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In 2017, Louisiana State University completed a major redesign and renovation of its UREC student recreation center. LSU expanded its cardio and strength training fitness space from 13,000 to 65,000 square feet. It added appealing areas like a functional training space with turf, a climbing wall, a jogging trail, and an outdoor pool.
The new additions were certainly a draw, but LSU realized that it takes more than just cosmetic and structural additions to make sure students come back on a regular basis. UREC has created a wide range of small group training options designed to engage with students and the university community.
“I would say within the last two to three years we have noticed that boutique studios are a group that we compete with every day,” said Melissa Mapson, the fitness and wellness coordinator at UREC. “The studio environment they create — with scripts, lighting, compact space — can make them extremely competitive even though their pricing can be considered somewhat expensive compared to other gyms, fitness facilities or recreation centers in the area. Many people seem to enjoy the ambiance, community feeling, and exclusivity of having a reserved place in class. More importantly, patrons know what they can expect or anticipate with every class. This can be difficult to achieve in recreation centers based on space, and the development level of our instructors.”
One of many group training options offered by UREC surrounds a pair of Life Fitness SYNRGY360 functional training systems. The large workout area on the second floor of the fitness center allows for a pair of 12-person group classes each week. It also offers an inviting space for functional training by individual exercisers.
“We started utilizing the SYNRGY in classes April of 2017 and have had a total of 239 participants during the semesters we have been able to offer it,” added Mapson. “In addition, it is a commonly used space among patrons who are simply using the recreation center for their own personal workouts. Since we have begun using the piece we have noticed that individuals seem to like the unique equipment the SYNRGY can offer, and learning how to utilize the SYNRGY as a whole so that they can also use it independently when they are in the recreation center.”
The SYNRGY area is just one part of the robust and varied UREC group exercise offerings. Exercisers can choose from dozens of different group training options throughout the week.
“Within the last year we really wanted to ensure that all of our classes here at UREC appealed to everyone,” explained Mapson. “(We want to) offer traditional classes such as Zumba, barbell strength training or yoga classes, and find classes that pique student interest on a different level. In our collegiate recreation environment, we found that our students truly like to be challenged in their workouts, so we have begun adding high-intensity classes, endurance-based circuits, classes incorporating rowers, treadmills, and bikes, and most recently functional training equipment to challenge what patrons are traditionally used to.
For more information on the SYNRGY360 system from Life Fitness, click here.