By Janie Bohlmann and Brenna Bobinksi
Ramsey Student Center is facing competition from local gyms that offer conveniences in services and options for UGA students.
Ramsey Student Center, built 20 years ago, has the benefit of an on-campus location, free parking in the deck after 4 p.m. and the option of using an array of recreational activity spaces, yet some students can be found at gyms like Crunch Fitness and The Omni Club.
For many students, free parking is a big draw towards switching their memberships to other gyms.
Virginia Settles, a junior at UGA who pulled into one of the first parking spaces outside of Crunch Fitness, cited the need for a parking pass or to pay the deck fees as two of her biggest drawbacks from Ramsey.
“You have to pay to park there if you go there before 4 p.m., or ride a bus,” said junior Emily Horne.
Parking lots at Crunch and Omni have ample spaces to provide for the crowd sizes they attract. The availability of parking at these gyms allows students to work out anytime of the day rather than avoiding peak hours, like they would do at Ramsey, where parking could be difficult to find.
Crunch and Omni also offer a wide variety of benefits from flexible fitness schedules, different equipment, saunas and tanning beds.
Freshman Hannah Morris’s membership at Crunch includes classes, something she would have had to bought a special pass for at Ramsey.
At Omni, sophomore Carly Griffies likes having access to the sauna and separate sections with equipment for women. She claims that these features make the gym less crowded, a problem that influenced her switch from Ramsey.
“I lift more than I do cardio and [Omni] has a lot more machines for that,” said junior Kaitlyn Timblin.
Popularity of gyms is a bonus for students who want the ability to work out with friends while feeling comfortable at their gym. Senior Courtney Koenig explained that she initially switched to The Omni Club four years ago because it was the best gym in Athens and she knew people who were members.
Many students are refusing to switch and remain loyal to Ramsey.
“It’s a great facility, you’ve got pretty much anything you might need: machines for cardio, all kinds of weights, and it’s convenient on campus,” said Carter Maguire, a senior who doesn’t see his membership changing any time before graduation.
Fitness classes might be a draw to other gyms, but Ramsey also offers the ability to purchase different passes in order to participate in classes such as yoga, Zumba, cycling and a variety of others.
“I wanted to go to classes throughout the week, so I bought it when it was on sale [during the first week of the semester],” said junior Megan Graham.
Sophomore Luis Mata hasn’t considered switching his membership and had no complaints about Ramsey.
“There are a diverse set of gyms at Ramsey, a lot of variety to choose how you workout and a good atmosphere,” says Mata.
Pros and Cons of Ramsey Versus Local Gyms
Students are attending gyms both on and off campus.
“Parking is number one.” – Senior Courtney Koenig, Omni member
“I lift more than I do cardio and they [The Omni Club] have a lot more machines for that.” – Junior Kaitlyn Timblin, Omni member
“I wish that [the parking deck] opened earlier so that I could come here any time.” -Junior Megan Graham, Ramsey member
“I don’t like the setup of it [Ramsey].” -Sophomore Samantha Scheinin, Omni member
“I like the sauna, and there’s, like, a separate women’s section that I like, and it’s just not crowded most of the time.”- Sophomore Carly Griffies, Omni member
“The parking fees and not being able to have a parking pass for over there.” -Junior Virginia Settles, Crunch member
“All I needed was machines to work out with and then it was cheap, so it was the best option.”-Junior Emily Horne, Crunch member
“I just finished Omni, so I just wanted something cheap for the rest of my couple months.” -Senior Emily Swift, Crunch member
“[Other gyms] are not as convenient” -Senior Carter Maguire, Ramsey member
“I like working out at the gym, I think it’s good.” -Freshman Carly Mixon, Ramsey member