The good, the bad and the ugly of Unipol

This week we are checking in with the sweaty, grunting and largely ignored student fitness desk, where we know that being a University of Otago student comes with more perks than just a six-figure student debt and a decent chance to score a drunken pash at Boogie Nites. We also know that you can do a lot more at the much-maligned Forsyth Barr Stadium than hurl abuse at the much-maligned Ma’a Nonu or bump and grind to nonsense dubstep wubs while getting douched with luminescent paint.

If you didn’t know, all University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students are lucky enough to get free access to the awesome facilities of the gyms and sports courts at the Unipol Recreation Centre down at the stadium, which everyone should take advantage of. They say that healthy body = healthy mind, and this could prove useful when it comes to your life-defining Health Sciences exams in a few months.

Owing to my transient nature, awkward social graces and the resulting lack of many close friends, I found myself with little to do over the recent holidays, so I decided to finally make good on my New Year’s resolution from 2009 and start hitting the gym in an effort to get in shape for summer. Unfortunately, seeing as though several summers have passed since that drunken resolution to one day bench press double my bodyweight and having been living the typical student lifestyle recently, means I have consumed hundreds of pizzas and Quarter Pounders, thousands of fatty chips and skinny fries and uncountable litres of beer and V, making the task of getting back in shape that much harder. Thankfully, because of my granddad, I have a healthy portion of Dutch genetics, which means I am naturally tall and skinny with a good metabolism so I never seem to gain much weight even after 10 years of heavy drinking and stoned midnight Dorito munching.

So after my exams were over and my final assignments were handed in, I decided it was long overdue to head down to Unipol and check things out. What I found was a good place to bump into ex-classmates that don’t want to talk to me anymore, and ex-girlfriends who still do. But I digress: looking like a complete amateur, I did a few circuits, tried all the different weights and machines, managed a few kilometres on a treadmill, then became thoroughly knackered. Maybe a Kaboom V and a Nerdalicious wasn’t the best pre-workout meal. I waited two days to recover before returning.

Better prepared this time (I had a banana and pinched a few of my flatmate’s Weetbix for breakfast), I checked out a few of the pump and core classes, where the instructors are very attractive and enthusiastic, if not prone to mispronouncing foreign students’ names. I haven’t got involved with this yet, but there are heaps of opportunities to play in social netball, basketball, soccer, badminton and volleyball teams. You can also hire other types of sporting equipment, like surfboards, fishing rods and ski and snowboard gear for that upcoming mid-semester break trip to Queenstown. The Plaza Cafe has lots of good healthy food and makes pretty decent coffee. You can book a personal session with one of the exercise leaders to show you how to safely and effectively work out and there is even a physiotherapy clinic if you ignore their advice and snap your shoulder trying to lift too heavy too soon.

While I am only a month into my new fitness regimen, I feel I’ve already taken my PhD in Broscience and have formed quite a good routine. I’m feeling a lot better already, even if the mirror doesn’t quite agree yet. However, I have observed (and committed) a lot of noob gym sins, so I have taken it upon myself to draw up a list of common sense “ten commandments” for using the Unipol facilities, that, if we all adhere to them, should make for a more pleasant (or less unpleasant) Unipol experience for everyone.

The Ten Commandments of Unipol

Thou shalt not just casually walk away from a bench or machine, leaving it covered in your gross, salty, booze sweat. See those bottles of green stuff? Clean that thing.

Thou shalt not make it super obvious you are checking out that hottie while they are face down, ass up on the leg curl machine. But don’t think sunglasses are acceptable in the gym either.

Thou shalt not attempt to impersonate Hulk Hogan by strutting around wearing a weightlifter’s belt then struggle to complete two sets of three with five-kg dumbbells. Eat your vitamins.

Thou shalt not show up to work out carrying an Allpress latte and wearing jeans, socks-in-crocs and a faux-Lacoste polo. Surely there must be a sale at Rebel Sport soon?

Thou shalt not work out your abs for only five minutes every other week and then drink a few trays of SoGo every weekend and wonder why you don’t have a cut six-pack.

Thou shalt not sit inactive on the leg press machine, talking on the phone for 10 minutes to your flatmate, bitching about your other flatmates. Have a flat meeting. At home.

Thou shalt not listen to music while using an elliptical if it means constantly fumbling with your oversized, first-gen tablet. Try an iPod nano if you must listen to Taylor Swift for motivation.

Thou shalt not stare disapprovingly at my shoes. Yes, they are bright green Pumas and, yes, they are dope as hell and, yes, they were on sale at Rebel Sport.

Thou shalt not talk about weights in pounds instead of kilograms to make it sound like you can lift more. We use the metric system! How many ounces was your protein shake?

Thou shalt not skip leg day! This is important even if it means that spreading your legs to masturbate more effectively becomes very painful. Deal with it.
This article first appeared in Issue 15, 2014.
Posted 6:52pm Sunday 13th July 2014 by Daniel Lormans.