PAC-10 fitness challenge encourages students to exercise

USC students were geared up and excited this week about the Pac-10 Fitness Challenge, during which the Lyon Center also offers special fitness classes, massages and programs for students.

“It is been a lot of fun and high energy throughout the Lyon Center and all week,”
said Justine Gilma, director of fitness and recreational facilities. “It is marketing tool and university promotion to inspire people to work out and generate USC school spirit.”

The Pac-10 competition is in its fourth year. It promotes students to live a healthier lifestyle by recoding every minute they work out.

USC students said they were enthused about the competition.

“It’s fun to have everybody be enthusiastic about it. I always want to beat UCLA and it’s always fun to have that crosstown rivalry,” said Emily Friedberg, a junior majoring in health and humanity and Spanish. “It’s also great to prove that we are the most fit, because so much of the student body goes to the gym all the time.”

Friedberg said at one point it got so crowded at the registration table on Wednesday that she had actually had to turn people away at the competition’s closing time.

Last year, USC faculty participated with 19,536 minutes of working out while students participated with 125,8724 minutes. While other participating alumni and supporters also recorded their workout times for the competition, USC brought in more than 170,000 minutes of workout time for the competition

Gilman said USC has recorded the workouts of more than 1,200 students so far.

“We have gotten the word out about the competition through e-mails, Facebook, the Lyon Center lobby registration, word of mouth. We are improving each year,” said Director of Recreational Sports and Programs Gabriel Valenzuela.

Maddie Mejia, a senior majoring in architecture, has helped promote the competition for three years. She said the best part is seeing the amount of student enthusiasm.

“I think when students see how close we are especially with UCLA they get really into it and they tell more people. It’s awesome,” she said.

Certified massage therapist and USC alumna Erin Garberson said she loves being a massage therapist at the gym during this time

“The students are pretty excited. The assignment sheet was filled. It makes me feel good to really help people and make people feel better,” she said.

Garberson also said she hopes students realize working out is not just exercising — it’s a mental activity as well. Massages and any type of fitness are great ways for students to release stored emotion.

“If students are exercising to the point of exhaustion, [that] is not good,” Garberson said. “It is good to exercise to relieve stress, but it should be within reason.”

Meijia — who loves running — said she believes that the Pac-10 competition provides a great learning experience for students for how to better take care of themselves.

“I love [encouraging] people into doing fitness. It’s personal, but as a school doing it together … is awesome too,” she said.