A beginner’s guide to navigating UK’s gyms


University of Kentucky students have access to different types of workout equipment housed in the Johnson Center on campus. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff File Photo

Kelly Benzenhoefer

By this time, most new year’s resolutioners have abandoned their goal of going to the gym. Contrarily, there are others who are just beginning to make their way into the gym as the crowds thin out. Even more so, there are plenty of people who want to go to the gym but don’t know where to start.

For anyone who feels as though the previous sentence accurately describes their current relationship with the gym, have no fear. The gym can be an intimidating place to visit, but UK’s Alumni Gym and Johnson Center are equipped with a variety of training equipment, group fitness classes and friendly employees to ensure a comfortable workout experience for all.

“[The Johnson Center] is a welcoming environment where everyone just wants you to do your best, and a no judgement zone. Five pounds or 100 pounds, no one minds,” UK Integrated Strategic Communication junior and JC employee Claire O’Neill said.

Both gyms offer a unique workout experience with different equipment and resources available free to UK students as long as they are enrolled in at least one on-campus class for at least one credit hour and show their UK student Wildcard for admittance.

The bigger of the two campus gyms, the Johnson Center, includes basketball, racquetball and wallyball courts, as well as a climbing wall, an indoor track, a two-floor fitness area with weight training and cardio machines, group fitness and cycling studios, and a stretching area, according to UK Campus Recreation and Wellness Facilities Director Kathy Rose.

Alumni Gym includes some different equipment and machines not found at the JC, such as the Queenax Functional Trainer, which, according to Rose, resembles an adult-sized jungle gym.

“Alumni Gym cardio machines also have built in entertainment apps, such as Netflix and Hulu, that allow students to watch their favorite shows while working out,” Rose said.

Various group fitness classes are offered throughout the day, which serve as a great opportunity to work out in a group with guidance from a certified instructor. Group fitness classes range from Yoga, Cycling, PiYo, Zumba Battle Ropes and Kickboxing. The newest group fitness class being offered is a Performance Cycle class that uses the Stages Flight System, according to Campus Recreation & Wellness Fitness Director Casey Gilvin.

For those who may prefer working out alone but do not know how to use gym equipment and machines properly, free help to learn is available. According to Gilvin, the UK Fitness Department offers Equipment Orientation Sessions led by Certified Personal Trainers.

Equipment Orientation Instructors can tailor the session to meet any individual’s specific needs, or those who wish can take part in a Complete Fitness Center Orientation, a Cardio Equipment Orientation, a Functional Equipment Orientation or a Barbell/Free Weight Orientation, Gilvin added. An appointment is required to participate in any orientation and can be made online at https://www.uky.edu/recwell/fitness/equipment-orientation.

“We have many opportunities to learn how to work out safely and effectively. Most of these opportunities are free,” Gilvin said. “There’s a great deal of options in either facility that are there to help you reach your goal.”