Rec members show off muscle

Tanika Snyder

Students practice pumping iron for energy and fun at competition

Senior education major Howard Patterson tries for 300 pounds in the bench press competition last night at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

Credit: Andrew popik

It takes hard work, determination, focus and strength — both mental and physical. There’s nothing like it, and only the strong survive.

That’s right: weight training.

People practice weight training for a variety of reasons.

Carolyn Swan, senior visual communication design major, said she does it mainly for fun.

“It shouldn’t be stressful, just something you do because you enjoy it,” she said.

On the other hand, Howie Patterson, Student Recreation and Wellness Center facility supervisor, said he weight trains because it gives him more energy, he has easy access to the facility, and he enjoys working out with his friends.

It was every man for himself last night as Swan and Patterson participated in the first bench press competition at the rec center.

Each competition participant had three chances to bench as much weight as he or she could. Winners were determined by the participant’s best lift divided by his or her weight.

“I’ve been lifting pretty consistently for the past couple of years,” Patterson said. “I’ve never competed before and bench press is a good chest exercise. I just really want to see where I’m at.”

Patterson said that when he trains, he focuses on an entire body workout that concentrates on every muscle group. He suggests listening to music while training to really get pumped up. Some of his favorites are the Rocky soundtrack and Phil Collins.

“More recently, I’ve been doing extra sets on my chest because of the competition, but I always work out my total body,” Patterson said. “I don’t think it looks very good when you’ve got a guy with huge upper body muscles and no calves.”

Swan said she has been training for the competition since she found out about it in January. Within the past couple of weeks, she said she’s been doing the circuit and a few leg machines, but spending most of her time practicing for the competition.

“She does multiple exercises — the butterfly machine, biceps and triceps training,” said Swan’s fiance Mark Henry. “It’s not like she is hard-core, she’s just doing it for fun and to stay healthy. She doesn’t care if she wins or loses.”

Swan said she never really started weight training until she met Henry in the summer of 2003. She said Henry enjoys weight training, so basically he’s the reason she began making it a part of her daily life as much as possible.

Swan said she wanted to make a personal weight lifting goal for herself and the competition presented her with the opportunity to take a more serious approach to weight training.

“When she first started in January, she was just lifting the bar,” Henry said. “Now she’s worked her way up. I think she’ll stick with it, and a year from now she’ll be much further along.”

Patterson said he was also looking to the competition as an opportunity to set a personal goal for himself, as well as build his confidence. He said maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet is an important aspect of weight training.

“You need to eat right and be consistent with both eating and working out,” Patterson said. Everyone should have a goal and get the motivation to go for it.”

Whether looked at as a competition, a way to relieve stress or a way to have fun, weight training opens the door to endless fitness opportunities, Swan said.

“Little by little is how we get anything accomplished — especially weight training,” she said. “No one gets to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight. Always remember the long-term and don’t focus so much on short-term results.”

Contact regional campus reporter Tanika Snyder [email protected].