A Newbie’s Guide to Being New: The Athletic Centre

If you’re like me, a big barrier to trying something new is being that person that’s standing in the middle of the hallway with no idea where they’re going or what they’re supposed to be doing. If you’re like me, you’ll pull out your cellphone and pretend to be super-engaged in text messaging. I’m operating under the assumption that I’m not the only one who feels like this and responds to new situations and environments this way. Please don’t let me be wrong!
Forever alone meme.
Forever alone?
I’ve often been held back by an aversion to those awkward situations. I’m hoping to prevent such “fish-out-of-water” feelings from stopping you from exploring our campus athletic centres (that you’re paying part of your tuition towards) by presenting to you: The Newbie’s Guide to Being New Part 1: The Athletic Centre THE WHERE Also known as the AC, this is the rather aesthetically unappealing building on the corner of Huron and Harbord. It’s a lot more interesting inside. You may have had an exam here in the past and probably didn’t enjoy that experience, so why not replace it with a more positive one?
The Athletic Centre viewed from the corner of Harbord and Huron.
Don't judge a book by its cover, right?
  When you enter the Athletic Centre from Harbord St. you’re going to walk past the pool gallery (did you know we have the only Olympic-size pool in the city?!) and the swag-shop and make your way to the turnstiles. This is a great opportunity to be anti-social since all you need to do is swipe your TCard and walk on through. No human interaction necessary. Ok, you’ve made it. You are INSIDE the Athletic Centre and even PAST the turnstiles. What now? From here, your basic options are the Strength and Conditioning Centre (SCC) which you’ll find straight ahead, or the field house which is up the stairs.
Drawing depicting view of Athletic Centre past the turnstiles. SCC straight ahead, stairs on the right with field house upstairs and change rooms downstairs.
This is probably a poor representation… but it’s enough to get you where you need to go!
The SCC is the room full of medieval-looking contraptions and is usually also full of people. Look out for a follow-up post on surviving the SCC in the near future. Anyhow, that’s where you’re going to go if you want to lift heavy things and “make gains” (read as: build muscle).
Weightlifting training plan printout.
Speaking of making gains… my Olympic weightlifting class is ramping up! LOVE IT. This is the program my coach created for us. Well, it’s one of a few pages.
The field house, on the other hand, is a big open space with a track, multi-function courts and fitness equipment that is scattered throughout the room (it’s a really big room). The openness of the space makes this a great place to start if the congestion in the gym makes you anxious. You’ll find cardio machines, mats, a pull-up bar and other fun surprises. NOTE: Rules in both these spaces are NO photography (which is why you’re forced to endure my memes and stick figures) and NO bags or personal belongings. Need a change room? Take the stairs to the bottom. You’ll find these and lockers. Don’t forget a lock!
Devastated girl meme with text overlay: "Brought valuables. Forgot lock."
Don’t be this girl.
THE HOW Still not eager to give it a try? Bring a friend! I love to get in some extra training with friends in the field house. Or, another great way to get acquainted with any athletic centre is taking a class –like me! You’d be surprised how many different classes are offered, they have everything from circus silks to synchronized swimming. You can find the full list here: http://www.athletics.utoronto.ca/registered-programs.htm Girls, if you want to take advantage of the SCC while it’s less populated, why not visit during women-only hours? You can find those here: http://physical.utoronto.ca/docs/drop-in-programs-schedules-fees-forms/strength-and-conditioning-schedule-fall-2015-(september-14-december-13).pdf?sfvrsn=0 THE WHY Why do you want to go to the Athletic Centre?
  1. To take advantage of a membership non-U of T folks pay a lot of money for! To explore one of the many facilities and services U of T has to offer
  2. To do something active
  3. To meet new people!
  4. Because it’s a great, dynamic space
  5. …There’s a Starbucks if worst comes to worst?
I hope that makes the whole experience of exploring the AC a little less daunting and encourages some of you to go check out the facility. J In the meantime… On October 30th, I encourage you to pay the Varsity Centre a visit! MoveU is hosting a “Scary Skate” from 7:30-9PM and it’s FREE. Having said that, if you bring a non-perishable food item, you get a surprise gift! Costumes are encouraged and some skates are available for rent. Hope to see you there! http://www.physical.utoronto.ca/Event/2015/10/15/scary-skate  

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