New normal, new Reily

Ezra Weber, Senior Staff Reporter

OK, this sucks. Now I’ve got to assemble my own home gym if I want any sort of regular workout this year. 

That’s what I thought upon first reading Tulane’s email about the reopening of the Reily Recreation Center in July. I really wasn’t into it. The fluidity of my day was perfectly matched with the fluidity with which I could go to the gym. But, in a virus-stricken world, you can’t always get what you want.

I signed up for a session reluctantly and I was even more reluctant to don my mask while huffing and puffing in the weight room. Every coach ever has told me rhythmic breathing is key to a successful workout, and that is decidedly much more difficult with a mask on. 

When I arrived at Reily’s functional fitness room at 4 p.m. on a school day, however, I was delighted to see a bare, sprawling workout room with only three other participants. During a time when the gym is usually gurgling and writhing with the after class rush, I was surprised at the level of calm.

As I moved through my workout at a faster and more focused pace, I came to appreciate the new system.

I felt like a professional athlete with my own private gym. The lack of crowds allowed me to claim multiple machines and set myself up with a solid rotation of exercises without fear of my territory being usurped. 

Even better is that when I came to the gym I soon realized that there was no time to lollygag. I moved through my routine with precision and minimal distractions because I knew I was on the clock. I was able to squeeze what was usually a 70-minute workout into 50 minutes because I knew I had no other choice. 

In the same vein, the gym has ceased to be a place for apathetic athletes. Because it is necessary to schedule a small time frame often two days in advance, the gym must either be a conscious element of your daily routine or it will not be a part of your day at all. 

My mask became a part of me and was not nearly the nuisance I had predicted it would be. Tulane students, united around the goal of a healthy and safe gym experience, had never been more diligent about cleaning and re-racking their gym equipment. 

Now, after a few weeks back into my lifting routine, I can say I positively love the coronavirus-enhanced Reily. In fact, I might even be convinced to let the pandemic stick around a little longer if it means this enjoyable gym experience can live on.