You are on page 1of 17

The SAC Fitness Center

UNC Charlotte
September 2 - September 19, 2013 TAYLOR DOVE. DR. ASHYLN WILLIAMS. ENG 1102
An overview of the makeup of a fitness center including the location, the people that make it up, and the things that are important to them.

Table of Contents
The Figured World of Fitness ...................................... 1 Description of SAC Fitness ...................................... 1 Layout Of SAC Fitness Center ................................ 3 Rules & Conventions ............................................... 4 The People that Inhabit SAC ....................................... 5 Meet a UNCC Fitness Member ................................ 5 "Sacred" Items & Objects ............................................ 6 Communities in the Fitness Center ............................. 7 My Experience at SAC Fitness .................................... 8 Observation Notes....................................................... 9 Observation 1 .................................................... 9-10 Observation 2 ................................................... 11-12 Observation 3 ................................................... 13-14

The Figured World of Fitness
Figured world: place driven by socialization and made up of people that behave in a certain way in response to the "culture" of that world. In a figured world there can be many different types of "actors" or personalities, and the actors can often be grouped into categories. A student fitness center is a world where UNC Charlotte college students, faculty, and staff, come independently or in groups to improve their health. Many activities can occur here depending on the equipment one decides to use. The fitness center is like a painter’s canvas with all the mediums one could possibly need, it is just up to the student to utilize these "mediums" to create what they desire. By "create what they desire" I mean attain their goals whether they are to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle, strengthen their muscles to ultimately creating the body they want. When you go to the gym, commonly I believe the ratio of men to women is unequal, men being higher in frequency, however I do not think the gym is common to one type of person, but instead a gym is filled with many people with common goals. Goal commonality is what creates the discourse communities in a fitness center.

Layout of the SAC Fitness Center
M I R R O R S

CARDIOVASCULAR MACHINE

SECTION

M I R R O R S

STRENGTH MACHINE SECTION

Office Space
M I Left Side of R Weightlifting R Section O R S

Right Side of Weightlifting Section

Front Desk

M I R R O R S

MIRRORS

1| SAC Fitness Center

Entra

Description of SAC Fitness
As you walk into the SAC Fitness Center, you immediately come to a check-in desk (see Figure 1) where one or two employees are stationed. This is where members give their student IDs or membership cards to be checked-in" to the gym.
Figure 1. Front Desk

Overall, there are three main divisions in the gym based on equipment: free weights, strength machines, and cardiovascular equipment. The first section you enter is the Free Weight Section, which is divided into left and right subsections. The left side (see Figure 2) includes mostly dumbbells and benches, while the right side (see Figure 3) includes bench presses, squat racks, and a multipurpose rack. Along each wall of the gym, except for the very
Figure 3. Right Side of Free Weight Section

Figure 2. Left Side of Free Weight Section

2

back wall are mirrors. These aid members in performing the correct form during exercises. There is one water fountain in the fitness center, and two vending machines with drinks. The second section is the Strength Machine section (see Figure 4). This includes machines such as the leg press, shoulder press hamstring curl. These machines work to help members increase their muscular strength, and provide more control to the performer. They are located in a line after the free weight section.

Figure 4. Strength Machine Section

Figure 3. Cardiovascular Equipment Section

The third and final section is the Cardiovascular Equipment section (see Figure 5), which includes treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, and rowing machines. This section is located in the back of the gym, farthest away from the entrance (front desk).

