No excuses: 10 ways to PLAY HARD. GET FIT. LIVE WELL. without the SERF

As you made your way back to campus last week, you may have noticed a few changes: Witte Residence Hall is taller, the new Memorial Union and Alumni park are nearly completed, and the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF) looks a little… empty. The lack of activity isn’t because students are protesting the treck up to the cardio room, the lack of bathrooms, or the questionable color palettes (blues and oranges and purples, what?).
The SERF is empty because on Friday, August 18, the building closed for good, bringing us one step closer to demo day and construction of a new facility. A new facility with four times the amount of fitness space, double the number of basketball courts, bathrooms on every floor, and plenty of Badger colors to make you feel right at home.
But here’s the thing. Just because campus is down a facility doesn’t mean you have a reason to skip your workout this year. Sure, it may be easy to tell yourself, “the Nat is too far” or “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know how to start”. But as Vince Vaughn famously taught us in Wedding Crashers,
Rec Sports has made it possible for you to continue your workout routines on both sides of campus by opening new fitness spaces, rearranging equipment, forming partnerships and extending facility hours.
Here are 10 ways you can PLAY HARD. GET FIT. LIVE WELL. without the SERF:

    1. Get to the Nat. (Stat.) That’s right. The Natatorium looks a lot different than it did in May. Rec Sports doubled the amount of strength equipment in the Weight Room and transferred all the cardio equipment upstairs to the new Cardio Court. One thing that hasn’t changed is the Performance Training Center. As in, it’s still awesome. Got a busy class schedule this fall? No excuses. The Nat also has expanded hours this year to accommodate the influx of users from the southeast side of campus.
    2. Occupy Ogg. Cue the celebration, Ogg Hall Fitness Center is officially open! The end of the SERF doesn’t mean the end of fitness on the southeast side of campus. The first floor lounge in Ogg Residence Hall has been fully transformed into a hub for cardio and strength lovers. Concerned about finding a gym that’s close to home? No excuses. For some of you, the gym is literally IN your home. Check it out today!
    3. Visit Near West Fields. The Near West Fields reopened this summer with almost seven acres of turf. This marks the first completed project of the Rec Sports Master Plan. Cheers! You can play basically any sport imaginable on the fields, from soccer and ultimate to baseball and lacrosse. Forgot your equipment at home? No excuses. Rec Sports has everything you need available to rent out at the fields. You can even use the turf for your sprint and interval training. We measure 2.5 laps per mile. Run, Forrest, run!
    4. Get fit with friends. Wondering where you can find all of your favorite Group Fitness classes now that the SERF is closed? Fear not. There are still over 70 classes to choose from each week at the Nat, and you can try them all for free September 6-17. Not sure you have time to walk all the way across campus and back? No excuses. BCycle is offering a free annual membership to any student who purchases a Group Fitness pass during the first two weeks of school.
    5. Play a sport. You don’t have to “play like a champion” to play a sport on campus. No matter your experience level or level of competitive spirit, there are tons of ways to be part of a team. Choose from more than 40 different intramural sports, including table tennis, soccer, dodgeball, and basketball. Never played a sport before? No excuses. Almost no one has played bubble soccer or battleship before (these are actual intramural sports) so you’ll be in good company. There are also recreational leagues in each sport for students who are more “low key” about the whole winning thing. Plus, the seasons are short and you only play once or twice per week and at a time that’s convenient for you.If you’re looking for a step up in competition, consider joining one of over 40 sport clubs. Not sure where to start? No excuses. Many of the clubs will be at the Student Org Fair on September 13 and 14 at the Kohl Center.
    6. Try the Fitness Trail. Not ready to move your workout inside? We can’t blame you, but… No excuses. In addition to fields, tennis courts, and sand volleyball courts, Rec Sports has started construction on a new fitness trail along Lakeshore Path. (The old equipment was becoming unsafe and needed a facelift.) Test your strength at various stations, take a stretch break on your run, and catch some great views of the lake before #WinterIsComing. Check it out later this fall!
    7. Conquer the Queenax. There is a brand new piece of equipment in the new Cardio Court at the Natatorium. The Queenax offers a variety of possibilities for your workout, including TRX bands, punching bags, swings, and more. Not sure where to start? No excuses. A Rec Sports personal trainer will be on hand during the first few weeks of school to show you the ropes, so to speak, and teach you how to include the Queenax in your next workout.
    8. See (the) Shell. The world is your oyster at this Rec Sports facility located next to Camp Randall. You have an ice rink, 200-meter indoor track, five basketball courts, cardio equipment, and weights and strength equipment at your fingertips (and toetips). Want to play a game of pick-up on the southeast side of campus? No excuses. The Shell is your answer.
    9. Party in the Pool. A fitness party, that is! The Natatorium Pool will also have extended hours this year so you can just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just…you get the picture. Rec Sports provides private, semi-private, and group swim lessons in case you’re not so comfortable in the water. So you’re more of a “land” athlete? No excuses. Water jogging has some great benefits for running and as a cross-training option. Pro tip: the diving well is a little warmer than the lap pool! So now the question is, water you waiting for?
    10. Show up. Mark your calendar for these upcoming Rec Sports-hosted events. Join other #activebadgers this fall for Glow-in-the-Dark Group Fitness (pizza provided by Ian’s), Glow-in-the-Dark Volleyball, Nat @ Nite, Homecoming Badger Games, the Light of the Moon Homecoming 5K Run/Walk, the NIRSA MadTown Flag Football Regional, and more. Is working out not really your thing? No excuses. These events are a great way to meet new people, try something different, eat free snacks, and get free stuff. Check the Rec Sports website or the campus calendar for dates and details.

To sum up, you have a lot of options this year, and we’re not letting you off the hook. Just 20-30 minutes a day of physical activity is only 2% of your time. And working out can improve your mood, your ability to focus, the quality of your sleep, and more. But if none of the options listed here speak to you, try walking to your destination instead of taking the bus or driving. No excuses. Play like a champion. You got this.
**Follow Rec Sports on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more inspiration and ideas about how to stay active on campus. You can find project updates about the Master Plan and construction of the new “SERF” on the Rec Sports website.