Gym-goers find high-tech routes to exercise efficiently

As students return to Champaign–Urbana after a long winter break, they are met with the challenges of a new daily schedule.

For many, this includes a new fitness regime. While a dedicated few may continue their workouts during the holidays, many students are returning to the Activities and Recreation Center, or ARC, and other gyms across campus in hopes of finally sticking to that pesky, reoccurring New Year’s resolution: starting — and maintaining — an exercise routine throughout the second semester.

When it comes to devising a realistic fitness schedule, gym fanatics tend to have a few insider tips in order to get through even the most grueling of workouts.

So, in hopes of helping your return to the gym become a painless, enjoyable transition to wellness rather than a dreadful, agonizing experience, here are some of the top trends in gym gear that will alleviate your fear of fitness.

Entertainment and Music

Whether it be watching television or listening to music, having something to distract gym-goers from the fact they are actually exercising is essential for some students.

“There is no way I would ever get through my workout without my iPod,” said Molly Condon, sophomore in LAS. “If you don’t have a holder, it can be annoying to carry around with you, but either way, it’s pretty much a necessity.”

That is exactly why armbands are helpful to those who like to have their music with them at all times.

While other types exist (such as those you can clip on to workout pants) the armband seems to be more reliable and less likely to fall off, especially when running or using the elliptical machine.

Finally, they are also fairly cheap, usually ranging between $15 and $30, and are easy to find in most stores such as Target or Wal-Mart.


It is fairly safe to say that staying hydrated is one of the most important things to do when working out.

But how one opts to do so can end up having a large effect on not only your personal bank account, but also the environment.

Buying a stainless steel bottle is much more efficient than a plastic bottle in that it is larger to begin with, and will replace the need to buy those huge pallets of plastic water bottles altogether.

Although $20 might seem like a lot to pay for a water bottle, it will end up saving you money in the long run.

Personal Trainer

Although typical personal trainers can often cost a fortune, technology and iPhones have given exercise fanatics a wonderful gift: fitness applications or apps.

Apps such as “iFitness” and “Body Fitness Calculator” make it easy for users to access the best exercises for their workout goals.

Even more gender-specific apps are available such as “Shape-Little Black Dress” or “Men’s Health Workouts.”

“I use an app that explains how to do each exercise correctly,” said Mike Marik, sophomore in Aviation.

“It helps when you’re just starting a new workout routine or you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. It’s important because with a lot of exercises, if you don’t do them correctly, they don’t work.”


Another great tool for those who really want to keep track of their progress with a new workout is the “Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit.”

The kit, which comes with a sensor to be put in a pair of compatible Nike shoes, allows you to keep track of your fitness goals, count calories burned and save specific workouts or playlists.

“I just recently bought it, so I’m still figuring some of it out,” said Nicollette Khuans, junior in LAS.

“But so far, I love it, especially for when I go running. I love that it can tell how many calories you’ve burned and give you feedback on how well you’re keeping up with your routine.”