Joel Mott is NOT a morning person.
But at 5:40 a.m., he struggles out of bed, throws on some clothes and sticks his head under the running water in the sink.
“It helps me wake up,” he says.
Then he gulps down a pre-workout drink and joins his friends to stretch before heading out to Ariel Arena for his daily workout.
Mott is part of the “6 a.m. Crew,” a group of workout buddies who hit the weight room at 6 each morning to avoid the rush later in the day.
The weight room is closed every weekday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., specifically for athlete use. This time is set aside for athletes to work out without interference from non-athletes.
These new fitness room hours have generated a fair amount of controversy among students on campus.
As a member of the junior varsity basketball team, Mott is allowed in the weight room in the afternoons, but he often works out in the morning instead so he can lift with friends.
When he first heard about the new weight room hours, Mott said he “was pretty bummed.”
But, he and the rest of the 6 a.m. Crew decided to make the best of it. Although the hours are inconvenient, he and his friends have been able to find time to work out.
“It was kind of a bummer, but it’s not a big deal now because we are used to it,” Mott said.
Senior urban ministry major Ashton Dupler joins the 6 a.m. Crew two to three times a week. Dupler said the school should find another way to cater to athletes.
Most students end up going to the weight room in the evening when the area reopens because they have classes early in the day and can’t get in during the four-hour block when it is reserved for athletes.
Junior criminal justice major Leah Elicker works out three times a week on average, spending 20 minutes lifting weights and 20 minutes doing cardio. She likes the new equipment, but said the school “puts athletes on a higher plane than the rest of us.”
She said it is unfair to close the weight room exclusively for athletes.
“We are all students and we are all busy,” Elicker said.
Students said the weight room gets especially busy from 5 to 7 p.m. Sometimes it is so crowded that students have a hard time completing their workouts.
Despite the inconvenience, some students said they understand the new hours. Senior intercultural studies major Paige Hopper said it is good to give the athletes space to “do what they need to do.”
Hopper said she usually works out in the evenings, so the new hours do not affect her.
But, “I understand why people get annoyed,” she said. Like everyone else, Hopper is always trying to find the best time to work out, she said.
Junior biology pre-physical therapy major Lydia Shenk also gets to the weight room later in the day when it reopens to students.
Shenk said she understands it is important for athletes to have a time to work out together.
“I get it. The athletes are a big deal here,” Shenk said.
But the inconvenience to everyone else is still an issue, she said.
“I understand it; I just don’t like it,” Shenk said.