TCU is ranked No. 8 in the nation for fitness, according to Men’s Fitness magazine, but some who work at the University Recreation Center question how the ranking was decided – and how legitimate it is.The Rec Center is comparable to those at other schools, but the ranking may not accurately portray the overall fitness of universities, said Steve Kintigh, director of Campus Recreation.
“It’s not exactly Sports Illustrated or Time,” he said. “But we appreciate the offering, and if anything, it brings attention to the culture of fitness and the TCU facility.”
The ranking is conducted by the Princeton Review, which sends a survey to students around the nation.
Ben Zelevansky from the Princeton Review said between 60,000 to 70,000 students who have answered the survey in the past were sent the survey.
He said the survey is made of 26 questions that are separated in to two categories: questions about the personal fitness of students and the university’s aid in fitness. The answers to the questions are then used to determine a letter grade for each university.
Questions include asking students about their drinking, smoking and fast food habits and their opinion of the university’s availability of healthy food, gym hours and an on-campus nutritionist.
“Baylor’s grades are higher than ours, but we ranked higher than they did,” Kintigh said. “I don’t get it.” Zelevansky said the grades are not connected to the overall ranking, because the grades only break down the answers to the questions. He said certain parts of the categories are weighted heavier than others in deciding the overall ranking of the schools, which explains how a school could receive higher overall grades and still be rated slightly below another.
According to Men’s Fitness, TCU received a C- for student smoking, drinking and consumption of fast food, an A- for sleep and exercise, an A+ for gym hours and a B for culture of fitness. Baylor University, which was ranked ninth, received an A- for intake, a B- for sleep and exercise, an A- for gym hours and an A for culture of fitness.
“I would guess we participate well in fast food, cigarettes and alcohol – it happens,” Kintigh said. “It doesn’t surprise me students eat fast food, and I’ve heard students are known to drink.”
Ryan Ray, a senior speech pathology major, works at the Rec Center and said she heard about TCU’s ranking when her mother called to tell her, but said she didn’t really understand the method for ranking.
Ray said she thinks the Rec Center serves another purpose in addition to just exercise.
“I think it’s kind of a social thing,” Ray said. “Do a little working out, do a little socializing.”
Asia Lloyd, a senior communication studies major who also works at the Rec Center, said she thinks students work out not only for health but also for the sake of appearance.
Lloyd and Ray both said they see an increase in visits to the Rec Center at the beginning of school, after Winter Break and before Spring Break – or what they call “swimsuit season.”
Hours for the Rec Center run from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday through Friday, Ray said. The busiest time for the Rec Center is between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., she said.
Senior finance major Barrett Campbell said he works out four times a week, lifting weights and running on the indoor track.
Campbell said working out is a stress reliever but also said some students might work out to look good.
Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said the Rec Center was reconstructed because of the student interest in having a good facility.
“I think if you were to have a gym that had only weights or only aerobics, it just wouldn’t appeal to many students,” Mills said. “We have lots of ways to exercise and fit people’s needs. So if you want to exercise and stay fit, it’s not hard to do that.”
Adding to its fitness, TCU has an on-campus nutritionist and the food on campus is part of a Body, Mind and Soul program.
This means students have the option to see what they want to eat, said Rick Flores, general manager of Dining Services. The balance program uses color and labels to tell students what foods contain what ingredients, he said.
TCU also has a nutrition calculator online that creates a list of food intake and allows students to calculate calories.
“Our part is only one part of the puzzle,” Flores said. “It’s a matter of offering items in wide range. It’s a matter of what students chose.”
Despite reservations from some students and faculty, Mills said he appreciates the ranking.
“I like being in the top 10 in everything,” Mills said. “I think its great.