When winter winds wail, athletes find alternatives

by Barbara Platts / Beacon Staff • March 1, 2012

Barbara stairs
“Dub” doesn’t even begin to account for the amount of steps Kyle Haley climbs for his winter workout sessions
“Dub” doesn’t even begin to account for the amount of steps Kyle Haley climbs for his winter workout sessions

As dubstep music blares out of portable Dell speakers and reverberates off the walls in a Colonial Building stairwell, Kyle Haley slowly starts climbing from the third to 10th floor, and back down again. By the fifth trip, he’s ascended seven stories in under 40 seconds. This goes on for 30 minutes, or about 65 full laps.  

For the sophomore visual and media arts major, this is a typical winter workout that he goes through at least twice a week. The aerobic exercise helps him stay in shape during the offseason for Emerson cross-country.

“There are a lot more things to do to get ready to go outside and run in the cold,” Haley said, “as opposed to wearing shorts and walking down the hallway  —  and there is music.”

Haley is just one of the many student athletes who alter some of their workouts in the winter due to the cold weather and the fact that their sport is not in season. 

These students often find their way to the Emerson Fitness Center. The center is busiest from January until spring break, seeing 1,000 additional visits per month than in the fall, according to Christine Mccomb, the assistant general manager of the center and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. 

“It’s so much busier. The cardio equipment sees significantly more wear and tear just because when it is cold out, people who usually run outside come indoors and use the treadmills,” Mccomb said. “Plus all of the people with their New Year’s resolutions.”  

Captain of the baseball team, Geoff Lopes, said that the large crowds in the gym often make it hard for the baseball team to workout before their season starts on March 4.

“The most limiting time is when we first get back from break with their New Year’s resolutions and everything,” said the senior broadcast journalism major. “The first two weeks of the semester, everyone is a gym rat.”

Mccomb creates workout programs for every team at Emerson. Different training maxes are made year-round to help prepare athletes and keep them in shape, even if they aren’t in season. Each program is made to meet the demands of the athlete’s sport, according to Mccomb. Students who use Mccomb’s program are allowed to come into the gym after hours on Tuesday through Thursday. 

“You can always pop in at night if you have too much going on during the day,” Lopes said. 

Certain coaches do not have a concrete training regime for their students in the offseason. Men’s soccer coach, Jared Scarpaci, encourages his team to workout at the Fitness Center in the winter, but said that August is when he needs them to be in their best shape.

Some athletes take on personal goals in the winter when their sport is not in season. The women’s cross-country captain, Heather Hoglund, is training for a half marathon in March. She said that it’s important to get inventive with workouts, especially when it’s cold outside.

“I try to do mini concentrated things, a lot of core,” said the junior visual and media arts major. “I try to pick up random heavy things. I’ve even done lunges down my dorm hallway. You have to get creative.”

Mccomb cautions against getting too imaginative.

“Creativity is nice, but creativity should be followed with some safety,” Mccomb said. “We can work with them on that. Asking questions goes a long way.” 

The Fitness Center offers a variety of free classes and they are always looking to add new courses if students show interest. A Zumba class was recently started, and yoga and spinning classes have proven to be popular, according to Mccomb. Junior Giuliana Hazelwood teaches an hour-long yoga session on Thursday nights, which is heated during the winter. Hazelwood said that 15 to 20 students come to each session, and many of them are beginners. 

“A lot of people have heard about it and want to give it a try,” said the visual and media arts major. “A lot of people are stressed out and want to relax.” 

Hazelwood said that even she has a hard time always staying active when it is cold, but often that is the most important time.

“When it’s winter and when it’s cold out can be the prime time to take care of your body,” Hazelwood said. “The more you work now, the better it will be later.”

Hoglund recently took up yoga. She started by taking a couple of classes at the gym, but now does shorter workouts in her room which she gets out of an instructional book that provides twenty-minute yoga workouts.  

“I bought a yoga mat, and I’ve actually gotten into yoga, which is surprising if you knew me,” Hoglund said. “But it’s very nice.” 

For people that are new to the fitness center, Mccomb stresses the importance of having attainable goals.  

“Most people lose motivation because they don’t have a goal,” Mccomb said. “In the winter, you can have a goal too.”

Hazelwood said there are many ways to stay active, and it’s important for each individual to find what works best for him or her.

“There are plenty of things out there to do,” Hazelwood said. “Try a lot of different things until you find ones that interest you.”