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Students voice concerns over long wait times at FitRec

Fit Rec
The weight room in the gym at Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center in West Campus. Students expressed their displeasure with the gym’s overcrowding and excessive wait time for equipment use. TAYLOR COESTER/DFP STAFF

Boston University’s Fitness and Recreation Center — open every day and frequented by students working out, playing sports or participating in credited fitness classes — gets crowded frequently, students say.

“There isn’t very much room to do anything in the weight room,” said Isabella Nocetti, a daily FitRec user and a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. “You sort of have to dodge people if you want to get to anything.”

Tommie Lee, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said long waiting times cut into the amount of time she spends at the gym. Waiting too long between sets, she said, can cause her to cool down and make her workout feel harder.

“I feel like there’s way more people coming in,” Lee said. “I love people getting into fitness, but also I don’t want to wait 20 minutes for a piece of equipment.”

Demand is high in the afternoons, BU Spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email. More than 5,000 students use FitRec each day, he wrote.

“The occasional heavy demand at FitRec has more to do with the times students choose to use the facility than with enrollment,” Riley wrote. “Every year demand tends to even out as students adjust their workout times over the first few weeks of classes.”

Michelle Grullon, a freshman in the College of Communications and a student worker at the front desk services at FitRec, said she has heard a lot from other students and her coworkers that the number of students coming in this year is “absolutely crazy” and can get “super overwhelming” at times.

“They’ve just been noticing the massive influx of people, even one day having nearly a line of people outside the door waiting to get into FitRec as it was opening,” Grullon said.

Elsa Jenkins, a first year graduate student in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and a BU FitRec student manager, said she hasn’t noticed much of a change in the amount of students coming in this year as opposed to before the pandemic regulations.

“I don’t think it’s any busier than usual,” Jenkins said. “It also helps that we just got a bunch of new equipment which is supposed to help with the crowds of course, but obviously, like the first couple of weeks of school are crazy.”

However, Karla Lovato, a sophomore in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Science, said she switched to using GymIt — a non-BU affiliated fitness center across the street from FitRec — last spring, after experimenting with going to FitRec at different hours throughout the day, with no success.

“We have a big school, and the gym is nice. It’s big, but not big enough for that amount,” Lovato said. “I think they just have to expand and get new machines, make a bigger space, or honestly do like reservation times or something like that.”

Lovato said she is willing to pay an additional cost to frequent GymIt in order to avoid large crowds and have quicker access to equipment.

“I was like … I cannot just keep avoiding the gym just because it’s really full, ” Lovato said. “I know [FitRec] is convenient because it’s … included in our tuition, but … it’s just a waste of time.”

Marcus Perriello, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said he’s willing to stick with FitRec because of its convenient location and new machines.

“I don’t think I would waste my money on a gym membership,” Perriello said. “It would have to be truly off, the machines would have to be breaking, and I would have to be waiting in line routinely for 40 minutes every time … and that’s just not the case.”

Perriello said he thinks this is an issue that BU can’t do much about. There’s little room for more machines, he said, and making people book gym appointments would not be ideal.

“I think this is something that would just have to solve itself … people give up on the gym eventually,” he said. “Stop going to FitRec please,” Perriello said, laughing. “I don’t want to wait in line anymore.”

Lee said there are usually more people at the beginning of the school year, or around New Year’s.

“A lot of people are having ready access to a gym that they might not have had previously … usually after a month, that dies down, … but as for the rest of the crowd, we’ll see,” Lee said. “Once the CGS kids come in January, I think we’re gonna see another spike because that also coincides with New Year’s. So, we’ll see.”

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