Students at IE appear to have a preference for alternative gym subscriptions over using free IE Athletic Center. Why?
By Yevheniia Pohorila
Maria: I attended the yoga class this morning. It was just me and the IE staff.
David: They should remove that room for classes to make the gym larger. The gym is sh*t, it’s always so crowded.
Maria: No way, I want my yoga classes!
This conversation between two second-year BBA students, David (name changed) and Maria, was overheard in one of the study rooms in the tower. How packed is the gym? Is it possible to put rooms to better use? What other concerns do IE students have regarding the sports facilities, and how does the Sports and Well-being management respond?
The IE Athletic Center on the Madrid campus opened a little over two years ago. It offers a gymnasium hall, gym, two group training rooms, and two heated swimming pools. Additionally, there are two changing rooms equipped with 360 lockers. These sports facilities are free of charge for students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Data from the Sports & Well-Being Center reveals that in September 2023, nearly 7.8 thousand unique people used the facilities, and from January to September 2023, the number exceeded 38.5 thousand.
Considering these numbers, it makes sense that many people are dissatisfied with how overcrowded the facilities are, especially the gym. The number of daily users has increased significantly, from 160-190 people a day last year to 320-340 this September. David points out that these higher numbers have led to a lack of available gym equipment. Gym-goers have to wait to use even basic items like handles and ropes. He adds, “these are very easy-to-buy and inexpensive accessories that would greatly improve the gym.” Fourth-year BIR student Catalina, on the other hand, believes that the equipment is “adequate for a free space.”
The Sports and Well-being team is well aware that the space is too small for the number of people who use it. They are currently working on expanding the space. Yoryy Casas, Manager of Sports & Well-Being emphasizes that this is not an easy task, but definitely not an impossible one.
Another issue faced by some students is the gym’s operating hours.” The gym is too crowded and only opens at 8 a.m.,” Maria says. David and Catalina share the same thought– the gym’s opening hours make it inconvenient for them because of their work and class schedules.
Yoryy replies: “When the Athletic Center opened, it was operating from 7, but no one came. So now we open at 7:45 a.m. to allow the entire team to prepare everything, and classes begin at 8 a.m. There are almost always the same five people at this time, and I believe those who do come take full advantage of the space because they have everything they need.”
On the bright side, classes are receiving a lot of positive feedback. There are 40 classes weekly, and the schedules are carefully put together with consideration from the previous year’s data– there were time slots when barely a few people came, and it was just a waste of teachers’ and cleaners’ time and resources.
The only problem with the classes is irresponsible booking by some students, which leads to the website showing classes as full when, in reality, they turn out to be empty.
There are arguments for both choosing to go to the IE gym and getting a subscription somewhere else. In Maria’s case, she has a membership at another gym (BasicFit). She believes it’s more convenient since it’s closer to where she lives and less crowded than the IE gym. Catalina also has a subscription to BasicFit for the same reasons, but she also mentions that she shares it with her boyfriend, which makes it only 15 euros a month.
Houda, a fourth-year BIR student, used to have a membership at another gym but didn’t renew it since she found the one at IE more comfortable and convenient. Second-year BCDM student Alina doesn’t consider buying a gym membership because she is satisfied with the gym at IE and appreciates the convenience of going there after classes instead of spending time commuting somewhere else. David also doesn’t use his membership at another gym since it was too far to commit to daily trips.
The IE gym and all the classes are free and, as Yoryy assures, will always be. Unlike most of the paid alternatives, the IE Athletic Center also has a pool.
So, the choice of paying extra for the gym remains individual for everyone depending on their needs and personal preferences. But you may want to ask yourself: has the best gym in Madrid been right underneath you all along?
Featured image courtesy of IE Sports & Well Being website