My family and friends know that my New Year’s resolution had better involve some significant weight loss. While my love for a good workout is great, my love for a good burger, pizza or even a mediocre piece of pie has been greater for the past few years – and it shows, even under the academic attire. It is hard to believe that I ran two marathons in 2003 – including the Pittsburgh Marathon in almost exactly four hours. While another marathon is not in my near future, I would like to drop some weight and at least have a reasonable 5K time again.
Each year, the Health and Fitness Club sponsors a campus-wide competitive Fitness Challenge. Faculty advisor Dr. Chris McMahon and the student leadership of the club provide an incentive for significant gains in health and fitness. The Fitness Challenge involves teams of five that must mix both genders and also have both faculty/admin and student members. Last year’s challenge measured improvements in a two-mile walk, two-mile run, five-mile stationary bike, and 400-meter swim. This year’s competition involves teams earning points for each pound loss by the team and then scoring bonuses by hitting targets on the elliptical, stationary bike, treadmill run, treadmill walk and swim. Bring on the competition.
Logan’s Gang is our team name this year – my older son has a lot of friends. Our team leader is Julia Cavallo, Assistant Registrar and Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Kelly King, Director of Service Learning, Carl Jeune, Junior Communications major, and Alex Peffley, Junior Marketing major round out Logan’s Gang.
Last time the Fitness Challenge included weight loss our team won – we had great weight loss, I lost 36 pounds, and we scored big bonus points on the events. Here’s hoping for the same kind of results this year. Admittedly, last year our team did not fair well – primarily because I ran two minutes slower on the run (negative improvement) and a few of the walkers finished before me (I am talking to you Dr. Arcara). Regardless of the result, the Fitness Challenge provides a fun opportunity and some friendly competition.
A hub of student activity most hours of the day, the Fitness Center has been greatly improved over the last few months. John Bell, Strength and Conditioning Coach, has been spearheading these major changes to the Fitness Center. This year’s Fitness Challenge will make good use of the new cardio equipment brought in last semester. The updated bikes, treadmills, two types of ellipticals, and a new stepper have seen a lot of use already. Over Christmas break, new mirrors and woodwork were installed and a brand new leg press machine is on the way. The Fitness Center has never been better equipped (outside of Training Camp when the Steelers bring in some of their specialty equipment).
Good luck to all the teams in the Fitness Challenge and thank you to the Health and Fitness Club for organizing this annual competition. I will have the theme from Rocky looping on my iPod as I work out on one of the new ellipticals in the Carey Center over the next months. Hopefully our team will be Tebowing on the stage when the awards are given out in April. No matter what the final results, we will all benefit from some better eating habits and more exercise.
Dr. John Smetanka,
Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January, 2008.