The “Church of Iron”

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We must have the option to run eight miles on the treadmill at two in the morning. Photo by Henry Gramling.

The case for a 24-hour gym


Disclaimer:
All articles published within this section of The Cor Chronicle are the opinions of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Cor Chronicle
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For as much concern as the University of Dallas gives to the soul and the mind, the body is often neglected by comparison.

Just as avid fans of spiritual gains cram like sardines into the Church of the Incarnation for 11:00 a.m. Mass, so too do muscular gains enjoyers squish themselves into the nearby “Church of Iron to get a sweet, sweet pump in between energetic bouts in the Irving Lyceum.

Recent improvements to the gym have garnered much praise—particularly, the installment of a new squat rack and bench. However, the gym’s limited hours prevent the full benefit of these improvements for students from being realized.

The gym’s current hours do not fit into the busy lives of many students. Many gymgoers prefer to knock out their workouts early in the morning at six, five or even four o’clock. Others, such as myself, enjoy working out late at night at ten, eleven or even midnight. All of these times are outside of the seven to ten window the gym is open on weekdays, not to mention its reduced hours on the weekends.

On Sundays, the gym does not open until noon, which only constitutes a morning workout for fans of the 7:00 p.m. Mass.

Granting full-time students, faculty and staff safe access to the gym 24/7 would only require one improvement: swipe-card access doors The same technology that every dorm building uses to keep its residents safe can allow only authorized members into the gym. Several 24- hour gyms, such as Anytime Fitness, use a similar model with key fobs.

If there is not someone constantly working at the gym, perhaps there would be an increased risk of injury, one might say. At the very least, having a gym employee ensures that there’s always someone to come to the rescue if you get stuck under a (misguided) attempt at a 500 lb squat.

Hardly.

Not only are the gym employees usually shielded from view by a wall, but they also usually have headphones blasting Noah Kahan, zoned in on “The Education of Henry Adams” or “Love Island.” I have never once felt “safer” for their presence. Furthermore, this is not an issue that prevents other 24-hour gyms from letting their members exercise their own responsibility and prudence.

One might object that this would eliminate much-needed work-study jobs, but this does not need to be the case. Even commercial gyms that have the maximum incentive to limit employees have members who man the gyms during certain hours, particularly for cleaning.

Emphasizing cleaning the gym rather than the menial task of unlocking the door for every single gym rat would not only improve the gym environment but also allow for more un- interrupted studying at a work-study job.

UD seeks to form and educate the whole person—body, mind and soul. Catholics are not Gnostics, Platonists or Manicheans. The physical world is good and ought to be cared for, but in order to do that, the necessary tools are required. For many, that means a gym that works with the chaotic schedule of academic life. Opening the gym all day would require the installation of a single door, but the fruits would ripple and flex throughout the entire campus.

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