and 4 p.m. to avoid crowds. 

With the new year in its early stages, many students go to the recreation centers at Rutgers to fulfill their 2019 resolutions. 

There are countless exercise options at each of the campuses, ranging from weightlifting in the College Avenue Gymnasium to swimming at the Rutgers Aquatic Center on Busch campus.

The fitness centers and classes offered have been very crowded throughout January, and the numbers are still high as the month is coming to an end, said Kristina Kong, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior who is a fitness assistant at the Cook Douglass Recreation Center. 

“There has been a major spike, especially in the fitness centers. For the past two weeks we’ve been getting maxed out very fast. Fitness classes have even been filling up within 5 minutes of starting,” she said. 

Crowds at the recreation centers tend to be large around noon and during the evening, with the largest crowd coming in near closing. Kong said she recommends people to come between 3 and 4 p.m. or when the gym opens.

"New equipment is added year-round to the recreation centers as well, especially in the summer when new activities and equipment were being implemented," she said.

While the time spent exercising varies depending on the activity, students spend much longer than initially expected at the recreation centers, said Angela Cervera, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and a manager at the Cook Douglass Recreation Center. Many students make it to the recreation centers nearly four times per week, with some regulars coming in even more frequently.

“There are some people who just pop in and out between classes and some who are regulars, but a lot of people will show up late at night and stay for a while. A lot of people, men especially, will stay for hours on end playing things like pickup basketball,” she said.

While there are many students who go to the gyms, Cervera said there are also a surprising amount of faculty and outside members. 

One student who frequents the gym is School of Arts and Sciences first-year Cecilia Ritacco, who tries to go several times a week and stays 30 to 45 minutes each session. She said the convenience and staff were strong components of the recreation centers at the University.

“It has a lot of options including classes, and it has a lot of your standard gym equipment. It’s a good facility, and a great option for students who are trying to stay fit,” Ritacco said.  

For Cervera, the best part about working at the recreation center is the people she works with and the people she meets. She said many of her friends are from work, and the experience has made her more outgoing.  

“The gym really isn’t an intimidating place, we’re all really friendly and it’s a great place to spend some time,” she said.  

Justin Confalone

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