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Campus Recreation Promotes Healthy Lifestyles on Campus

This semester, BC community will see improvements to facilities, new equipment and more classes

Student trainer Cody Nadeau '15 demonstrates new equipment at the Flynn Recreational Complex. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff

Published: Sept. 17, 2013

It’s going to be a lot harder for the Boston College community to make excuses for not getting into shape. The Flynn Recreational Complex boasts several recent additions and improvements to its facilities — the result of some $500,000 in renovations and equipment upgrades.

New classes – including Kettlebells 101 – and scheduling changes have enabled Campus Recreation to offer more classes to help reduce the number of members on wait lists. Pictured here: Student trainers Juliette Reynolds '15, Austin Brown '14, Cody Nadeau '15 and Courtney Duff '15. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

Among the changes are treadmills with Internet and cable TV, a resurfaced pool, an air-conditioned spin room and even towel service for members. New classes – everything from Ballet Barre and Women & Weights to Kettlebells 101 and Cardio Combat – offer something for all fitness levels and abilities. Scheduling changes have also enabled Campus Recreation to offer more classes to help reduce the number of members on wait lists.

“This is a continuation of the University’s commitment to wellness,” said Director of Campus Recreation Caitriona Taylor. “We are an older facility, but are working hard to promote healthy, active lifestyles on campus. Our mission is to cultivate life-long health and really focus on the Jesuit commitment to the formation of the whole person.”

A staggering 93 percent of undergraduate students participated in some form of BC Recreation programming last year through the fitness center, club and intramural sports, classes and trips. Taylor said her staff is constantly seeking members’ comments and suggestions through surveys and social media. Staff then uses polling data to prioritize upgrades.

An example of this responsiveness, says Associate Director of Facilities and Operations Eric Zeckman, is the air-conditioned spin room, which has been retrofitted to include the comforts of most high-end fitness centers: top-of-the-line stationary bikes, lighting and sound system. The renovated pool area — with new HVAC, resurfaced pool, lane markers and painted walls — also is one of the most visible improvements members will see this semester. A new ladder and lift allows accessibility for handicapped members.

“Members wouldn’t use the pool because it hadn’t been resurfaced in over 40 years and looked in disrepair. It was an incredible, but underutilized resource,” said Zeckman.

Additional upgrades this year allow BC Recreation to incorporate some of the latest fitness trends, said Taylor, such as 10 new treadmills featuring “cardio theaters” with large screens that have over 30 TV channels and are Internet-ready, allowing users to select running routes from trails around the world — the treadmill changes height and pace depending on the difficulty of the particular trails. BC Rec members also can now use TRX Suspension Trainers — which use an individual’s own bodyweight to train various muscle groups — Synergy 360 fitness equipment, kettlebells, stability balls, resistance bands, yoga mats and body bars.

Student trainers demonstrate the new TRX Suspension equipment to the Flynn Recreational Complex. (Photo by Caitlin Cunningham)

The improvements at BC Rec aren’t only in equipment: An athletic trainer has been hired to work specifically with club sport athletes.

Marketing and Communications Manager Megan Burkes has found success utilizing technology to promote the efforts of her team. The recently revamped website is highly visual and features many of the new program offerings. The BC Rec YouTube page provides tutorials on equipment and features on fitness classes and trips. An early adopter of Instagram, Burkes said she always looks for new ways to engage with students.

“There is no student center on campus, so in many ways the Flynn Complex is the center of student life,” she said. “And with everything we do, we look to support our core values: integrity, passion, development, camaraderie and respect.”

The Plex’s 18-hours-a-day schedule — from 6 a.m. to midnight during the week – has made it a popular place for BC faculty and staff. Employees who subscribe to the University's Harvard Pilgrim PPO and HMO plans and pay for a semester or annual membership are eligible for a $150 reimbursement each year.

“This is a health-conscious campus and we’re looking to provide as many reasons as possible for everyone in the community to get involved,” said Taylor, who adds that lobby and locker room upgrades will be the next areas of improvement.

To learn more about BC Recreation, visit /rec.