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12 Awesome American College Gyms Everyone Envies

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Those thousands of dollars you’re paying to go to college often don’t go towards bettering your education. Instead, many universities use that massive influx of cash to build insanely complex gyms; gyms that would cause Arnold Schwarzenegger’s jaw to drop faster than you can say “get to da choppa!” Now, this is both super cool, and really distressing, since I’d bet the majority of college kids would rather have their books and room and board be free than have a gym worthy of your average millionaire. But I digress! Let’s suspend reality for a moment and just enjoy these ridiculously amazing college gyms.

1. University of Minnesota

Is it the pristine hardwood floor, or the wrap-around indoor running track that does it for me? I would have to say a little bit of both. These guys got so into their gym that they hired expert architects to do all sorts of fancy design tricks to keep you motivated while working out. The college I attended unfortunately did not have anything like this, and for that I shed numerous tears each night (not really).

2. University of Missouri

I guess these folks wanted to make up for the fact that they’re nowhere near any oceans by decking out the aquatics portion of their gym to the absolute max. It looks more like an amusement park than your average sparsely decorated college aquatics facility. There’s even a lazy river, which is something you’d expect to find in Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, not at a college campus.

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3. Ohio State

Oh how nice it is to go to a college with a big football program. Ohio State has an indoor football field in their gym, as well as a second level jogging track for students to utilize. Additionally, there’s more workout contraptions than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and lots of big windows too.

4. University of North Dakota

These guys are really enthusiastic about incorporating zen or mediation to their gym. It’s built to let in as much light as possible, and there are even rooms dedicated to quiet relaxation and yoga. I can actually see why this would be useful to your typical overworked and stressed college student. Bravo, North Dakota.

5. University of California, Irvine

How cool is it to have a gym so awesome, that Kobe Bryant likes training there? Well, if you go to UC Irvine you know how that feels. Their gym is equipped with the best of the best in terms of quality and technology, and that means even professionals go there to hone their craft. I could have given you an image of some fancy cardio contraption, but this one featuring Irvine’s giant rock wall was more amusing.

6. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly)

Along with priding itself as one of the only CSU schools to compete with the UCs in terms of educational value, Cal Poly also boasts a recreation center extensive enough (read: lots and lots of tennis courts) to compete against that of any

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college in the country. Looking at the pictures, I admit that I am a little bit jealous.

7. University of Denver

You might think that living a mile high in the sky would be enough of a workout for these people, but you would be wrong. The gym at the University of Denver comes equipped with a hockey rink, as well as countless other amenities. They even have it divided into particular specialized zones so that you can get the best work out possible. I doubt it’s easy to find an out of shape student at this school.

8. University of California, Santa Cruz

So maybe I’m biased in adding this one; oh well. Santa Cruz has a small gym compared to the rest of the schools on this list, but the views overlooking Monterey Bay are to die for. The jogging track is outdoors, unlike some of these ridiculously high tech gyms, but it serves its purpose and, again, you’re treated to a wonderful view. There’s also multiple pools, a basketball court, a soccer field, and plenty of tennis courts. Oh, and I guess this doesn’t really count as a “gym” amenity, but there’s super cool hiking trails everywhere. Not bad for a division three school!

9. Northwestern University

Here is another one that doesn’t necessarily have a standout gym, at least compared to the other places on this list. The unique thing about Northwestern is that their recreaction center provides students with classes about health and nutrition, if they wish to take them. Considering Northwestern’s educational reputation, it’s no surprise that they’d try to infuse a bit of learning into the workout process.

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10. University of Alabama

Football is king in the south, and it shows in their dedication to their athletes’ gym. Endless rows of weight equipment. Multimillion dollar renovations. I hate to chime in here with a little bit of opinion, but if we took like 10% of the money used to pay for this stuff to reduce tuition, that would be pretty cool.

11. Purdue University

I couldn’t find anything too out of the ordinary about this place except that they have tons of rock walls you can climb. Oh, and they spent nearly one hundred million dollars on renovating their recreation center. Those must be some super high tech rocks!

12. University of South Carolina

Not to be confused with the more famous (or infamous) USC in California, the USC in South Carolina has a gym that’s just about full to bursting. What caught my eye is that their recreation center includes “five basketball and volleyball courts, five racquetball courts, a squash court, a soccer and floor hockey court, and a jogging track.” All indoors, remember. Five basketball courts. Five?! Now, if it’s those dinky little half courts that’s not too impressive, but if they mean five full-sized courts, well, don’t mind me while I go sit in a corner and wish I went there!

What do you guys think about these (for the most part) gaudy gyms? Are they useful facilities that help students succeed, or overpriced boondoggles? Comment below!

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Featured photo credit: UCSC Gym/ Samuel Swayzevia flickr.com

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