Grant offers ‘in tower’ fitness

By Jennifer McCabe

The senior staff members of Grant Towers are working toward “Better Bodies” for NIU students.

Mike Dessert and Kyo Mitchell, senior staff of Grant Towers and coordinators of the Tower of Power gym, are trying to help students achieve physical fitness through weightlifting and aerobics.

“We want to accomplish a balance between physical and mental strengths,” Dessert said.

The Grant Towers gym has gone from a couple of weight-lifting machines to a complete gym with over 35 machines and an aerobics studio in just five years. The gym has many different machines including stair climbing machines, rowing machines and stationary bicycles.

“The gym is very successful, way beyond our expectations,” Mitchell said.

Dessert said the gym offers a very positive experience for students who want an alternative to the Office of Campus Recreation center and to the more expensive gyms in town. The weight room is large and the walls are covered with mirrors and posters of body builders.

“Our gym is comparable to any of the gyms in town,” Dessert said, “and it costs less.”

Lori Stephans, the coordinator for the aerobics program said the program benefits the students more now than in the past. The Resident Assistants used to run aerobics programs, and they did a good job, but now the intensive Grant Towers program has replaced them, she said.

Using the “Better Bodies Aerobics” program, with 45 steps and good instructors, the program is very successful to those who use it, Mitchell said.

“The classes are very convenient and close to home. They don’t have to get a ride to the gym, or run out in bad weather to the rec. They can just go downstairs,” Stephans said.

The aerobics room is large and carpeted with a small stage at the front of the room for the instructor. They are also expecting mirrors to enhance the program, Mitchell said.

All of the aerobics instructors and the gym staff are NIU students with experience in these areas. “We aren’t a bunch of buffoons trying to tell people how to work out,” Dessert said.

The coordinators do not receive a monetary benefit from the classes or the gym except they can work out for free.

All the money the gym takes in fees goes right back into improving the gym, Dessert said. They seek new equipment and ways to update the rooms

Coordinators are also dating their physical fitness library to include books and videos on the most effective ways to workout and loose weight.

They also will be holding a massage class in the new multipurpose room, which is in the aerobics center. The class is open to anyone for $10 and starts Sept. 28. The room also will include a 45″ television and VCR.

The gym is open everyday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday. There are aerobics classes Sunday through Friday every week.