By Jim Hynes
Looking for more out of your lunchtime than a bite to eat, perhaps a quick workout to help you stay in shape? McGill’s Staff Fitness Program has something for everyone, from Aqua Fitness to Zumba, from badminton to yoga. Just ask the almost 750 University employees who flock to its wildly popular lunch-hour sessions at both the downtown and Macdonald campuses every fall, winter and spring.
The program, which started as a pilot collaboration between the University and the department of Athletics & Recreation in 2001, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this fall. It continues to be subsidized by the McGill administration, which is one of the main reasons it just might be the best deal on campus. For a mere $15, a full-time regular staff member can take part in a twice-weekly, 13-week fitness course. Sessions last 45 minutes each, giving most people enough time to squeeze one into their lunchtime. All of the 15 fall courses offered downtown and the four fall courses at Macdonald campus are scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 12.
How popular is the Program? Registration for this fall’s sessions started earlier this week, and within an hour four of the classes downtown were sold out, said Kevin MacSween, Assistant Manager, Recreation and Fitness at McGill Athletics & Recreation.
“Spin, tennis, and badminton traditionally fill up very quickly,” MacSween said, “and Zumba is really hot right now. The yoga and body design classes are always steady too.”
The Program has been a hit since it was founded, and not only with McGill staff. In 2005, it won a Canadian Association of University Business Officers 2005 Quality and Productivity Award.
But despite it’s popularity, not everyone thinks the Program is perfect, MacSween said.
“Some people don’t like the idea of walking up the hill to the Athletics complex, they think it’s too far away. So we’ve tried to address that by offering the Tai-Chi and some of the yoga classes at the Presbyterian College (on the corner of University and Milton).”
Space is still available in a number of courses. The Program is restricted to full-time, regular staff at a limit of one course per semester. Requests for additional courses are considered, space permitting, at the end of the first week of classes.
Staff members wishing to register for a course are encouraged to do so on-line using the On-Line Services button on the front page of the Athletics and Recreation website at www.mcgill.ca/athletics. Vastly improved since its implementation last September, On-line Services requires a credit card to process a registration quickly and efficiently.
Course descriptions are available at www.mcgill.ca/athletics/recreation/courses/fall/stafffitness for downtown and at http://macdonaldcampusathletics.mcgill.ca/webpages/recreation_staff.htm for Macdonald campus.