Campus exercise facility helps students stay healthy

The University of Miami’s Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center recently underwent a $5 million renovation.

Renovations took place February 2011, and expanded the fitness room by 7,000 square-feet and doubled the amount cardiovascular exercise machines, from 60 to 120.

The renovations also included the addition of a cycling studio and a Pilate’s studio. The cycling studio, fully equipped with strobe lights and a video wall, allows cyclists to watch music videos and footage of nature trails to stimulate an outdoor bike ride.

Norman Parsons, the Wellness Center director, said the recent renovations will allow students to maintain healthy.

“The building’s here so our students can understand total wellness and have a better quality of life. We want to integrate the total healthy lifestyle concept so students feel comfortable being here, it’s not just a gym,” Parsons said.

The center also features different types of fitness classes, like Zumba. Additionally, there’s room for other activities students and its members – the center offers cooking classes, the option of swimming in its indoor pool, or playing in its basketball and racquetball courts.

“The Wellness Center is definitely a place you need to visit yourself,” said Samuel Marti, a law school student and student employee at the center.  “Everyone here wants you to feel welcomed and there’s something for everyone. You can learn to cook, you can take CPR classes, get a massage, and participate in intramural sports … No one should be discouraged there are all types of people here and everyone is part of the Hurricane family.”

The center also offers a program called Canes Health Assessment and Motivation Program (CHAMP). It is designed to help students determine their level in terms of cardiovascular fitness, body composition, flexibility and muscular fitness. The assessment is free for all university students.

“You find out what state you’re in. We’ll talk about and set some goals, and then we have you come back in eight to 10 weeks and we review those goals and help you understand how to take care of yourself,” Parsons said.

Students can also choose from 180 different fitness classes as well, which encompass anything from Pilates and Cycling to Hip-Hop and Aquatic Fitness.

“ I definitely recommend the cycling studio, some people bypass it because it’s not down in the fitness room, but it’s so fun and I feel it’s something everyone should try,” said Nikki Reifschneider, assistant director of group exercise and community classes. “We have a video wall in there and instructors play music videos and turn on the strobe lights while people cycle. Also, we can play video of a trail so it feels like your cycling outside.”

Artie Salow, a personal trainer and student employee at the center recommends students seek assistance if they’re new or unfamiliar with how to exercise.

“ I know I’m a personal trainer, but I recommend signing up for a few session with one if someone is ‘gym shy’ or just wants to learn how to exercises properly,” Salow said.

According to the Assistant Director of Fitness and Personal Training, Dominique Ennis, the center’s biggest attraction is the fact that it’s free for students

“It’s completely free for students,” Ennis said.

For more information on the Wellness Center and the facilities available or to view a schedule of the classes and programs offered visit their website at