If you want a safe, welcoming place to start your fitness journey, then Montclair State University’s very own Recreation Center is a wonderful way to start achieving your goals. However, if the hustle and bustle of the first floor’s stations can be daunting or overwhelming, the center has a brand new weekly program that will help you feel even more uplifted.
Every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Rec Center, you can take part in the UpLIFT program facilitated by the Rec Center’s team of undergraduate students. The UpLIFT program welcomes any Montclair State students, no matter what experience level they have, who are looking to get in some quality exercise without any sort of judgment or intimidation from the more experienced lifters.
The program specializes in compound workouts so that newer students who are looking to improve their general fitness can first get a firm grasp on the proper form of each exercise, then gradually work their way up to heavier weights and higher aspirations.
Pablo Herrera, a sophomore exercise science major and one of the leaders of the program, sees the program as a great start for anybody who is looking to get better at weightlifting or any other form of exercise, even if they are not so knowledgeable about the equipment or proper technique.
“[The attendees] either have been going to the gym or just touched a barbell for the first time,” Herrera said. “We try to keep it to where everyone of all levels can be learning in a nice, good environment.”
Since the first class was held on March 22, the layout has changed slightly, focusing more on the camaraderie and the group aspects of exercising as opposed to the singular, independent journeys, as explained by sophomore computer science major Jeffrey Kouevi.
“Originally this was supposed to be a program that you would sign up for, we would monitor your progress for six weeks,” Kouevi said. “But for right now, we just switched it to more of a group exercise kind of thing.”
Both Herrera and Kouevi have also worked as personal trainers for the Rec Center, and that extra layer of experience in the field has made it a breeze for them to hold these sessions and know the proper way to give their students the most out of their time with this program.
“It’s been easier for us to give them more one-on-one advice on how to perfect their form,” Kouevi said. “I think that definitely helps them to get more comfortable with lifting.”
Their expertise in personal training also makes their welcoming approach to workouts so natural.
“We are all very friendly so that definitely helps,” Kouevi said. “ I try to email [the participants afterward] with the workouts that we did so that when they come back or if they want to work out on their own, they have the workouts that we did already with them.”
As an added incentive, after the sessions are finished, the members will be receiving some prizes. These include complimentary water bottles and personalized fitness trackers so that they may continue to progress in their athletic journeys.
Despite still being in its infancy, the UpLIFT program has already found a few eager patrons, including sophomore business administration major Victor De Toustain, who gave his first few classes a glowing endorsement.
“It’s definitely less crowded, and it’s very nice because there’s more direction,” De Toustain said. “On the floor, it’s more of a free-for-all. Here, [the instructors] really work you through it, so it’s nice.”
Sticking with the program for multiple weekly classes is a great idea, as explained by Herrera, who finds that consistency and determination will build skill level as well as confidence.
Herrera also hopes that attendees can leave with the comforting mindset that the Rec Center is much less scary than they may believe and that the heavier lifters on the first floor are often some of the friendliest, most open people you can find on campus.
Senior linguistics major Mirit Fournier gave her unique insights as to why you should consider joining UpLIFT, offering tidbits that can help you in any facet of life.
“If you work hard it’ll pay off,” Fournier said. “Don’t be intimidated to try new things.”
The importance of good physical health cannot be overstated, and to do it in such a fun, comfortable and welcoming place as UpLIFT can get you far along in achieving such health. The classes will be running weekly until Wednesday, April 26, so get in while you can.