Here to Pump YOU Up

Wondering why everyone you know is saying at some point during the day, “I have to go work out?” Well, puzzle no further. The Malkin Athletic Center (MAC), once the dilapidated home to rusted Nautilus machines, underwent a startling face-lift this summer—and the snazzy renovations have perkily-ponytailed gals and muscle-T clad guys waiting in line.

Rave reviews abound concerning the revamped cardiovascular exercise room and the three new and improved weight rooms. The unisex weight room boasts refreshing air conditioning, and as John V. Mulcahy ’04 notes about all three rooms, “There are more machines than I know what to do with!” Whether buffing abs, arms, legs or chest strike your fancy, the new equipment promises to transform, with time, an athletically intrepid Harvardian into a hulking mass of muscle—or at least a sweatier version of his or her former self.

In the cardio room overlooking the already-impressive lap and therapeutic pools, the whirring of the shiny new apparatus may be heard daily. Multitudes of students, ranging from earnest freshmen to seasoned law schoolers, arrive armed with their Discmen, class sourcebooks and magazines of choice, ready to hop on any of the new Precor ellipticycles, treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines or Stairmasters. The smell of sweat, the chorus of heavy breathing and the clatter of the occasional falling Walkman, all make for a tense atmosphere, as do the inevitable lines one encounters for a turn on the equipment.

“I think the renovations are really great, but it’s made the MAC so much more popular,” says Alexandra N. Yurkovic ’04. “Before, you could go at almost any time of the day and get a machine right away, but now you’re pretty much gonna wait.”

Competition at Harvard apparently even exists at the MAC, as many anxious gym-goers bypass the machine sign-up sheets to sneak onto an ellipticycle and attempt to skip the usual 30 minute wait. Adds Alex S. Grodd ‘04, “It went from being disgusting and unsafe to decent. But now that it’s decent, it’s too crowded, so you have to go at off-peak hours.”

Despite the crowds, renovations at the MAC have been a boon. With the attraction of new machines and a more modern workout environment, other athletic facilities offered by the gym, such as exercise classes, have seen new boosts in registration. Kickboxing, Cardio Jam and Yoga, to name a few, offer an alternative to pumping iron or Precor-ing to one’s heart’s content. The MAC’s newfound popularity may have resulted in longer lines, but the renovations make a workout worth the wait.

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