Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Mitch Kilgore works out at the UTC Aquatic and Recreation Center. Membership is included in student tuition fees.
It can be hard to fight off the freshman 15 when the $15 in your bank account can’t be spared for fitness costs.
Many college students worry about staying in shape but don’t have the cash to drop on gym memberships and training sessions.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of cheap — even free — resources available to college students wanting to stay fit as the school year kicks off.
Most area colleges and universities have fitness centers and intramural sports included in students’ tuition fees.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s year-old Aquatic and Recreation Center, known as the ARC, boasts two basketball courts, a bouldering wall, a climbing tower, a track and 15,000 square feet of exercise space, according to Miles Ledford, UTC’s assistant director of campus recreation. He said the center has swarmed with activity since its opening.
“It’s a good deal,” said UTC junior Carrie Hertel, as she took a break from lifting free weights. She uses the elliptical machines and weights at the ARC. “They have a lot to offer here, and it’s not like you’re paying extra.”
In May, the center plans to open its aquatic facilities, which will include lap lanes, a water slide and a lazy river.
“The reason why we have our facilities is to provide a way to relax and to relieve stress so that students’ minds are clear for the classroom,” Ledford said.
Chattanooga State, Lee University, Covenant College, Southern Adventist University and Bryan College all have fitness centers with treadmills and weight machines available to their students, along with intramural activities.
EXAMPLES OF STUDENT DISCOUNTS
North Shore Yoga
* $12 drop-in classes.
* $100 for a month’s worth of unlimited yoga or 10 classes over a six-month span.
* $10 for 10 days of yoga (applies to new students only).
* $32 dollars per month, no joining fees.
* Must provide your student schedule to prove you are taking 12 hours of class.
* $55 dollars per month.
Chattanooga Fitness Center at Warner Park
* $1 per visit.
The Rush Fitness Center
* Back-to-school special: Work out for free through August.
* Pay $19 per month if you join before Aug. 31.
* Complimentary Rush Hour (personal training session) if you bring your student ID.
TBA Climbing Gym
* Student night 4-10 p.m. Tuesdays. Every second climber gets 50 percent off, which means two people can climb for $9.25 each.
* Saturdays are “Groups and Parties” day. $10 a climber, including shoes.
Local gyms such as the Sports Barn, the YMCA, and The Rush all offer special deals and discounts to college students. The Chattanooga Fitness Center at Warner Park is only $1 per visit.
North Shore Yoga offers $12 drop-in classes for students who furnish their college IDs. For $100, students can choose to have unlimited yoga for a month or take 10 classes over a six-month span.
Kathryn Smith, instructor and manager of the yoga center, said she began yoga while in college. “It was an important discovery for me,” she said. “Once students come, they usually get hooked. But they won’t typically come unless they have encouragement.”
The Tennessee Bouldering Authority in St. Elmo, which mainly draws college-age students, offers Student Night every Tuesday. A pair of climbers can get 25 percent off.
“Bouldering draws a lot of young people, because it’s very social and it’s cost-effective. You only really need to buy shoes and a crash pad,” said manager Thompsie Huffaker.
Huffaker also highlighted the ultimate free fitness facility for students: the great outdoors.
“There is so much to take advantage of in the area,” Huffaker said. “You can go hiking and climbing 20 minutes outside downtown.”
UTC allows students to rent bikes, kayaks and climbing equipment for a refundable deposit. Websites such as OutdoorChattanooga.com post information about nearby outdoor destinations and activities such as hiking, caving, mountain biking, rowing and rafting. It also keeps tabs on outdoor events and classes.
“I mainly work out outside,” Hertel said. “You can always go out for a walk or a hike. That costs nothing.”