Markin adds equipment, free group classes

Students workout during a pilates fitness class Thursday. All undergraduates can take group fitness classes for free this semester in Markin Family Recreational Center. photo by Brien Jackson
Students workout during a pilates fitness class Thursday. All undergraduates can take group fitness classes for free this semester in Markin Family Recreational Center. photo by Brien Jackson
Students workout during a pilates fitness class Thursday. All undergraduates can take group fitness classes for free this semester in Markin Family Recreational Center. photo by Brien Jackson

Big changes will be coming to Markin Family Recreational Center this semester with additions to the weight-lifting area with a rope fitness area and a deadlifting station to the weights area on the second floor and free group fitness classes.

“The goal is always to look for ways to improve the student experience,” Jeff Kauther, assistant director of Campus Recreation, said. “We realize that we are not always going to be able to offer everything that high-end gyms can offer, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to stay more modern.”

Student feedback drives virtually all of the changes the Campus Recreation office makes according to Kauther, who has been on the Hilltop since 2008. He said he has been waiting to develop this station for almost a decade.

“We have been hearing for a long time, even back when I was a student, that the students would like a place to deadlift,” Kauther said.

The addition of this station also allows Markin staff to protect gymgoers, according to Kauther.

“We have people that deadlift with the equipment we currently have, but the space and weights for them to do it is not safe,” Kauther said. “They need the correct weights, the correct bar and the platform in order to do this lift safely and to protect the floor and equipment.”

Beyond the changes upstairs, Markin will be allowing free group fitness classes for undergraduates this semester. Students normally pay around $1 per each group fitness class, but Bradley’s Wellness Office is hoping to implement a new system.

“We felt that since the students are already paying an activities fee, why not offer them free classes?” Anna Reed, assistant director of Wellness, said. “At campuses across the nation [the classes] are already free. This is just one more thing that, in our minds, is a no-brainer.”

The Get Fit, Stay Fit program has been working toward the goal of bolstering numbers in fitness classes, boosting the morale of their instructors and bringing more students to Markin.

“We also definitely felt like we had the numbers to back it up,” Matt Miller, graduate assistant of Wellness, said. “Whenever classes were free, as they always offer them for free during finals week, numbers increased pretty significantly.”

Get Fit, Stay Fit is using this semester as a trial to prove to university officials that fitness classes should be free to students and given SABRC funding. Reed said she is hoping free classes can be offered for years to come.

“Where I’m from, these were just automatic,” Reed said. “You get to use the facilities for free, you get the classes for free, so it just made sense to have Bradley be up to date.”

The free fitness classes have already started, and the deadlifting station and fitness rope will arrive within the next three weeks.

“We truly appreciate the feedback we get from the students,” Kauther said. “We will not be able to bring everything the students want to the Markin Center due to various constraints, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t take their ideas seriously.”