Comparing Northwestern’s three on-campus gyms


Chelsea Sherlock/Daily Senior Staffer

With three gyms, there are plenty of places to get your fitness fix on campus. From facilities to atmosphere, this week’s fitness blog breaks down the best (and worst) of each.

Chelsea Sherlock, Columnist

While trying to survive Chicago’s coldest winter since 1872, it was pretty easy to convince myself that it was a good idea to skip the gym and stay inside with a mug of hot chocolate. However, all those missed workouts have had consequences. Now that the temperatures are back to a range where I can leave skin exposed without fear of frostbite, it’s time to start focusing on getting physically healthy.

That is where this column comes in. I, and I’m sure many others, don’t really enjoy working out, especially the same way each week. This column is going to be a collection of ways to get fit and improve your workout. This quarter, I’ll help you check out all the fitness options Northwestern and Evanston to offer.

To start with, I ventured into the three on-campus gyms to do a side by side comparison.


Blomquist Recreation Center (Blom): Primarily cardio equipment, with some medicine balls, basic machines and dumbbells, along with an area for ab workouts. There are also courts for basketball and volleyball.

Henry Crown Sports Pavilion (SPAC): Pretty much anything you could want. There is a running track, swimming pool, a lot of weightlifting machines and cardio equipment among others. There are courts for basketball, tennis and other sports.

Patten Gymnasium (Patten): Pretty much entirely lifting and boxing equipment in the basement. There are courts for basketball and volleyball and a multipurpose room for dance or martial arts.


Blom: A laid-back, community rec center feel, with a small area that contains most of the equipment and quickly gets warm.

SPAC: The most popular and largest fitness center on campus, SPAC’s size and variety of equipment can be intimidating. SPAC is commonly described as “all about the show.”

Patten: There is an intense feel when you work out here. Almost everyone looks serious and there is no talking. Most of the people who work out here are male.


Blom: It’s the only gym on South campus and the compact size decreases the amount needed to move for each new exercise.

SPAC: You are most likely to run into someone you know here, which, depending on the person, can be good or bad. There are a lot of fun classes offered that are great for mixing up workouts and providing extra motivation and training.

Patten: Perfect for people who don’t want to be seen while working out. You are guaranteed a minimal amount of people will see you here, so there is less concern to look good while trying a new exercise or increasing reps or weight.


Blom: You will probably have to wait a while to use the different machines.

SPAC: Classes fill quickly, so people need to show up early. There are a lot of people who go here, which can be distracting.

Patten: The basement where the exercise equipment is located is kind of janky.

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