Included in the Marist tuition is free access to the McCann gym on campus; however, many Marist students choose to pay to use Mike Arteaga’s Health and Fitness Center across the street to avoid the inconveniences of the McCann gym.
“We have hundreds of Marist students every year, so we try to give them the best deals possible,” said Mike Arteaga’s employee Natalie Morse.
Owner Mike Arteaga has a close relationship with the Marist community since he is a graduate of Marist. Arteaga reflected on being cut from the crew team his freshmen year, but, determined to make the team in the spring, he added 25-pounds of muscle going into the spring season. Flourishing on the team as a captain both his junior and senior year, Arteaga felt he had to help others transform the same way he did. After years of learning the business world, Arteaga opened his gym in 1973 and has been catering to Marist students for over 40 years.
Mike Arteaga’s offers a “Marist Special” for students, 24 years and under, which includes a $10 payment every two weeks, a $39 annual fee and no joining fee. Non-student fees are $20 every two weeks, a $39 annual fee and a $10 joining fee.
While Mike Arteaga’s provides a less crowded gym for students, it also has many employment opportunities for students. In fact, Morse said that almost 50 percent of the Mike Arteaga’s staff is Marist students. Employee benefits include a free gym membership for both the employee and one of their friends or family members.
“[Mike Arteaga’s] provides more and better equipment. It also has unlimited access to the hot tub, cold plunge and sauna, which is especially helpful after a football game because Marist does not always provide that for athletes,” said senior football player Michael Marston.
The McCann gym has two floors with about 40 cardio machines and 40 pieces of free weight and power lifting equipment, while Mike Arteaga’s has two floors with over 135 cardio machines and over 75 free weight and power lifting equipment. In addition to having double the equipment, Mike Arteaga’s also provides free personal training, exercise classes, a cardio cinema room, sauna, pool, hot tub and cold plunge.
“I don’t really enjoy working out on my own so I really like how [Mike Arteaga’s] offers classes at different times that fit in my schedule,” said Jennifer Galiani, Marist student and Mike Arteaga’s employee.
Mike Arteaga’s offers a variety of classes including yoga, step, zumba, boxing, cycling and aqua fitness for all fitness levels. The gym also offers circuit training with a personal trainer.
Senior Christy Moore said, “Marist gym is always crowded. [Mike Arteaga’s] has more cardio equipment and parking. Parking in the McCann Lot is just way too difficult.”
The McCann Lot is assigned to all commuter students, coaches and some employees, leaving little to no parking spots for students just using the gym. The McCann Lot is also closed on game days as a courtesy to Red Fox fans attending the games, but restricts commuter student access to the gym.
“The Marist gym is way too crowded especially when athletic teams are lifting. We desperately need a varsity weight room,” said Ryan Schneider, senior football player.
Marist does not have a separate weight room for athletes; therefore, athletic teams train at the same time that the general student population is utilizing the gym. Aaron Suma, Strength and Conditioning Coach, said that he did not feel the McCann gym is properly equipped to handle the general student population as well as some of the larger athletic teams at the same time.
“I am able to make it work training student athletes while general students are in the gym, but it isn’t ideal for anyone whether you’re a student athlete or general student,” said Suma.
When the McCann gym was built in 1997, it sufficiently met the space and equipment demands of both the general student body and student athletes, but Suma said that the expansion of the college, larger roster sizes and an increased awareness of physical fitness have made the McCann gym “a bit too crowded.”
Suma said that there will be another fitness center opening in September 2017 where the old Gartland buildings once were. The building is said to be about 4,000 square feet with more fitness equipment. An additional gym on campus will give students another option as to where to work out and could possibly take some business from Mike Arteaga’s.