3| SAC Fitness Center

Rules & Conventions
Rules unique to SAC Fitness Center are that you must be a member of UNC Charlotte in order to join. Otherwise you must be a friend or family member of a UNCC member. Also, you must wear a shirt that has sleeves. The gym is open during the Fall and Spring semesters Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6AM 11PM; Tuesday and Thursday from 7AM - 11PM; Saturday and Sunday 12PM-11PM. In many public places, sweating profusely, poor odor, loud music, and loud grunting are actions that are unacceptable and out of the “norm.” However, in a fitness center, these behaviors are accepted. Intolerable actions in a gym would be disrespecting others, not cleaning equipment after use, wearing inappropriate attire, and improper use of equipment. Inappropriate attire would be sleeveless tops, skirts, dress pants, shoes that are not close toed, or large jewelry. In a fitness center, there is a certain type of "work-out etiquette" and "work-out respect." "Work-out etiquette" is being responsible and respectful of other students in the gym. For example, washing down equipment after you use it, asking to see if someone is finished with a piece of equipment before you use it, asking someone for help if you do not know how to use certain equipment. "Work-out respect" is admiring others in the gym for something they perform that you find to be profound. In gyms, there is a certain feeling of wanting others to do well around you. However, there is also competition present in a gym with the philosophy of trying to "out do" a peer with the goal of improving yourself. Communication in a gym is predominately composed of encouraging or motivating others, asking for help or guidance in performing an exercise, and communicating to staff issues or questions. Socialization would be meeting fellow gym members, or running into friends and talking while at the gym.

4

The People that Inhabit SAC Fitness
Actor: a person, or member of the figured world, that takes on a certain role in the figured world and performs actions in response to their surroundings.  Staff Members: Responsible for verifying that the people coming into the SAC Fitness Center are legitimate members. Duties involve assisting members who need help, cleaning equipment, providing towels and t-shirts for those who need them, and making sure all members are following the rules. Student Members: These are active students at UNCC that come to the gym to be physically active. Their level of focus and level of experience varies per student. Faculty and Staff Members: These are professors and other staff on UNCC Campus that come to the fitness center to work out. Guest Members: These are people that are friend or family to a UNCC Fitness Member. They have a desire to accompany their friend/family member to the gym. They must pay $5 to get a guest pass that will last them 1 day.

  

Meet a UNCC Fitness Member!
Click on link below! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sxUqCrS4js&list=HL1 378931654&feature=mh_lolz

5| SAC Fitness Center

"Sacred" Items & Objects
Artifact: an item or idea that "actors" value with high importance and that drives their behavior, knowledge, confidence, and emotions  Water bottles: Water is imperative to one's ability to workout. Many members of the fitness center either bring water bottles, water jugs, or plastic water bottles to fill at the water station, or they use the water fountain. They use the water to stay hydrated throughout their workout. Headphones and music playing device: Members seem to listen to music as they workout for various purposes. Music helps fitness center members to become more motivated by pumping them up which in turn helps them achieve a better workout. Others use the music to make their workout more enjoyable. Examples of these devices would be an iPod or a cell phone. Towel: Members seem to use these towels as a tool to get rid of sweat from their face, eyes, and other parts of the body. This is important to equipment use to make sure hands do not slip, and also is a convenient service offered by SAC Fitness Center. Sanitation wipes: No one enjoys using a piece of equipment that contains bodily fluids on it. Not only is this a danger to ones health, but it also is just plain right disgusting. Thus, sanitation wipes are absolutely essential to the functionality of a gym. If someone does not wipe down their equipment, they are creating a hazard to other members and may cause someone to stop working out, and in turn disturb the flow of the gym.

6

Communities in the Fitness Center
Discourse community: a group of people that share common ways of thinking, doing, and communicating. (1) Employees and Staff of SAC Fitness Center: This community is made up of students that work at SAC Fitness. They share the responsibilities of serving gym members as well as keeping the gym clean and safe. They know eachother and constantly interact with eachother because they are co-workers. Furthermore, they share a great knowledge of fitness. (2) Adult Members: These are older members who have a different level of fitness than most student members. One would say they have a fitness level lower than most student members because of their age. (3) Student Members: This community makes of the majority of all members at the Fitness Center. Most of them are younger and have a high potential level of fitness. Many of them are friends outside of the gym and respect their peers inside of the gym. (4) Members going to fitness center to maintain fitness & health: Of all members, these members are at a fitness level they are happy with. They go to the gym to continue maintaining this level of fitness. (5) Members going to fitness center to get into better shape: These members are at a fitness level they are not necessarily happy with.They are going to the gym to improve themselves. Fitness levels vary at this point. Some members may be very fit and are striving to reach higher goals, while others may be unfit but are trying to work hard to improve themselves. Either way, this group is characterized by determination. (6) Members going to fitness center as a social event: Some members go to the gym to talk and interact with others. While

