By Sofia Farooquee
The Anteater Recreation Center, also known as the ARC, is one of our university’s best assets. The two-story powerhouse gym houses almost every exercise machine possible, from traditional pulley to newer resistance band types, as well as an indoor track, basketball courts, back courts that can easily transform into volleyball or badminton courts and numerous rooms to play a variety of other sports. Even, if you forget to bring equipment, you can always just ask one of the associates at the Gear Up desk to borrow a ball or racquet. The ARC’s facilities and equipments are constantly being wiped down and reorganized by the hardworking staff. There are large televisions to distract and accompany you as you work out on a treadmill, elliptical, bike or rowing machine.
In addition, the ARC’s outdoor facilities consist of tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts and a half-sized Olympic swimming pool coupled with a kiddy-sized one. Behind the ARC, past the parking area, there are huge grass green fields where you can play football, baseball, soccer or even a fun-filled childhood game of freeze tag.
“I love working out here! I come here almost every day and it’s a great environment with great staff!” says ARC-goer Kaitlyn.
If group workouts are more of your thing, the ARC offers a variety of classes ranging from acrobatic gymnastics, fun sweat-breaking Zumba to early morning Studio Cycling. Alongside with the broad range of free complementary upbeat workout classes, there are a small handful of classes that you will need to pay for in order to join but from the likes of it, it should be worth every dollar invested. On the second floor of the ARC, there are dance studios where you can find festive butt-kicking classes such as abs&thighs, hip hop dancing or kickboxing. Or tone it down and sign up to relieve some stress by joining a calming yoga class, which are held a few times throughout the week.
Kickboxing is marked as one of the favorites among the group exercise classes. Kickboxing will definitely kick your new year into gear, no matter what your fitness experience may be. It is an aerobics-based class designed to build endurance, tone muscles and increase agility by quick punching and kicking combinations to the beat of abnormally fast music. By alternating high-intensity moves with slower-paced action, this workout really revs up the cardiovascular system. Kickboxing is a very intense form of cardio, so be sure to start out at your own pace. But once you get the fast-paced moves and heart-throbbing technique down, you will be on your way to achieving the beach body of your dreams, while also learning to perfect some kickass self-defense moves.
The kickboxing class consists of a 15 to 20 minute warm up filled with basic arm and leg stretches. Then a routine of jabs, punches and kicks are performed at a heart-pumping pace that will surely leave your forehead painted with endless beady sweat drops coupled with an adrenaline rush as you fight to Rihanna’s “We Fell in Love in a Hopeless Place.”
“The music makes it fun to punch and kick your way through hard cardio … Kickboxing makes you feel like a boxer, but you never have to worry about getting knocked out,” says a regular at the kickboxing class. For $30 a quarter, anybody who is interested in having fun while getting fit can give the 50-minute class a try.
On the opposite end of the fitness spectrum, ARC staff member Sheri enjoys attending the free yoga class. “It’s a lot of fun and really stretches you out. It is one of our most popular free classes” she says.
A yoga class connects breathing with the body, thereby promoting flexibility, strength, stability and an overall sense of well-being. By linking a series of poses together in incremental stages, you can increase circulation and respiration while facilitating stress/tension-reduction in the body and mind. Yoga is sure to leave your body and mind feeling refreshed for a day of classes or a night of studying.
When you are done working out, make sure to stop by the ARC Bar to refuel your body with healthy fresh smoothies and light snacks. You can also join one of the cooking classes offered at the ARC, where members can learn how to eat healthy and cook scrumptious food such as pasta dishes, light desserts and easy-to-make meals.
All UCI students should check out the ARC. There is so much that they offer in terms of equipment, classes and facilities that will beat any other gym in Southern California. Did I mention that Kobe Bryant works out there? Check out the ARC website to incorporate a fun fulfilling workout into your daily regime: http://www.campusrec.uci.edu/index.asp