7 fitness-free ways to enjoy the new fitness center

I’m not fooled by the swarm of tank-topped dumbbell-crushers that ransacks the Nelson Fitness Center at around 5 p.m. every weekday. If you really wanted to get a good workout, you’d go to a satellite gym. Sure, the Big Mac New Mac  Nelly may have shinier weights and fewer torture dungeon vibes, but its state-of-the-art amenities can be pretty distracting to those trying to work up an actual sweat. I was so frustrated by my lack of productivity there that I decided to spend some time just enjoying the facilities. Here’s a list of suggestions for those looking to forgo the calorie burning for a day and do the same.

1. Have a snack at Poppy’s: No, not at your Grandpa’s, but at the cafe located in the lobby of the Nelly. Brown Dining Services has a knack for presenting familiar elements in novel ways–look no further than the Ratty’s prolific use of cheese and the word “Cajun.” The cafe at the Nelly follows suit, offering classic fare like hummus orbs and tiny Odwallas in a new light. For one, the place is new and shiny, far from the similarly-stocked food carts we associate with all-nighters. They also have a menu that suggests pairings of the snacks they offer. Turns out you can have a Chobani and an Odwalla bar!

2. Dry your clothes: We’re all up in arms about this year’s washing machine price hike. It’s tempting, but a laundry boycott will hurt all parties involved. If the extra quarters are putting you in a crunch, the best solution to your rapidly declining balance lies in the Nelson Fitness Center locker rooms. Each is equipped with a nifty swimsuit drier, which should do the trick if you’re feeling like saving $1.50.

Not just for swimsuits

3. Catch up on your favorite telenovela: There are a lot of TVs in the Nelly. The bulk of them can be found in the so-called “fitness” loft to supplement your already distracted workout.  Clearly the powers at be get tired of recycled Sportscenter clips, because some of these flatscreens on the second floor are occasionally tuned to Univision. Spanish soap operas with no sound don’t exactly get you pumped up, so sit back and watch the plot unfold.

“Raul said WHAT?”

4) Enjoy everyone’s favorite all-American natural pilsner in the Natatorium: Just don’t drunkenly stumble in on a men’s water polo practice.

5) Take a bike ride: Some of the bikes in the fitness room have virtual simulators to keep you occupied as you pedal away. Of course you shouldn’t be getting any exercise on your Nelly spa day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these state-of-art machines. Bring some fitting music and let the crudely animated bikers do the work.

6) Watch other people exercise: The Nelly is a lazy voyeur’s paradise. Just kick back in the pool area’s stadium seating and watch the struggling masses. Best combined with #4.

7) Enjoy the view from the roof: I’ll let you figure this one out…

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