Penguin Olympics incurs rule change

Highly competitive Olympians will risk a lot for a shot at glory. Penguin Olympians are no different.

In September, the guidelines for the Penguin Olympics, a competition held by the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, were modified after it was discovered that students were exploiting a loophole in order to gain the most points possible within a week.

Group X classes were originally scored by the length of the class — the more time spent in a class, the more points received. However, it was not taken into account that a great deal of cardio activity is involved in a majority of these classes, infringing on the guideline that limits cardio to one hour per day.

The main issue of concern revolved around Group X classes. The classes not only served as a strategy for participants to rack up a large amount of points, but also proved to be a health concern when not utilized appropriately.

“The American College of Sports Medicine have established guidelines in regards to frequency, intensity [and] duration,” said Nicole Haralambopoulos, a Youngstown State University student and the program’s creator.

Participants are now truly limited to one hour of cardio per day.

Haralambopoulos said the rules were changed for two reasons.

“One is to prevent overtraining, which is a very important principle that anyone who works out — beginner or advanced — should be aware of,” she said. “The other [was] because of people racing away with the points.”

Not only can overtraining leave an enthusiast with potential health issues, but the individual’s overall goal and progress will be delayed or even set back due to these concerns.

The ACSM recommends “a gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity … for best adherence and least injury risk.”

As of July 2011, the ACSM has found that adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise per week. The study concluded this minimum can be met through either 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week or 20- to 60-minute intervals of vigorous-intensity exercise over a span of three days a week.

Though the classes offer a range of activity levels, lower activity level classes like yoga are normally recommended for those trying to incorporate exercise into an inactive lifestyle.

Academic and other obligations place students at a disadvantage as to which classes they are able to attend. For the eager Penguin Olympics participants, it means choosing the first class they can attend that day — regardless of activity level.

Haralambopoulos said she understands that devoted members of the program are “in it to win it” and has tried to offer alternative means of point collection that range outside of participants’ physical exercise.

Bonus points are awarded to teams and individual members who attend educational lectures and events centered on exercise and other health-related topics such as the Bench Press Clinic held on Saturday.

“I want to keep people motivated and enjoy what this program has to offer,” she said. “In the end, everything we do at Campus Rec is for our faculty, staff and students.”