7| SAC Fitness Center

working out is important to them, they treat their time at the gym as an opportunity to socialize with others.

My Experience at SAC
As a fitness member at UNCC SAC Fitness Center, I have had a very enjoyable experience. I usually always go to the gym with one of my friends (girl or guy) and use them as a work out partner. I find this helps motivate me to go and to work out harder when I am at the Fitness Center. I occasionally run into friends at the SAC Fitness Center, but I wouldn't call my trips to the gym a "social event." I would put myself in the discourse community of working out to lose weight and get into shape. Sacred items to me are definitely a water bottle and sometimes a music playing device. I find that I am typically one of the few girls that uses the Free Weight Section of the Fitness Center. While I feel confident in my use of weights, I feel that before I gained knowledge about weight training, going into the free weight section was very intimidating. This was due to the fact that the section is usually completely filled with males, and there was a fear present within me that I would be judged. Furthermore, I failed to realize the importance of including weight training in your daily workout regardless of gender.

8

Observation Notes
OBSERVATION 1 - EVENING Wednesday, September 4, 2013 7:20pm - 7:50pm 7:20 - The fitness center is not packed. One male employee sits at check-in desk and scans people in by taking their 49er ID. He is talking to one of the fitness class instructors (blonde-haired, fit woman). He seems to be an older student with tan skin and darker hair. His uniform is a green polo shirt. 7:20 (continued) - When a visitor walks in, there is a white board (see Figure 6.) that gives the gym hours and says, "If you're not sleevin, you're leavin!!!" This slogan is an attempt to communicate, and reinforce the rule that everyone that works out in the gym must be wearing a sleeved shirt. Several groups of 2+ boys are lifting together. A few boys are lifting independently. Two boys working out independently are sharing the same rack. Every girl is on a cardio machine or doing exercises on the floor.

Figure 6. Whiteboard

7:23 - Two girls go to the squat rack and begin a series of squats. These are the only girls doing free weights. They seem to be taking their workout seriously. 7:31 – A social interactions occurs between a boy and group of boys. They appear to be friends that just noticed each other at the gym. A second employee arrives and sits at the check-in desk with male employee. She appears to be a female student with blonde hair. 7:35 - Gym becomes more packed to the point that every cardio machine is being used. All females are on cardio machines

9| SAC Fitness Center

except for one male. Cardio machines include: treadmills, elliptical, row machines, stair climbers, stair steppers, and stationary bikes. Within a 5-minute period, several males weigh themselves on the scale, which is located in the corner of gym. 7:40 - Girls enter the fitness center in a group of 2 and head to cardio area. A male then enters the center independently. The male puts his belongings down in a cubicle and begins to do leg exercises on a strength machine. 7:45 - One female works out with several males in the free weight section. She seems to be with a group of friends and they are socializing with each other as they work out. Males are teaching females different exercises using the weights. 7:50 - Gym is still consistently packed. No UNCC faculty and staff are working out; only people exercising appear to be students. Observation 1 Summary: Patterns that I seemed to notice were that females dominantly occupied cardio machines while males dominated free weight and weight machines. I also noticed that when a student exercised independently it was typically a male. Females seemed to come in pairs or groups of 3. Males tended to work collaboratively when they were using the bench press. When I observed people weighing themselves, I did not see any females use the scale, only males. Males tended to workout with males and females tended to workout with females. The employees seemed relatively stagnant and just checked people in. I didn't notice them going to help people, or asking if others needed assistance.

