By Connor Cigrang, Student Writer

Gone are the days of students having to cram into the small space filled with grunting athletes that used to be Messiah’s weight room. However, even with the new Falcon Fitness Center students are hesitant to visit the gym due to feeling inexperienced or intimidated.

Kevin Ogden, director of the Fitness Center, is a huge supporter of going to the gym to improve your health and seeks to encourage even beginners to step out of their comfort zone.

“We know that 10-15 minutes of exercise can have incredible benefits on mood and energy,” Ogden said.

He highlighted that starting your fitness journey doesn’t necessarily mean doing high-intensity workouts and drinking a gallon of water every day. Individuals should set and work to meet their own fitness goals.

But, how do you set goals and create programs when you have no idea what you are doing?

The Fitness Center’s website has 17 sample exercise programs, accompanied by YouTube videos for each exercise, Ogden explained. Within these, students can find beginner, intermediate and group workout plans.

The Fitness Center also has two student trainers that are available to give students a tour or help them with exercise form.

“It takes away that original, ‘I don’t even know where to go’, ‘I don’t know where to put my stuff’, ‘I don’t know how to turn this machine on,’” Ogden said.

Students looking for a more individualized program can meet with a student trainer who will write an individualized 8-week exercise program. These, however, do have a cost.

“In these programs, we will sit down and talk with you and go over your goals and take into consideration several important factors necessary for a challenging and fun program that will help you achieve your goals,” said Student Trainer JP Marrero-Rivera.

Another option for those uncomfortable going to the gym alone, are the group exercise classes.

These are “inclusive to all people regardless of one’s background, exercise knowledge and fitness level,” Marrero-Rivera said.

There are 10 different classes, including yoga, spin, Pilates and others. There is a one-time $15 fee for participation which gets students into as many classes as they want.

No matter how you choose to get involved at the Fitness Center, Ogden sees not only the physical benefit but also the mental. He mentioned the increase of positive mood and productivity as well as decreased anxiety.

Both Ogden and Marrero-Rivera agreed that the Fitness Center offers something for every student at Messiah. Whether it’s the beginning of your fitness journey, or you’re an experienced athlete, you can always find a way to challenge yourself.

First-year Corum McCuller is new to the Fitness Center but expressed already enjoying the facility and the benefits of going there.

“I think it’s a really well put together weight room with awesome equipment and I feel like it’s a place I can go to get stronger,” he said.

For more information or to sign up for exercise classes, visit