By Ariel Ransom
Inside the walls of the Brookhaven Gymnasium, campus athletes gather in brightly lit training areas, sprint to locker rooms carrying bags of training gear, and converse in groups about the future games of the season.
However, the main goal that campus athletes focus on as they enter the Brookhaven Gymnasium is the intensity of their respective rigorous training sessions. The physical discipline that athletic players undergo aid not only in achieving winning goals or broken records, but a mentality that promotes a healthier lifestyle.
“Kids who participate in teams have to be in good physical condition.” Kevin Foley, the Interim College Director of Athletics and Master of Science in Public Health, said. “It [sports teams] depends on the focus, but Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, and Track need players in good physical condition.”
Foley clarifies that even though exercise for sports on campus varies between the physical conditioning and activity involved, that working on the essential areas of the cardiovascular system, agility, and strength of players is crucial.
“A lot [of training exercises] are running slow and fast in bursts, and a lot of stretching. Some [athletes] do weights for strength, push-ups, or sit-ups.” Foley said. “Baseball and Basketball players do Latters, which is good for agility and balance. Pitchers focus on their legs and upper body, while basketball player focus on strength and power.”
The intensity of training becomes second nature to sports players, as their bodies begin to adapt to the physical challenges of exercising. However, preparing for a competition against challengers in sports demands an extensive warmup.
“I run long distances, it helps with the muscles in my legs.” John Seskus, Men’s Track and Field athlete and Men’s Cross Country player, said. “It [running] increases my stamina over time.”
In addition to undertaking rigorous warmups before games and diverse training exercises, sports players utilize the weight room in the downstairs section of Brookhaven Gymnasium. The weight room has an artillery of machinery that aids in isolating a desired body section for improvement or an individual can work on every body part with the use of weight machines.
“I go in the weight room. I do legs, running, anything to do with stamina. Core and abs too.” Majestic Temple, soon-to-be Exercise Science Major and Men’s Track and Field player, said.
Even though the weight room is an excellent area for physical training, individuals can workout in the comfort of their home. Some athletes participate in simple exercises that yield dramatic results, and these exercises do not have to be done in the public of the weight rooms.
“I like to do squats, to get my butt up.” Galvin J. Biggs, Men’s Track and Field athlete and Criminal Justice Major, said. “So when I’m running I don’t pull nothing in my butt.”
Through the benefit of extraneous training and participation on athletic teams, jocks have a sense for “living a healthier lifestyle,”. Without the physical activity involved in campus curriculars, some athletes would fall into unhealthy habits.
“If I didn’t run, I’d probably be on the couch eating potato chips.” Temple said. “I love track, I’m mad focused about it.”
Unfortunately, not all athletes are dedicated to living healthier lifestyles. Sports players could be leading a “double life,” filled with poor diet choices, and these choices could go unnoticed by coaches and fellow sports players.
“I can’t be ideal and say every player has a healthy lifestyle, who knows what they’re doing.” Foley said. “But if they’re a high level player, they know eating and being healthy is important.”
The prestigious physical glory of athletes is attainable, and with dedication to a healthier life of exercise and eating, fitness is possible. The Brookhaven Gymnasium is open during college hours to anyone willing to make a healthy change, and athletic teams on campus are eager for new recruits.