10

OBSERVATION 2 - LATE NIGHT Saturday, September 7, 2013 10:20pm - 10:50pm 10:20 - The fitness center is "deserted" in a sense as only 10-15 people are working out. Only one male employee is on duty and he sits at check-in desk and scans people in. Upbeat music is playing around fitness center. In this case the music falls within the "rock and roll" genre. 10:22 - Only 2 girls are in the gym at the time. Both are working out with a male partner. In the first pair, the male is instructing the female how to do different exercises. Seems to be a social event in a sense. The second pair seems to be working out independently while "spotting" each other. “Spotting” is standing near the person doing the exercises being ready to assist them if they cannot handle the amount of weight they are using. Both pairs of members are located in the free weight section. 10:29 - Two males are working out together. They seem to be taking turns on different strength machines. All others except for "male-female duos" are working out independently. All members seem to be focused. Several members are listening to music on iPods. 10:35 - Older student male walks in with what seems to be his younger brother (middle/high school). They walk over to the bench press and the older brother begins to teach the little brother how to lift properly and takes him through a set of exercises. 10:37 - One male member approaches the front desk and asks for a towel. Employee hands him a small gray towel and the fitness member uses the towel to wipe sweat from his face and neck. 10:41 - One male using the squat rack looks in the mirror as if he is analyzing his form. As he goes to squat for a second time, he

11 | S A C F i t n e s s C e n t e r

readjusts his back sticking his hips out farther. He seems to be trying to perfect his form. 10:50 - Gym is very empty. Only about 7 members remain. Observation 2 Summary: Overall, the gym seems to be much less packed on a Saturday night. Maybe this is due to social events going on and commuting students not having to be on campus. With less people in the fitness center, there seems to be less communication between fitness center members. Those who are at the gym seem very focused and were in either very good shape or working out diligently in an effort to get into shape. The free weight section of the gym was the section most frequently used. There was only one staff member on duty.

12

OBSERVATION 3 - MORNING OBSERVATION Tuesday, September 9, 2013 6:10am - 6:40am 6:10 - Not very many people are in the gym yet (10-15 people). Some adults are working out. These adults could possibly be UNCC faculty and staff or family members of staff. Most people are using strength machines. One staff member is on duty and is walking around being sure that everything is set up for the day. 6:12 - Staff member returns back to front desk and stays on duty to check fitness members in. 6:20 - Gym seems to be filled with mostly female students and two adults. The members’ main focus still seems to be on cardio machines, and strength machines. There is rarely anyone in the free weight section of the gym. All members are working out independently. 6:30: More members are in the gym now. Not as packed as the "Observation 1: Evening", but is getting there. More males have arrived now. Ratio of males to females is pretty equivalent now. 6:33 - A line builds up at the water fountain as several students fill up water and take sips at the fountain. Most people are still working out independently except for a pair of girls who are next to each other on an elliptical. 6:37 - Several fitness members grab a mat, which is hanging on the left most wall, and begin doing abdominal exercises on the gym floor. They do this independently. After they finish with their mats they take a sanitation wipe and wipe down their mats before hanging them back up. This sanitation routine seems common for all equipment that fitness members use. 6:40 – The gym is getting more packed as time goes on. There is still one employee. More pairs of fitness members walk in. While

13 | S A C F i t n e s s C e n t e r

cardio machines seem to be dominated in use, several people use the free weight section. Observation 3 Summary: It seems that in the early mornings, some adults work out at the SAC fitness center. Maybe this is because they come before the classes they have to teach begin or before their work shift begins. Oddly, more females seemed to be in the fitness center, and cardio machines seemed to be the most popular machine used. I noticed the etiquette of members cleaning the equipment after they were done using it. There was very little communication or socialization. Most members seemed to be working out independently and were focus

14