WRECking ball

A real-world guide on how to handle yourself at Chico State’s new fitness center

An outdoor pool, free weights, and a loft filled with cardio machines are a few of the amenities that make the WREC facility a very posh oasis on the Chico State campus.

An outdoor pool, free weights, and a loft filled with cardio machines are a few of the amenities that make the WREC facility a very posh oasis on the Chico State campus.

Photo By Jason Cassidy

Wildcat Rec Center
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 6 a.m.-midnight Th., 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun., noon-10 p.m. Check website for summer hours and specific hours for pool and climbing wall. www.aschico.com/wrec
The WREC is throwing a back-to-school open house Friday, Aug. 20, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free music, food and a an introduction to the fitness center.

It’s on the mind of almost every coed, and hangs from the stomachs of almost every guy after they finish their first year at Chico State. Those 15 pounds added to your body thanks to a diet of junk food, Keystone Light and those late-night rendezvous at Tacos de Acapulco.

Fear not, newbies, you can stave off your “freshman 15” at Chico State’s state-of-the-art Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC). Open for a just a year now, the massive two-story workout mecca on the corner of Second and Warner streets is a fitness playground that likely will put your hometown gym to shame.

But before you slip on your sneakers and sync that “Workout” playlist on your iPod, there are a few things you need to know before you go get WRECked.

First of all, if you’re thinking of driving there, don’t. Students prowl in cars like blood-lusting sharks for a spot outside the WREC. Your chances of finding a “perfect” spot are the same as, well, surviving a shark attack. I suggest walking, running or biking to the WREC. Depending on how hard you hit it, you might even knock out your cardio for the day.

When you enter the WREC don’t get too freaked out by the high-tech check-in system. The Biometric Hand Reader is to ensure that no non-students, or optimistic drunks from The Oasis Bar down the street, stumble in (though you can pay a $10 fee for a one-day guest pass for a buddy). Yes, the machines do freeze up sometimes, and the line can take a while when it gets busy, but once you see the tricked-out facilities inside, the short wait will have been more than worth it.

Side note: Do not attempt to sneak in your friends from out of town. The hand check-in system is pretty foolproof and the surveillance is probably more effective than in some airports. My roommate snuck in his friend and was suspended from the WREC for two weeks, and for a man who lives for his protein shakes and bench pressing, he was devastated.

From there the WREC is your oyster. As you walk in, to your right, there are three full-sized basketball courts and a multipurpose indoor court. The basketball courts are mopped every day and glisten like fresh honey. For you hoopsters, here are a few helpful hints: It is not spoken of, but at times there is a Lord of the Flies hierarchy that establishes itself on the WREC hardwood in the evenings. The court next to the all-purpose court is reserved for the “little ones,” those ballers hovering near the 5-foot mark. The middle court is for those who may be in the 6-foot range, but are of intermediate skill level and are bulding up the courage to prove themselves on the highly coveted “big” court on the far right side. On your first visit, if you didn’t play at least some varsity basketball, the big court may not be right for you.

All jokes aside, the basketball courts are a great place to meet some friends for a pickup game. There is hardly ever any bickering or complaining, unless you decide to be the guy who plays without a shirt. (Seriously, put a shirt on, it’s gross. Nobody wants to cover the guy shimmering with nasty sweat, so don’t be that guy.)

The Biometric Hand Reader (at right) knows the ballers from the fakers, and the three pristine basketball courts are waiting for students inside.

Photo By Jason Cassidy

To the left of the main entrance is the weight room, an area brewing with so much testosterone, some say the hormonal cloud pushes all the women upstairs to the cardio loft. Ladies, this does not mean you’re not permitted into the weight room, but just take this as a fair warning: You’re entering a room where you will be overwhelmed by man musk and unnecessary grunting. Be prepared to compete among the alpha males establishing dominance over workout stations and mirror space along the wall.

The Biometric Hand Reader (at right) knows the ballers from the fakers, and the three pristine basketball courts are waiting for students inside.

Photo courtesy of WREC

Tip: Gentlemen, don’t be that guy who checks himself out in the mirror while he’s working out. Ladies do notice, and you look like an ass. By all means, hit the weights—the facility offers a nice variety of free-weight choices—and get the body ready for floating season, but leave the arrogance at home.

Directly above the muscle machines is the cardio loft, filled with various cardio machines (all with TV screens and iPhone docking stations) and some weight stations for toning muscles. Yes, gentlemen, this is a great place to sneak a peek at girls in true Baywatch-running form. But there is a name for guys who go to the cardio loft to stare at chicks—they’re called creepers. This is a gym, not a frat party, so get in some cardio, but let the women have one place where they aren’t being drooled over like pieces of meat.

Photo By Jason Cassidy

The second floor also consists of rooms for various workout/dance and spinning classes. To the right of these rooms is the eighth-of-a-mile running track, which is convenient when the sun decides to take a few furlough days. As you run around the track, you’ll notice the three-story climbing wall on which you can reach new heights.

Last, but certainly not least, is the pool area with a large, kidney-shaped Jacuzzi. On those days when the heat weighs more than the midterms on your mind, the pool area welcomes you with a Club Med ambiance. The deck is lined with beige lounge chairs to help fade that winter tan line. The pool is sectioned off for both lap swimmers and those who just want to take a dip. The pool also has a gradual ramp for wheelchair access, but most use it to lie limp in the shallow water, hoping the chlorine will absorb their hangovers.

One last side note: There are convenient bathrooms right next to the pool. Do everyone a favor: Leave those high-school slacker tendencies behind and get out of the pool when you need bladder relief.

There you have it, a crash course in WREC 101 from someone one who has already been through the program. If you want to find out more about statistics, facts and all that other boring stuff, go to www.aschico.com/wrec.

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Most of you will probably never work out in such an awesome fitness facility again. So, slip on those sneakers, put on some headphones and relieve some guilt over last night’s “fourth meal.”