Spring Shape-Up Not For Sleepy Heads

Melanie Quintanilla, Reporter

Students are ready for warmer temperatures  and maybe even the beach  after Shape Up for Spring, an early morning metabolic workout that began in the beginning of the spring semester and lasted until spring break.

“It was a twice-a-week, morning workout filled with fundamental movements that would be applicable to any college student, faculty, staff member, as well as your college athletes,” said Chris Gray, Assistant Football Coach/ Head Strengthening and Conditioning Coach.

The sessions were scheduled early morning to be convenient for all students and so it “would not interfere with the students’ classes or anything else that [the students] had on their agendas for that day,” Gray said.

Gray said student athletes comprised most of the participants.

“I think they saw the benefit in the fundamental movements, the structure and the discipline of waking up early and really coming to work, but we also had quite
an assortment of non-student athletes who saw the benefits of getting up early and working out and getting on with their days,” Gray said.

Sophomore football player Robin Custodio participated in the early morning workout.

“Waking up earlier for the first couple of workouts were hard to adjust to, but after that it was pretty easy. Getting up at the same time repeatedly week after week got easier,” Custodio said.

At 6:10, the session started with a dynamic warm-up, which consisted of a number of different stretches. It incorporated the gluteus and core because “the lower body is the primary mover for the morning,” said Gray.

At 6:20, participants were broken up into four groups, and each was assigned to a different circuit station. One station included fundamental movements such as an over and under hurdle drill. This drill helped worked on hip flexibility, triple extension and bending at the ankle, knees and hips, according to Gray.

“Each station had a different goal in mind,” he said.

Other stations included ladder drills, which focused on how fast one could move his or her feet and have the body in control when moving through the ladder.

The groups changed stations every two minutes.

“Between each station, we would run a lap around the gym which helped keep our heart rate going,” first-year student Haley Hall said.

At about 6:35, the participants would go through the stations a second time.

“We tweaked each exercise station the second time through,” said Gray.

A cool down session at 6:50 was an abbreviated version of the dynamic warm-up.

Custodio’s favorite part of the workouts was being with the team. “We developed a type of team camaraderie during the workouts,” he said.

Hall said she participated because she is always looking for something different to do, whether it is learning a new exercise or simply getting out of the gym.

“I am at the gym every day and it starts to get boring,” Hall said.

The structure of the workout remained the same during each session. Gray said the movements would change slightly but only to accommodate different skill levels.

Gray encouraged non-athletes to attend the workouts because “it was a benefit for all members of the campus community just from an overall health standpoint.”

Despite the stamina needed to complete the exercises, Hall said she really enjoyed the experience.

“I am not really into cardio, so it forced me to be and it made me feel good that I pulled it off at the end,” Hall said.

Custodio enjoyed sharing the challenge with his teammates.

“Most of the football team would attend the workouts because it was a great opportunity to bond as a team and get better by working out together. It was also a great opportunity to get into shape for the season.”

Gray said that it is important for student athletes to stay in shape during the off-season because the window and opportunity for stu- dents to grow and become the best that they can be quickly grows shorter because most students have roughly a four-year window to play a sport.

“If you truly want to be great at what you do, you will maximize each and every opportunity you have whether that be sleeping, your nutrition, your exercise, or your skill work in that given sport. I think that the athletes see that and they start to develop and mature as people in general,” he said.

The workouts also helped non- student athletes get in shape, learn new exercises and push themselves to new limits.

“I have been familiar with the exercises that we did, but one thing I learned about myself is that I can actually do it and I am better at cardio than I really thought I was,” said Hall.

“Overall it brought everyone together. People that work together, that go through enhanced adversity together and challenges together, grow together not only as a group but as an entire university,” Gray said.

The workouts were used as a test to see if participants would attend and benefit, but officials are unsure whether they will continue after spring break.

Gray said he would love to continue running and coordinating the workout routines, but it was sometimes difficult to coordinate the sessions on his own.

“So you had to make sure you had good help, and good help is something hard to find. There must be enough people to supervise and help run it and make sure that the coach-to-student and student athlete ratios are in favor. That way we have eyes on everybody.”

[email protected]