Mason Recreation’s newest promotion might not be the most fashionable piece of jewelry, but having the
little piece of plastic around your wrist could earn you many benefits. Free to all Mason students, the new Mason fitness band is a bracelet that gives students access to free gym classes, extra specials and deals over the course of the semester.
The band is meant to be a reminder to students that Mason Recreation has a lot to offer beyond the gyms, including classes, trainers, rentals and pools.
Ethan Carter, director of fitness with Mason Recreation, hopes the bands will help students realize these opportunities. “On campus, as much as we like to say everyone is aware of what’s going on, there are a lot of individuals who say they didn’t even know they had the facilities available to us. If anything, we just want people to realize if you’re a full time student, you can utilize our facilities,” Carter said.
If a student gets a fitness band, they will be able to gain extra benefits over the course of the semester not available to other students. Owners receive 10 percent off yoga, pilates and martial arts class packages for the semester. In March, band wearers will be able to take advantage of 15 percent off personal training sessions. After Spring Break, Mason Recreation plans to host group fitness classes exclusively for fitness band wearers. The classes are not yet finalized, but Mason Recreation is looking into outdoor cycling and outdoor yoga, among other sports.
Carter said the bands go beyond getting students involved, they also serve as a way to inspire students to get moving.
“[We are] trying to create some excitement. A lot of times it’s ‘What are they trying to sell me this time? What are they trying to get out of me?’ And a wristband is very simple and cheap. … [T]he benefit for the student is you can benefit from our facility, you can get promotions, it allows the user have something unique to them,” Carter said.
Carter first tested the bands last year. The benefits from the band have increased greatly since its first trial run. “Last time it [the band] was more [about] promotions, this time it’s connected with certain events and having more to do with free classes and stuff people can do that doesn’t have to do with purchasing things,” Carter said. “Eventually, we’d like it to become where we invite people with fitness bands to participate in a fitness walk or awareness walk.”
Beyond the benefits associated with the band, Carter also wants students to be aware of all the different events put on by Mason Recreation. He has noticed that many students wait until their senior year to finally begin utilizing all the facilities and classes at Mason.
This semester Mason Recreation is holding a power meet and an indoor triathlon as well as programs unique to Mason like Be my Fit Valentine and Iron Mason.
The power meet will take place this April and will include squat, bench and deadlift competitions. Be my Fit Valentine is a partner competition that includes more lighthearted games like wheelbarrow races and crab walks.
Iron Mason, on the other hand, is a continuous event that occurs all semester. Students are challenged to swim two miles, bike 186 miles and run 86 miles by the end of the semester. They track the progress themselves and, upon completion, become Iron Mason finishers.
These events are meant to help increase the health of Mason. “It isn’t just for our program; it’s for the wellness of the campus,” Carter said.
Alison Hall is the fitness communications officer who, along with Carter, has been working to promote the fitness bands. Hall said that in addition to admitting students into exclusive classes and events, the band is also useful for connecting students to Mason Recreation’s social media accounts, which are always the first sources to notify students when closings and delays at Mason will impact fitness center hours.
“It’s an easy reminder of our website and social media because they’re both right on there [the band],” Hall said.
Junior public administration major Courtney Ericson has been going off campus to Lifetime Fitness in Fair City Mall in order to work out, but the bands have enticed her to return to Mason’s gyms. Ericson is excited about the potential classes holders might get to take.
“I like the idea of outdoor classes. I would love to see Pilates, bare classes or Insanity classes offered to people with these fitness bands,” Ericson said, adding that she recommends that other students go snatch up bands, too.
The fitness bands were given out to students during the first two weeks of fitness classes and at Student Splash Night on January 21. The next chance to pick up a band will be during Mason Recreation’s first free fitness screening on Tuesday, Feb. 2.