In 2018, the Wake Forest University Wellbeing Center reopened to the public after the facility underwent a full remodel with the strategic focus to reach more students outside the gym doors. This included cardio and strength equipment.
Lori Tyson-Jamison, the assistant director of Campus Fitness, said the center was then outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment from Technogym. Tyson-Jamison said each piece was deliberately positioned throughout the building to create “fitness neighborhoods” that would help guide students and provide something for everyone in each space.
“Technogym is the leading company in the field of fitness and home equipment along with digital technologies for sports and health that students are able to access for personalized programs and content,” said Tyson-Jamison. “Along with all the new equipment, there are performance monitoring and ready-made workouts that can be personalized to track progress over time.”
The addition of Technogym provided the opportunity for Wake Forest to form a collaboration with the university’s Health and Exercise Science department to create a credit-bearing class targeting first generation and lower socioeconomic students.
By using Technogym’s Teambeats heart rate wearable equipment, the pilot program combined physical education, wellness habits and technology. This initiative helped participants develop a personal physical activity plan, an understanding of movement within one’s body and a sense of community.
“Students were able to partake in a variety of training techniques guided by certified personal trainers through aerobic, anaerobic, strength and mobility while monitoring their heart rate through wearable trackers,” said Tyson-Jamison. “The purpose was not only to provide the opportunity of being physically active in a supportive environment but also to utilize the technology and equipment. This helped to increase self-awareness and identify cues when the body needs sleep, fuel and de-stress techniques.”
Tyson-Jamison said using wearable equipment in this unique environment has given students exposure to establishing healthy habits that last beyond college years. In addition, they could apply the experience to create a personalized and adaptable six-week program to follow while away from campus.
“If not for the experience, students may not have the same outlook and knowledge of how movement shows up in the body,” said Tyson-Jamison. “We are still in the first year of the pilot program, however, feedback from students has been positive. Many are inspired by the experience to continue their journey and expand their knowledge of fitness by becoming personal trainers.”
Creighton University is also seeing a positive response from students after adding strength and cardio pieces from Life Fitness.
Jacob Tatta, the assistant director for Fitness and Wellness Programs, said their most unique offerings from the vendor consist of Hammer Strength weight racks and IC6 indoor cycles.
“Our weight racks are a multifaceted bay system that allow patrons to perform a variety of workouts and lifts on them,” said Tatta. “We use the IC6 model for our Spin classes. These bikes are unique in that they allow us to track participants’ heart rates via an app so we can coach them to a more effective workout while allowing them to see their data in an easy-to-understand manner in real time.”
Tatta said both pieces have been extremely beneficial for Creighton RecWell thus far as they provide patrons with equipment to practice fitness in their own, unique ways.
“The biggest benefit of these pieces of equipment for our students is it allows them to perform a multitude of workouts whether that be traditional strength training, athletic enhancement or functional fitness,” said Tatta. “The second major benefit is the bikes specifically provide live feedback to participants about their heart rate, allowing them to see if they need to increase the intensity or dial back.”
The bikes send this information by connecting to an app students download and sync to a heart monitor. The data is then provided to the instructor and the participant. If the participant is in the correct heart rate zone, their screen will be green. If the heart rate is too high then it will appear red, and if they are under the zone then the screen will appear yellow.
“The student reaction has been extremely good,” said Tatta. “They love the variety of workouts they can perform in our rec center. They also really like the personalized feedback to make their workouts more successful in helping them reach their health and wellness goals.”
Tyson-Jamison said Technogym’s selectorized strength machines bring a distinctive offering for patrons due to the mini-display boards on each piece. The boards help guide new users through equipment setup and use while also tracking their sets and reps. Having accessible equipment like Technogym’s for those not familiar with a fitness facility was important for Wake Forest Campus Rec to provide students.
EXTRA CREDIT: How to replace and extend the life of equipment.
When it comes to cardio equipment, Tyson-Jamison said Technogym’s Skillmill enables users to perform fundamental movements that incorporate power, stamina, agility and speed.
“The Skillmill is a curved, non-motorized treadmill designed for multi-skilled training,” said Tyson-Jamison. “Your body, speed and effort control how fast you go. Dual handlebars allow for high and low resistance that mimic sled pushes and maximize muscle activation and workout variations.”
Connecting to trackable technology like Technogym’s is one unique equipment trend Tatta is hearing about more often. Other interesting developments he mentioned included a shift toward functional fitness and incorporating more feedback into equipment.
Tyson-Jamison said overall she is seeing an increase in more campus recreation resources aiming to assist students physically and mentally, as well as in their overall well-being.
“My advice for other fitness leaders when selecting equipment is to choose pieces that are adaptable and inclusive for all levels,” said Tyson-Jamison. “Pick equipment that offers the technology to help guide not only those new to your facility but those seeking movement that will meet them where they are.”