The Issue with a Shared Weight Room


Kylee Deering, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Buena Vista University (BVU) students, faculty and staff are busy during the spring semester of school. All athletic teams are in season, so Siebens Fieldhouse sees a lot more students. Because of the large number of student athletes needing to use the weight room, it’s closed to all other students, faculty and staff from 3 pm to 5:30 pm on Monday afternoons.

Full time strength and conditioning Coach Ryder Weischedel explained why this decision was made:

“So, the issue we had was all the teams are in season now practicing, so there’s no space now for any training to be done,” Weischedel said.

Coach Ryder went to his supervisor, BVU Athletic Director Jack Denholm, and explained the situation. Together, they decided because athletes use the weight room from roughly 3 to 6 PM, 3 to 5:30 PM was a fair compromise between student athletes and the remainder of the campus community.

The new hours will only be implemented on Monday afternoons to ensure the remainder of campus can use the gym any other day of the week.

Students have expressed frustration as the new hours could cause problems with current routines and scheduling; however, Coach Ryder and Denholm are working to keep the days with limited hours as minimal as possible.

For faculty members like professor Miranda Pollock, it forces some planning. Currently, she works out around 5:30 PM every day because because students use the weight room earlier in the afternoon. If she had the option to hit the gym around 3 or 3:30 PM, she would stay on campus in order to carry on with the rest of her evening at home.

Pollock is concerned with the restricted hours on Monday’s, “If something’s happening in the evening and I have to work out earlier, I don’t have an option. I will have to take a day off.”

She also thinks that it could create more traffic later in the evening with non-student athletes coming in because of the closed period not allowing them to exercise until then.

The restriction only closes the gym for two-and-a-half hours, but the bigger concern at BVU is that one weight room is being shared by all student-athletes, non-athletes, faculty, and staff.

Students are in class majority of the day and most of us share the same class times, so working out in the morning or middle of the day can be difficult. Sometimes, even working out later in the evening after athletes finish at 6 PM is difficult because a lot of student groups and group assignment meetings happen between 6:30 and 8 PM. Working out at 9 or 10 PM isn’t exactly ideal, especially for those who take an energy boosting pre-workout supplement. The prime time is between 3 pm and 6 pm when everyone is typically free to spend a half hour to an hour in the gym.

It’s understandable that student athletes obviously need a designated time slot in the gym to train as it’s important for them to do so in season. But it’s likely time for BVU to make efforts to designate times for non-athletes, faculty and staff, or create another space for the rest of BVU to exercise and work out. It’s not ideal to share the weight room with so many people and teams. For those who try to stay on a certain workout schedule, taking a day off because the gym is too full isn’t exactly fair either.

This isn’t the only problem. Some have expressed their discomfort with trying to exercise among student athletes. Pollock was one of these people.

“When I started working out, it was very difficult to be in here among student athletes. I was very self-conscious and insecure about working out. Especially as a woman working out around student athletes, it was very uncomfortable,” Pollock said.

She expressed concerns about those who are trying to get started working out, as they may become intimidated by stepping foot in the room during student-athlete hours.

As someone who went through this experience, I can say that it is a definite concern. There have been times that the only hours I can fit in my schedule to go to the gym are during the hours that student athletes are working out. At first, this was really intimidating. More often than not, they’re not concerned with what you’re doing and are focused on their training. But to an individual who’s just starting to work out in a college weight room, it still makes you feel uncomfortable and inexperienced. I pushed through the uncomfortable feeling because my time in the gym was more important to me, but what about the person who doesn’t or can’t push past those feelings?

Pollock brings up a good point.

“If we want a healthy campus and if we’re working on a faculty and staff insurance policy where we have to be healthy, is this going to support that mission? That’s a big question.”

It is a big question. And an important one to have answered. It’s time to start looking at the issue and deciding how to make it better for everyone – student athletes, non-athletes, faculty and staff.

We all deserve time in the weight room and we shouldn’t have to cut workouts in half because equipment is unavailable or not workout at all because our schedules only allow for unavailable times. If we want to promote a healthy campus, training and conditioning for athletes, and being active, we have to have the facilities that support those ideals.