The Fit provides new exercise options for students

The Fit provides more access for students to exercise while on campus. ORACLE PHOTO/CHAVELI GUZMAN

Since its opening this month in The Village, The Fit has been met with primarily positive reviews, but there are still areas that students say need improvement.

The Fit is one of two new satellite facilities. The first was The Well, which opened in April at USF Health. Eric Hunter, director of Campus Recreation, said he is optimistic about the expansion of recreation options at USF.

“The concept of any satellite facility, is to take the pressure off of the main recreation center, and we get a lot of use over here,” Hunter said. “We were hoping to relieve some of that pressure, by having a satellite location where primarily the resident students on that side of campus could use that without having to come all the way over here. The Village is a prime location for it.” 

Jordan St. Laurent, a freshman majoring in psychology, advocates for students to visit. 

“It’s convenient, it’s a lot closer then the REC, and it has everything to keep someone healthy,” St. Laurent said. “Check it out because it’s there, it’s brand new and there isn’t much of a reason not to.”

The Fit includes an outdoor pool, a wellness center equipped with nap pods and massage chairs, and countless exercise machinery such as rowing machines, ellipticals and more. 

Forest Ritneour, a sophomore majoring in cell biology, said he enjoys what The Fit has to offer.

“All the new facilities look nice, they have a lot of staff,” Ritneour said. “There is low traffic, there is plenty of machines to use, the pool is super chill. They have a nice relaxing area near the pool people can do homework in. It’s really nice.”

Kathryn Newman, a sophomore majoring in business administration, echoed Ritneour’s point.

“It’s a lot less intimidating then I thought it would be, and there is like a lot of stuff to do,” Newman said. “They have the stair climbers, bikes, and running equipment, it’s nice, it’s fancy.”

Dale Mountain, a freshman majoring in biology, said he was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of equipment and professionalism of the employees.

“It’s a good quality gym and there is a lot of helpful individuals there, it has more than what I anticipated,” Mountain said.

Students did voice complaints about accommodations at the Fit. Ritenour said the facilities are lacking information about what is available.

“I feel like if they had a more informing welcome booth, to tell you what all these different trainers are doing at that time, that would be nice,” Ritenour said. “I would like the pool to be deeper but that’s not something they can do overnight, but the pool should be open later.” 

The Fit’s hours are more limited compared to other on campus exercising facilities.  The Fit is open 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. 

Despite the hours, some employees have enjoyed working at the facility so far.

“The coworkers are nice, there is a set schedule every week, the advisors are great,” Alexandra Baggara, an employee at The Fit, said.

One of Baggara’s fellow employees, Nathan Ewers said he has also enjoyed his time working at The Fit so far.

“The Fit is great, it’s very open, there is a nice pool but not many people use it, and not many people know about it yet,” Ewers said. “It’s a calmer gym, it’s a different environment than the rec it’s more noisy over there. I like it here. The coworkers are great.”

The Fit, had a steady opening week with about 1,900 people checking in. These are rather small numbers compared to Campus Recreation which has 16,000 visitors a week. Hunter attributes it to is small size.

“It’s a satellite because it is a remote location and the people can do most of the same things without having it come over here,” Hunter said. “It’s a 19,000 square feet facility while this is a 180,000 square foot facility. There is a difference, but we are very happy with the location. We think it’s perfectly situated where the students are.”

Students such as Sydney Fort, a freshman majoring in pre-nursing, did, however, have some suggestions for potential improvements to the facilities.

“It doesn’t feel like a gym, it feels like a gym at a gated community,” Fort said. “The pool isn’t deep enough to do flip turns, it’s not a lap pool. It makes me mad that they have laps when you can’t even do them. I’m a swimmer, so that’s my main thing. I would not tell people to go there, I would tell people to go there if they were just casually working out it’s a good place to do casual things, like just run, lift weights.” 

Hunter agrees that there are still areas that could be expanded upon so students are able to get the most out of their exercise experience.

“There is still space on both upper level and lower level to add more equipment both cardio and specialized equipment,” Hunter said. “We just don’t have any funding for it now. It’s still very much still a construction zone, they still following through on what they call punch list items. 

“The team hasn’t finished so there is still things inside the building that haven’t been put in. You will still see construction people walking around. We are lacking some mirrors and some touch up stuff. There is still some touch up work to be done. We are allowed to be open and we are taking people in.”