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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

A user-friendly guide to the WREC

Zachary Phillips

Recent graduates are always full of regrets.

Whether college seemed to disappear in a flash, or drag on well past its welcome, human nature tends to prompt graduates to look back on their time at Chico State and wish they had experienced more.

One of the most common “carpe diem” fails that I tend to hear from recent graduates is their failure to take advantage of the Wildcat Recreation Center, commonly known as the WREC.

With more workout options than one can really know what do with and a membership fee that feigns nonexistence as it weasels its way into our tuition fees, the WREC is one of the crown jewels of Chico State’s campus.

So what is it that keeps some of us students from using the WREC to its fullest?

My intuition, from my firsthand experience, tells me that it all boils down to intimidation. As a 5-foot-11-inch, 135-pound man with the coordination of a three-legged dog, it is oftentimes hard to thrive in the sphere of conventional athleticism.

My intuition tells me that I’m not alone in my plight.

However, this presumed lack of prowess is not an excuse for letting our noodle-limbed selves be strong-armed out of the right to exercise.

Let this day go down in history as the day that the WREC was reclaimed in the name of all who are flat-footed and sweat-aversive.

How does such a revolution come about? With a practical guide to navigating the WREC for those who are “unconventionally athletic.”

Strength training

Students on the weaker side of the strength scale, new to the world of weight-lifting, probably experience some anxiety when entering the weight room.

For students who don’t feel like braving the weight room’s dangers, might I suggest the climbing gym? The WREC has a three-story rock wall with more climbing paths to choose from than what’s really necessary.

Although climbing can seem like a daunting task at first, it really is one of the most entertaining buddy workouts at the WREC. Not only does climbing work on arm and leg strength, it’s a workout for the brain — climbers have to plan out their next few moves.


Cardio can be a little bit odd at the WREC.

I’m not sure who decided to position all of the stationary bikes and ellipticals in such a fashion that allows everyone on the ground floor to get a nice view of one’s undercarriage, but I really think it deserves some rethinking.

My suggestion for getting the most out of the WREC’s cardio capabilities is to try the various classes offered.

I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of the morning spin classes, Monday through Thursday at 6:15 am. I know waking up at 5:30 a.m. to bike over to the WREC to do a bike workout sounds ludicrous, but it really can be enjoyable if a loyal workout buddy joins in a “solidarity through pain” kind of way.

Spin classes attract people from many different levels of ability and experience, and participants can dictate the level of resistance they bike with. It’s one of those workouts where one gets as much as they give.

Many spin novices make the mistake of sheepishly spinning at the back of the class. Keep in mind that the instructors may have been trained to smell fear and insecurity, and they will not hesitate to yell through their 90’s pop star microphones.

Straight Up Balling

Some people prefer to get their workout out on the courts, rather than on a bike or elliptical. For those who are looking for a little added competition in their workout, the basketball courts are the place to be.

Monday through Wednesday from 4-8 p.m. the court turns into a volleyballer’s paradise. Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 1-3 p.m. the court is set up for badminton, in case basketball isn’t a speciality.

Anyone who tries to tell folks that badminton isn’t a work out has never woken up the next morning with their forearm on fire from two hours worth of wrist-flicking fun.

Depending on how slow the WREC is on a particular day, and depending on how nice the front desk employees are, they can usually set up the nets even if it isn’t on the official schedule.

With a clear battle plan for taking on the beast that is the WREC, presumed inferiority shouldn’t keep students from making the most of their gym time.

My hope is that in the future, when graduates look back in anger at their regrets and mistakes, avoiding the WREC will not be among them.

Zachary Phillips can be reach at [email protected] or @ZachSPhillips on Twitter.

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