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Get a good workout without going to Halas


Over the past year, the Loyola student’s overall experience at the Halas Recreational Center on the Lake Shore Campus has suffered. In the summer of 2012, all gym equipment was jammed into the dingy basement of Halas, where it remains.  The current gym is small, dark, and overcrowded. It looks more like a gym from a Rocky Balboa movie than a modern workout facility.

I  polled 15 Loyola students, asking.  if they are happy with the current Halas gym. A staggering 14 o

ut of 15 students said that they are not satisfied with Halas gym. Many students simply refuse to workout in Halas and are seeking alternatives.

I have good news for them. You can get a great workout without having to walk through the obstacle course of construction through campus in route to Halas. There are several exercises and programs that are tailored for workouts you can do without a gym.

As a member of the Men’s Soccer team here at Loyola, I work out every day, often at home. I will provide you with some of my workout ideas and also exercises given to student-athletes by Dave Vitel, Loyola University of Chicago Assistant Athletics Director- Sports Performance. Dave is a workout guru; before he came to Loyola he was the strength and conditioning coach for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Everyone has different levels of fitness and physical capabilities. First, I will provide exercises that everyone can do at home. Simple push-ups are a great exercise. They work your arms, chest and abs.

If regular push-ups get too easy for you, step it up a notch and do pike push-ups. These are more difficult than normal push-ups and work your muscles in a slightly different way. To do a pike push-up, you elevate your legs while you keep your hands on the ground. A couch is a good household item to use for this exercise. Place your toes on the arm of the couch, keep your legs straight, and your palms on the ground and execute a downward motion to complete the push-up. You will be in an almost semi hand stand when executing this exercise.

Body weight squats and step-ups are also good activities that can be done in the house. These work on flexibility and help you stay lean. You can do regular body weight squats, single leg squats, and jump squats. A jump squat is simply a squat but when you come up from each squat you explode upward with a jump. Do three sets of 15 with all body weight squats.

Step-ups are a good leg workout. You can execute a step-up using a firm chair or a stair. You do a step-up by placing one foot up on the stair or chair and then thrust your other leg upward to a ninety degree angle holding that position for a second and then back down. Do three sets of 15 for each leg.

Core and abdominal (abs) workouts are perfect exercises for the house. They are great for balance, strength, and cutting fat in the stomach and upper legs. There are countless core exercises. Planks and side planks cover most of your abdominal muscles. V-ups, leg holds, leg drops, sit-ups and scissors work your lower abs. For the upper and mid-section abdominal muscles, do crunches, toe touches, abdominal twists, and bicycles. Pick 4 of these exercises and try to do 15 each. If that is too easy, increase the amount of reps.

One of the great things about living in Chicago is that we have one of the coolest bike trails in the country. The Lake-Shore Drive trail provides a great place to run and bike; it also is a spectacular view. The path is 18.5 miles. It is a great alternative option to running on a treadmill in the dark basement of Halas.

I usually start my run at the Sullivan center on campus and run south on Sheridan until I reach the trail. You will run about 5 blocks until the trail starts on the left. To give you a frame of reference, running to Foster Beach and back from Loyola is about 3 miles total. If you want to precisely monitor exactly how far, how fast, and how many calories you are burning, I suggest you download the free app, Nike+ Running. This app allows you to set goals and track your progress.

If the above exercises seem like child’s play to you and you want a more intense in-house workout, consider buying the P90X workout program. This is an increasingly popular workout program in the United States. It is an extreme, body transforming, 90 day regiment. You are provided with workout videos, instructions, nutrition plan, and a calendar. This program can be 100% done in your house, there is no need to go to the gym. The total cost of the program is about $120. Find a friend or workout buddy to do the regiment with you. Having a workout partner will help you stay dedicated to the program and also split the cost.

Current Loyola Junior Grant Hoxworth completed the P90X challenge.

“It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I definitely saw results and felt like I was in great shape after finishing the program.”

To keep up to date with new exercises and techniques follow Loyola Ramblers (@LoyolaRamblers) on Twitter. They tweet videos of exercises demonstrated by Loyola student-athletes created by Dave Vitel. The videos are called the fit tip of the week. They can also be found on YouTube.

The above exercises are a great alternative to stay fit until the opening of the new and improved Halas center in May 2014. I sat down with Dr. Robert Kelly, Vice President for Student Development, to find out more details about the new Halas center. He assured me that students are going to want to work out in the new Halas. The gym will have separate floors for different workouts. On the upper floor there will be spin and cardio rooms. Halas will have huge glass windows like most of the new buildings on campus. When you are in the cardio rooms you can look out and see the campus. The free weights and workout equipment will be on the lower floor. Other features include a dance studio, stretching studio, renovated locker rooms, and an eight lane pool. The new Halas will also feature a smoothie and snack bar on the entrance level. This cafe will have healthy food items good for pre and post workouts.

One big concern and outrage of the Loyola student body has been the construction of the Norville center for athletics. To add to the student’s envy of Norville, Halas has been temporarily marginalized to a basement. I asked Dr. Kelly if the new Halas center will satisfy the student body and put the Norville tension to rest.

He answered, “I am confident students will approve of the new Halas. In fact, Halas is going to be so cool, athletics is going to say, why don’t we have all of this nice stuff?”


  • written by enock on September 5th, 2013
  • posted in News Editing

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.