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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why Student Rec reigns supreme

Despite a smaller space, Student Rec provides a better atmosphere than the Southwest Recreation Center

The Student Recreation & Fitness Center on Friday, June 18, 2021.
The Student Recreation & Fitness Center on Friday, June 18, 2021.

Steve Jobs once said, “Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.” 

Baseball analytics fans might argue the latter portion of the quote, but the former rings true in all facets of life. UF student gyms are no exception.

While the impressive, 140,000-square-foot Southwest Recreation Center boasts rows of treadmills, an upstairs track and even its own smoothie bar, the true heart of Florida fitness lies nestled inside campus. It overlooks the Florida Pool and resides in the shadow of the Swamp.

The Student Recreation & Fitness Center is the mecca of student fitness in Gainesville.

Sure, Southwest outnumbers it in most machines; Student Rec only has three squat racks and three bench presses. However, per research, one person can use just one bench press at a time. Thus, the only benefit of added machines is line prevention, which isn’t much of an issue with the lower volume of students at Student Rec. Aside from peak times during the school year, lines at the iconic gym are near-nonexistent. 

Besides the literal nuts and bolts of the gym, the atmosphere at Student Rec far exceeds that of its contemporary. Southwest features few windows in the weight rooms, and the ones that do exist face plots of land and construction. 

Meanwhile, the weight room at Student Rec boasts a glorious view of the Florida Pool. Whether it’s a glimpse of a water polo game, swimming practice or the mere sunlight glistening off the surface of the water, the view is guaranteed to surpass Southwest.

Furthermore, just beyond the pool is Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I don’t have a list of the most adrenaline-inducing venues in the state of Florida, but there is no way The Swamp doesn’t crack the top five. Looking upon the coliseum where football players battle it out every fall Saturday is the perfect view for finishing one last rep or one last mile on the treadmill. 

The ambiance, simply put, is superb.

The location, aside from aesthetically pleasing views, provides a convenient spot for students to follow their own regime or attend a fitness class on campus. The travel from classes to Southwest can take 30 minutes or more, but Student Rec is a quick walk from nearly every classroom on campus. A two-hour break in between classes can be repurposed for a workout: an impossible task without going to Student Rec instead of Southwest.

Regardless of which gym new UF students choose, they will have the best equipment available; both gyms’ machinery is state-of-the-art. However, when it comes to the proximity to campus and atmosphere, there is one clear answer.

Contact Carson Cashion at Follow him on Twitter @CarsonCashion.

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Carson Cashion

Carson Cashion is a third-year sports journalism major at UF, and the sports editor at The Alligator for the 2022 summer semester. A native of Altamonte Springs, Carson spends his free time walking his dog, Baxter, and listening to good music. He is an avid Tennessee sports fan, and eagerly awaits watching one of his teams win a championship for the first time.

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