Tech Tuneup

Trail videos for stationary bikes, heart monitors at the Coliseum bring the REC firmly into 2018

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Jay Derrig works out on one of the new pieces of equipment installed this year at the REC. Old weight benches were donated to the Fort Dodge Fire Department as the REC upgraded.

This year, visitors to the downtown REC will get a big boost in contemporary connectivity while they work out.

“Wifi is new for 2018. People love that,” said Dave Pearson, executive director. “It’s been one of those things that have been in demand.”

But providing wireless access throughout the aging concrete building required laying a lot of wires first.

“It’s very expensive. It’s about $4,000,” Pearson said. “With all the concrete walls, to get it through the whole building and all the different areas, we need so many repeaters.”

The tech tuneup is just a part of the renovations that have gone on at the downtown location over the past year.

-Messenger file photo by Joe Sutter
Matt Hanson, left, Kaila Blomberg and Brandon Bush talk where new equipment will go, framed by a collection of new easy curl bars, as the REC center brings in new weight benches, dumbbells and other equipment in November.

And the REC is also offering new classes, and adding other new technology to some of its old spaces.

The cycling room now has a projector, to add a different atmosphere to visitors’ workouts.

“We are wanting to create a different atmosphere in our spin classes. Even when a spin class isn’t going on we’re going to have a projector playing that’s going to show some different trails, or some different areas,” said Associate Director Matt Hanson. “So you can just go in there and pedal on a bike on your own, whatever works on your schedule, and there will be a constant loop of different trails playing on the wall.”

A new class called the Pulse Experience will be added to the REC Coliseum, which will also take advantage of technology.

“It’s going to be really innovative,” Pearson said. “Everyone has a heart rate monitor, and it’s projected on the wall. You can see what zone you’re in.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Doug Smith displays one of the wireless antennas that have been installed throughout the downtown REC, next to the wired hub that connects them all. Bringing wifi to the old building was a challenge due to the cement walls.

“There’s an ideal heart rate zone the instructor will try to coach you into for different stages of the workout,” Hanson explained. “The idea is if we can get you into those zones, to make sure you’re working at a certain rate, it really helps boost your metabolism, so even after the workout is over it will keep that metabolism raised. You’ll be burning calories more than normal for an extended period of time.”

That class, and a new beginners class, will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Pearson said, while the existing coliseum classes will continue on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Coliseum offers cross-training-style classes, while the downtown REC has a more family atmosphere with its basketball courts and swimming pool. The Iowa Central Community College REC location is more of a health club setting, Pearson said. The REC also operates Snap Fitness, which is open 24 hours a day.

Downtown, the REC has been renovating with new LED lighting in many rooms, new carpet in the locker rooms, new paint throughout the entryways, and new ceiling and floors in the hot yoga studio.

They’ve also repainted the pool area.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Iris McAtee leaps from the indoor equipment in the daycare room at the REC’s downtown location. The REC offers childcare while parents work out.

New equipment has been installed in the downstairs weight room, with some old equipment going to the Fort Dodge Fire Department.

New equipment is on its way for the upstairs cardio room as well, said Pearson.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Framed by a new weight bench, Matt Hanson, left, and Brandon Bush move one of the older pieces of equipment at the REC, as new items are brought in last November.