Got claustrophobia? Workouts to try at home

by Beacon Staff • October 25, 2006

Shannon Petersen, fitness manager at the Emerson College Fitness Center, explained that this does not only happen to freshmen, but also to upperclassmen.,With hectic lifestyles and irregular eating times, many college students find themselves gaining weight by the end of their first semester.

Shannon Petersen, fitness manager at the Emerson College Fitness Center, explained that this does not only happen to freshmen, but also to upperclassmen.

"I see it happen, and I don't like to call it the freshman 15, I like calling it the college 15," she said.

According to Petersen, weight gain doesn't stop after college, especially after students turn 21 and can start legally drinking alcohol, which contains many calories.

The Fitness Center, located in the lower level of the Little Building, offers a solution to this problem. In the 10,000-square-foot facility, there is a variety of weight-training equipment and more than 25 exercise machines. The locker rooms are equipped with showers and saunas, one of which is currently out of order. The Fitness Center is open to all Emerson students, staff and faculty, and even offers memberships to students whose schools are affiliated with Emerson, such as Tufts University.

But with more than 1,600 members signed up, it can get a little stuffy at times.

Colleen Sexton, an Emerson librarian who goes to the Fitness Center three times a week, said, "The staff is great, enthusiastic and responsive, but [the Fitness Center] could be bigger, because sometimes it can get really crowded."

Many people seem to agree with Sexton.

"You learn quickly during what hours it's full and when it's not," said Pam Coppola, a senior print journalism major.

Sophomore Eliza Jarrett, a writing, literature and publishing major, doesn't like that there are no windows and suggests "that may be why it feels claustrophobic."

If you want to avoid the busiest hours of 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., Peterson suggests going around 8 to 10 a.m. when most people are attending classes.

Sophomore Kerem Owen Bursin, a marketing communications major, goes to the Fitness Center six times a week.

There are several classes you can join that meet once or twice a week.

Butts and Guts meets on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m., Yogalates meets from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. every Monday, and Just Abs meets Monday through Thursday from 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. and Fridays from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m.

Flor Amaya, one of the instructors at the Fitness Center, explained that you don't always need big machines to stay spry.

With the help of freshman Jessa Brazinski, Amaya showed The Beacon some exercises that anyone can do in their dorm room, where they might feel more comfortable than in a room full of other people.

As a beginner, you should do all the following exercises in three sets of 10 and as you gradually tone your muscles you can go on to three sets of 30.

To get rid of that little flab in the back of your arm, Amaya suggests doing the tricep dip. Start by placing your hands on a steady chair behind you, with your elbows facing backward. Bend your knees as you would in a sitting position and push yourself up and down 10 times. If you want to make it a little harder, extend your legs outward while keeping them close together.

If you want stronger legs, try the squat. With your legs shoulder-length apart, stretch your arms outward and squat at a 90-degree angle. Just be careful that your knees are not over your toes, because that puts too much pressure on your kneecaps.

A simpler version of this is the wall sit, which requires that you fully lean your back against the wall and keep your legs at a 90 degree angle, like sitting in an imaginary chair. Stretch your arms outwards and hold it for 10 seconds.

The good old push-up can be done in any dorm room to strengthen your upper body. A wider grip will tone your chest and back, while a more narrow one exercises your arms.

For an interesting alternative to the usual work out routine, try Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease DVD. According to Electra, it will "tone your body like a dancer and definitely spice up your personal life."

On this DVD you can choose what song you want to exercise to, and it offers a good laugh while toning your pelvic and upper thigh area. It is available at many retail stores, including Target and Best Buy.