Fighting the Mizzou 22, one workout at a time

The rec center offers workout opportunities for athletes of all skill levels.
MU's Student Recreation Complex offers resources for athletes of all levels.

Ah, college. It's the land of long hours spent studying, stressful classes and unlimited desserts at every meal.

Without parents around to monitor students' eating habits, many freshmen gain the dreaded "Mizzou 22" within the first few months of college. Thankfully, students can avoid packing on the pounds if they know how to utilize MU's fitness resources and control their consumption at meals.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that college-aged individuals do aerobic activity five days a week, with intensity level varying depending on the person. It also suggests two days a week of muscle strengthening and flexibility activities.

The Student Recreation Complex offers a variety of resources for different types of exercisers. The Jungle Gym offers more than 100 cardio machines and a strength room with loud music creating a high-energy atmosphere. More experienced weightlifters can head downstairs to the Pump Room for a more intense regiment.

Students also have access to basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts, and the adjacent Stankowski Field is a popular spot for soccer, flag football and Ultimate Frisbee.

The recreation center also offers TigerX classes, which range from cardio classes such as Zumba to flexibility classes like yoga and pilates. The classes are $7 per session or $49 for a semester pass.

Fitness coordinator Sarah Lee said the first few weeks of TigerX classes are designed to be less difficult in order to ease users into working out.

"TigerX starts most of our classes knowing that most people have taken the summer out and have not been as diligent with their workouts," she said.

This semester, the recreation center has put together guides that advise TigerX users on which classes they can take to meet certain fitness goals.

"We've developed a four-week suggested plan that someone could follow with TigerX classes to meet ACSM guidelines each week," recreation center spokeswoman Emily Bach said. "In the past, we've just provided the TigerX schedule and [let] people pick and choose."

Lee said the schedules still provide freedom and flexibility.

"You can pick it up at any point during the semester and start it," she said.

TigerX has added two new classes for the fall semester: enduro cycling, a theater-enhanced cycling class; and tabata, a high-intensity interval training class.

Those new to working out can schedule a fitness center orientation at orientation.mizzourec.com. In these one-on-one sessions, exercisers can learn how to run the various machines in the recreation center.

"If someone's not familiar with the facility or the equipment, they can use this orientation to get an idea of what we offer," Bach said. "It's a really good option for people who don't know how to best use our space."

For an extra fee, recreation center members can take advantage of zouLIFE, a new service located in the Downtown Brewer area that offers fitness assessments, body composition and nutritional analysis, personal training, and spa services. Bach said this service is another option for those new to working out.

"I would suggest starting off with a fitness assessment, especially for anybody who has not previously been exercising, so they will recognize what their limitation levels are," she said.

After an assessment, a trained member of the recreation center staff will provide workout instructions even if the client decides not to continue with a personal trainer, Bach said.

Lee said recreation center employees feel the extra services come at an affordable rate.

"Most of our extra programs have fees, but they're very minor compared to what you would pay if you went off campus," Lee said.

In addition to putting in time at the recreation center, students should watch what they pile on their plates at MU's all-you-can-eat dining halls. Campus Dining Services Director Julaine Kiehn said students should focus on eating a well-rounded diet rather than avoiding specific foods.

"To me, there is no bad food," she said. "It's all about moderation and variety and balance."

To help students track their dining choices, the website for CDS will offer "Zoutrition," a listing of nutritional information for foods served at dining facilities. Vegetarians or individuals with allergies will also be able to screen the menu to show only foods that meet their needs or preferences.

CDS will offer additional resources for those seeking nutritional information.

"We have four registered dietitians on staff who are happy to meet with students," Kiehn said. "We have nutrition table tents we'll be putting on the tables, so consider the recommendations."

Kiehn's recommendations include "putting more plants on the plate," using meat as a garnish rather than a main dish, and limiting dressings and sauces that add calories to salads or other dishes. CDS is also working to provide local food.

"Our customers will see a lot of local produce on our menus early this fall, as that is the prime season for vegetables," Kiehn said. "Pavilion at Dobbs continues to offer Legacy Beef, which is mainly grass-fed and hormone-free."

Kiehn said students need to be especially aware of their activity levels once they start college. She recommended taking small steps such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking farther away from a destination and walking.

"My advice to students is to keep moving," Kiehn said. "Your whole life patterns may change when you come to college. If you've been active, stay active. If you haven't been active, get active."

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