Fitness club seeks new identity

By Tyler Davis

The SIU Fitness Club has gone by various names since its inception, including weightlifting and bodybuilding, but Club President Matthew Jordan wants to shed that image.

Jordan, a graduate student in exercise science from Bloomington, has been a part of the club for two years. The club, which sponsers the popular Mr. SIU bodybuilding competition, has been known strictly for weightlifters.

“We’re trying to get away from the body building but we do have a lot of people that go out and compete,” Jordan said. “We help find them shows and stuff like that but that’s not our main focus.”

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Shane Bennett, sports clubs and intramurals assistant director, said the name change was made recently and he notices the effort Jordan has made to expand the club’s reputation.

“Now they’re working towards making a new identity to draw in not just the body builders or the power lifters, but any students interested in fitness,” Bennett said.

Jordan said most students have not taken advantage of the resource. The club has two personal trainers who work in the recreation center’s weight room, and a host of other fitness enthusiasts attend meetings and are always looking to help out newcomers, he said.

The club’s goal is to inform people who may not know about working out and set up work out plans and goals for even the most inexperienced lifters or runners, Jordan said.

“Students can get some one-on-one advice from people that are personal trainers that have a little bit more insight instead of just asking friends or kind of doing it themselves,” he said. “Unfortunately a lot of people don’t take advantage of what we are doing.”

Alec Tepps, a sophomore from Lindenhurst studying aviation technologies, has been a member for three semesters. Tepps said the club needs to increase its exposure to accomplish the goal of helping students. While the club is looking to aid students in all aspects of fitness, the club members need students to come to them, he said.

“We’re not going to force people and say ‘Hey, you need to work out now,’” Tepps said. “We need those people to come to us and say, ‘I need help, can you help me?; what’s a good diet?; what am I doing wrong with my workouts?’”

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Club members said getting the word out about the club and explaining their efforts would cause an increase in activity. The club is holding the Mr. SIU competition April 12th this year and plans to organize a five-kilometer race for the fall.

Although the club is looking to expand its identity, the Mr. SIU bodybuilding competition remains the club’s biggest fundraiser. The entry fee ranges from $50-$60, depending on if a contestant wants to enter both divisions. There is an SIU students-only division and “open” division, which can be joined by students and nonstudents alike.

Jordan said the competition’s open aspect is positive because it helps build awareness of the club in the community.

“With the open class, we kind of get a little bit more community involvement and get more people interested in the club,” Jordan said.

Club meetings occur every other Thursday in the recreation center pool lounge. Jordan said anyone interested in any type of health or fitness is welcome to attend meetings.

“We’re here for those who want to steer their life towards a healthier lifestyle, we’re here to help and motivate,” Jordan said. “It can be tough, wanting to start off working out and getting into it, and a lot of people don’t know where to start.”

Steffan Bublitz, a sophomore from South Elgin studying criminology and criminal justice, said the club is good for beginners and people who have plenty weightlifting or working out experience. Bublitz said he has been weightlifting for years now but is still constantly learning.

“We all learn new stuff every day, that’s a part of working out and that’s a part of living,” Bublitz said.

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected], on twitter @TDavis_DE or by phone at 536-3311 ext. 269.

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