the wellness champion the coach

Jan 31, 2011 - A father of five, Aurelius Henderson is used to running around. .... Pictured above (L to R): Chris Dell'Amore '11, Javier Magana '14, and Dave.
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Fitness BY ALETA MAYNE

Building more than muscle at the new Trudy Fitness Center There’s no other spot on campus where, on a given day, you’ll find an alumnus from the Class of ’41, the president of the rugby club, a staff member from the accounting department, and a geography professor. Not only can they be found in the same building, but they’re also all sweating it out in tandem. The campus’s focus on fitness has no boundaries, and since the opening of the new Trudy Fitness Center in January, Colgate’s collective physique has been pumped up even more.

These vignettes — featuring some of Trudy’s newbies,

regulars, and lifelong exercise devotees — depict the newest driving force behind Colgate’s reputation as one of the fittest college campuses in America.

The wellness champion As co-chair of the university’s Wellness Initiative, Mark Thompson — who is also director of counseling and psychological services — knows the strong correlation between physical and emotional health. He notes that the popularity of the Trudy Fitness Center has already begun to benefit the Wellness Initiative, which encourages balanced lifestyles within the Colgate community. Physical fitness is just one spoke in the wellness wheel, but Thompson hopes that the new fitness center will serve as an entryway into a comprehensively healthy lifestyle for campus and community members. Thompson doesn’t just preach the power of physical health — at least four days a week, he can be found on an elliptical machine or doing calisthenics, either at 6:30 a.m. or at the noontime hour reserved for faculty and staff. “When I work out, I feel more mentally focused because I’ve had the chance to discharge stress,” he said. “We know from research that when people are exercising regularly, that has a positive effect on stress, anxiety, and mood.”

The coach With space-age–looking machines and a regular crowd of musclemen deadlifting hundreds of pounds, it’s easy to understand why there can be an intimidation factor on Trudy’s firstfloor weight room. But Ryan Baker, head volleyball coach, is helping people shed that notion. Baker is one of two varsity coaches who have been leading orientation classes to get people accustomed to using the new machines. The sessions have been so well received that many more had to be scheduled, and Baker has seen a boost in attendance and selfassurance in those whom he’s instructed. “It was really great to see their confidence go up — especially females, who often shy away from the weights,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of pleasure out of watching their facial expressions change because they could do it.” It’s also been gratifying to see those who participated in his orientation sessions working out on the weight floor on their own afterward, Baker said. All photography by Andrew Daddio

A strong proponent of pumping iron, Baker said the new Hoist machines are designed to glide with the body’s natural movements. “They take a lot of pressure off your back because your feet move with you; biomechanically, it’s much better for you,” he explained. “Strength is important, especially as you get older and need to maintain your bone density.” His efforts and the orientation sessions have clearly paid off: now, there are days when more women can be seen weightlifting at Trudy than men.

The motivator

Suzie Meres can attest to the empowerment of knowledge when it comes to getting familiar with the fitness center. Meres is business manager for Greek Letter Operations in the accounting office. “As soon as I walked in, I felt overwhelmed,” she said of her first time visiting the new facility. “There were a lot of monster machines, and I thought, ‘Ugh, this isn’t for me.’” But, she signed up for an orientation session with Baker, and she encouraged her co-workers to do the same. With Baker’s guidance, Meres learned how to use the machines and realized that they were something she could incorporate into her exercise regimen. “It w