A breakdown of the changes happening
By Jamal Al-Bayaa, Staff Writer
As Douglas College enters a new year, the Athletics department and Student Engagement have introduced a series of changes to the fitness center and fitness programs at Douglas, with more changes to come as the year moves forward.
Partially in partnership with the City of Coquitlam, the college is offering free spin classes at their fitness facilities in Coquitlam on a daily basis, and nominally priced spin classes at their New Westminster campus studio three times a week. For a student, the cost is only two dollars.
Anna Schachner, Wellness and Recreation Coordinator for Douglas College, said that the school got the bikes in partnership with Coquitlam for a couple of reasons. Not only did the college want to be able to provide a higher variety of fitness classes to the college population, but they also wanted to find classes that would resonate specifically with the student crowd, since the majority of fitness class users on both campuses are either outside of the college entirely, or are employees of Douglas itself.
Douglas College is also following industry trends, said Schachner. With a number of studios following the growing trend, the move was important in staying relevant for their fitness class users. According to Google Trends, Canada is the country that searches for “spin class” more than anywhere else in the world, and daily global searches for the term have increased by as much as five times the 2004 numbers. Despite this, student attendance rates for these classes and fitness classes at Douglas in general have been struggling.
The college also introduces Angelo Trinidad as a personal trainer and point-person for the fitness center. Already a certified personal trainer, peer health educator, and fitness center employee, the services that he’s now doing are ideally suited to his skill set and the needs of the college.
“[Trinidad] is running free, hour and a half long sessions at the fitness center for any students who are intimidated by the idea of going to the gym because they don’t know how to use the equipment,” Schachner said. “In the session they cover machines, cardio, and the more functional exercises with the dumbbells, and if any questions arise, he’s there to help.” With a group size limit of 4, it allows him to pay attention to everyone and provide quality help where it’s needed. The program is doing well.
“A lot of people who have had a session with him come in later on their own and that’s awesome,” said Schachner. “For me, I always like seeing new students using the fitness center. With Angelo offering these sessions I think more people will be encouraged and feel confident enough to use the it. I hope we see a good enough mix of students, from first-year to fifth-year students from different academic backgrounds.”
Ultimately, these projects and others are a part of the college’s goal of making Douglas one that prioritizes the health of their students. Exercise, as Schachner puts it, is good for mental health, concentration, mood, grades, and it promotes a healthy body and lifestyle.
To continually improve the fitness centre and aerobic studio’s performance, specifically at the New Westminster campus where they have control of their facilities, a 22 question survey has been drafted and is being distributed by the Athletics Department and Student Engagement. In the survey, questions about equipment usage, space preferences, fitness experience, and training goals are covered. The goal of the survey is to gain more information on the exercising habits of Douglas College students, so that any changes or improvements to the facilities (such as new equipment, longer hours, and new programs) are targeted at the people who would most benefit from their introduction.