As students, faculty, and staff return to the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) for the start of the winter semester, many are looking for a fresh start to 2023. In light of the countless fitness New Year’s resolutions, all gyms across Canada are ramping up for changes. UTM’s Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC) has also followed in growing to meet the influx of people looking to work out at the gym. The improvements include a major expansion to the RAWC’s Fitness Centre and additional Strength and Conditioning programs.
Since opening on January 2, 2023, the brand-new Cardio Centre (formerly the main staircase leading to the Davis food court, overlooking Gym A/B) is ready to take on anyone embodying the phrase, “new year, new me.” The usually quiet staircase is now bustling with busy bodies trying to increase their heart rate.
“There is no need to sign in at the welcome desk. We encourage all visitors looking to work out to briskly walk up and down the large staircase several times before touching any fitness machines,” says Amrit Singh, a facility assistant at the RAWC. “It’s easier than using a StairMaster!”
While many question the closure of the former staircase, Head Coordinator at the RAWC, James Squire, emphasizes the Cardio Centre’s importance. “The people here feel like they’re on their way to completing year-long goals. Imagine if all the cubicles on campus were removed. Without the cubicles, how else are people supposed to feel like they’re studying? That’s like suggesting people just go outside for cardio! It’s ridiculous!”
In addition to the Cardio Centre, the RAWC announced new introductory sessions to be held at the Strength and Conditioning Centre. “We want people to learn and feel comfortable about the equipment before jumping in,” says Chris Ford, a RAWC personal trainer. “In these intro sessions, we encourage people to lightly caress the weights on their first few visits to the gym. Some beginner lifters are hurt when they cannot bench press twice their body weight. Hurt quite literally.”
With many becoming interested in fitness in the new year, the RAWC’s initiative aims to keep all visitors safe while at the gym.
“The mirrors they’ve installed around the staircase are perfect for taking quick gym selfies and making sure I have good form,” says Mark Barrett, second-year criminology student. “As a bonus, after an intense walk up the stairs, I’m greeted by the delightful aroma of the Davis food court.”
The RAWC implemented these changes after a treacherous re-opening in 2022, which saw people fighting over whose turn it was on the rotating wall-climb, using treadmills in groups of threes, and mistaking weightlifting chalk for pre-workout.
“We hope UTM will embrace these improvements,” says Anita De Sousa, a RAWC Welcome Services Assistant. “We have the capacity to meet everyone’s ambitious new year resolutions safely.”
The improvements are set to be removed on Monday, January 16, 2023, a week after classes resume on campus.