In what has already been an atypical school year, the Simpson strength and conditioning department is enforcing restrictions in the fitness center, both for the downstairs weight room and the upstairs fitness area.
To gain access, student-athletes must complete their Moodle Check-ins and have a secondary temperature check prior to entering either level. Slot times must also be reserved 15 minutes before the first session of the day through the SignUp Genius website.
Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Craig Konrardy is following protocols approved by the crisis management team and is constantly managing the logistics of the workout areas with the strength staff, although he admits it has been challenging.
“This is just more mentally draining on Kenadi and me because there are so many minute details we have to pay attention to,” he said. “At the end of the day we’re responsible for 500 athletes… so trying to get them back to where they were is our main focus and once we get them close we can start preparing for seasons.”
Only 22 athletes are currently allowed in the weight room at one time while the fitness area permits a maximum of 20. No wandering is allowed and individuals must remain at their assigned rack for the duration of their workout.
Sanitation is the most important step in the process. Each rack has a bottle of disinfecting spray and microfiber towels are given to athletes to wipe down their areas after use.
The strength staff then comes through with an electrostatic sprayer to ensure complete disinfection after each session.
“We can’t be too careful right now,” Konrardy said. “If we have an outbreak in the weight room and we have a lot of athletes in there, who knows what’s gonna happen.”
Instead of an open time frame, athletes are granted 45 minutes to finish their workouts in the weight room, masks worn at all times. Junior linebacker Seth Niccum is one of many student-athletes who have had trouble adjusting to this new reality.
“It’s really tough on your body,” he said. “I have a routine of how I warm up, and that takes 15 minutes alone. I’m sure it’s tough for other guys but we all have to make some sacrifices.”
With the weight room only allowing athletes, some students have looked for other gym options outside of campus. Senior accounting major Tom Kunzer currently has a membership at Anytime Fitness in Indianola.
“I’m still wearing my mask and wiping down my area before and after so none of that is really changing at other places,” he said. “The biggest thing is making sure I can do my full workout and getting the most out of it.”
In spite of the temptation of joining other gyms, Niccum is committed to training in the Simpson weight room.
“It’s a gym that has character,” he said. “I feel a sense of pride working out here and I know a lot of the people. I’ve asked for spots countless times and there’s always somebody there to help.”
Although the learning curve seems endless, Konrardy is optimistic the weight room will eventually return to its true form. As long as athletes stay the course, he believes we will see signs of normalcy.
Kunzer has the same feeling.
“I think Simpson’s handling it really well,” he said. “Compared to other colleges in the state, we really do seem to have a good hold on things. I’m patient enough to wait for however long it takes because I’m excited to get back into the weight room at Simpson.”