For the first-years who are not competing on one of UNC's 28 varsity teams, learning to construct a healthy lifestyle may be difficult, like facing intimidation at the gym and finding the gym in the first place.
The two gyms on campus are the Student Recreation Center and Rams Head Recreation Center. The SRC allows students to work out from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., while Rams Head Recreation Center is open from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m.
“I love the SRC because of the different spaces for doing private workouts and your own thing, but I love them both for different reasons, said first-year Lauren Ragsdale. “Rams track is amazing if you wanna burn off some steam and run some laps.”
Both gyms are available to full-time students, who need only their One Card for entry. Kinsley Buchanan, facilities and operations ambassador at Rams, said the process is simple.
"As soon as they come in, somebody will be here to greet them and ask them if any exercise equipment, such as jump ropes, that are not housed upstairs," Buchanan said. "Students can then either ask employees questions about how the gym works, or explore by themselves."
Rams Head tends to be more popular for younger students due to its proximity to South Campus residence halls, where many first-year students live. According Buchanan, navigating the gym may seem daunting at first, but current students encourage visiting the gyms.
“I can never tell who’s a freshman and who’s a senior,” Ragsdale said. “And if I could, I mentally congratulate them for coming to the gym on their own, then go back to making sure I don’t drop a weight on my foot.”
The gyms feel carefree, and everybody is excited to work out in a no-judgment zone, Buchanan said.
“So pretty much, you can do whatever you want to do or need to do,” Buchanan said. “Nobody's gonna judge you for it.”
First-year Sheridan Battaile said she visits the gym around 6 or 7 p.m. and, although she said it is a crowded time, she has never felt overwhelmed.
“If you want to go during a time where you are one of the only ones there, I would recommend going late at night or during a time when a lot of people are in class,” Battaile said.
In addition to working out in the gym on their own, students can join Twerk, Trap, Tone, Gentle Yoga, Barbell Pump, Pilates and a multitude of other group fitness classes UNC Campus Recreation offers at no extra charge. The schedule is available on the website.
UNC Campus Recreation also offers numerous opportunities to get and stay active in other ways. There are special events such as Newbie Night at the Rams Rock Climbing Walls, Full Moon Zipline and Battleship in Bowman Gray Memorial Pool — which is also open for students to swim laps.
“I occasionally like to run in the woods next to my dorm, as well as around campus. There’s also tennis courts and volleyball courts I like to take advantage of a lot,” Ragsdale said. “I’d also recommend swimming laps in the pool, especially if you’ve had a rough day, it’s super refreshing and fun.”
There is no shortage of ways to get active at UNC, and Campus Recreation supplies many tools for students to find what works best for them.
“Take advantage of the other facilities for activities like swimming, basketball, racquetball, etc.,” Battaile said. “UNC has a good selection of places for you to exercise, so do not worry about not finding a facility that suits you when you get here in the fall.”
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