New gear for the RAC

By: Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

Say goodbye to the old white and blue, sweat-stained machines at the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC).

For the first time in nearly 15 years, the RAC weight room is slated to receive all new weight training equipment.

“It’s time for us to give back to the members that have been using the weight room,” said Nino Robles, fitness specialist at Ryerson. Since 2000, the RAC has received only sporadic updates, including strength equipment in 2002 and dumbbells in 2014.

Students can expect new squat racks, free weight racks, selectorized machines (where users select the weight by inserting a key), plate-loaded machines, bars and benches. The weight room will offer the same selection and number of machines.

While he would not say how much it will cost, Anthony Seymour, manager of recreation at Ryerson, said the order will be paid for over the next four to five years. Robles said that prices range from $900 to $4,500 per piece of equipment and weight plates on plate-loaded machines themselves represent “15 per cent of the total cost.”

Though the interior of the RAC will not be renovated to match the shiny glass box that is the Mattamy Athletic Centre, the two recreational facilities will share the same brand of equipment. Both branding and quality were a part of the decision to match the Atlantis equipment at the MAC.

“The RAC equipment was purchased back at a time when there wasn’t really a good Canadian supplier and shipping weight across the border was very expensive,” said Seymour.

After much review, Robles selected the made-in-Montreal equipment, lauding it for being “durable” and “high-quality.”

For students, this update has been a long time coming. Matthew Tse, a student who also works at the RAC, had one word to express his feelings: “Finally.”

While he thinks the MAC is a better location, he said that, “it’s about time” the RAC stepped up its game for the students who have aligned their loyalties to the underground facility.

Paul Vinalon and Arman Mohammadi are third-year students at Ryerson who turned to the RAC after finding the MAC to be too busy.

“(At the MAC) it’s guys looking for girls and girls looking for guys,” said Vinalon. “Here I can be focused.”

Mohammadi hopes the new equipment will start to “even out” the crowds at the two facilities, saying that it will be great to have the same high-quality equipment in the gym he feels has more fitness-minded visitors.  

Seymour estimates that during peak times the RAC sees anywhere from 100-150 people every hour. The MAC sees the same, and gets especially crowded because of team training times and gym-goers looking for Olympic lifting.

Ease of access is a top priority for Ryerson students, according to Patrick Williams, another fitness specialist at Ryerson. “The RAC is good for those who are short on time, as it’s on campus and close to class,” he said. “There’s that convenience factor.”

Students can expect to break a sweat with the new machines towards the end of the semester. The weight room will close near the end of November so the new equipment can be installed. It is projected to reopen Dec. 4.

This article was published in the print edition of The Ryersonian on Nov. 11, 2015.

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