From Yoga to Free Weights, Fordham Stays Fit


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

The importance of fitness has been hammered into students’ minds since elementary school, when gym teachers administered fitness tests in health classes while preaching the importance of exercise. As America continues to deal with rising obesity rates, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students are doing what they can to maintain healthy lifestyles.

FCLC’s Manhattan locale is in a unique setting where gyms, pilates studios and areas to run are plentiful. With the winter months slowly fading into spring, many Fordham students are recommitting themselves to keeping in shape and melting away those excess pounds.

Kathleen Mroz, FCLC ’11, keeps fit by running six times a week, splitting time between running outside and on the treadmill.

“I prefer running outside, but when I’m at school, I mostly run on the treadmill because it’s quicker and easier,” Mroz said.

After running two years on her high school’s cross-country team, Mroz views running as a way for her to relieve stress.

“You can go on fast runs on a day you feel energized, and [on] long runs on days when you have a lot on your mind and just need to clear your head,” Mroz said.

Vinny Azzinaro, FCLC ’08, focuses on weight-training to keep his body healthy.

“I work out at the local NYSC [New York Sports Club] two, three times per week, for about an hour and a half each time,” Azzinaro said. “Mostly, I lift weights, varying between free weights, cables and certain machines.”

Like Mroz, Azzinaro works out to cope with stress, but he believes his fitness routines have “positive impacts” on both his mental and physical well-being.

“I want to improve my health, keep my heart strong, develop strength and build muscle mass,” Azzinaro said.

Christina Vanyo, FCLC ’10, combines cardio training with weight lifting in her exercise routines.

“If it’s a seven-mile run day, I hit [the] weights first while my muscles are fresh,” Vanyo explained. “On the other hand, if it’s a light day of cardio, I’ll do a 15-minute cardio warm-up, hit the iron and then return to cardio for about half an hour.”

Though she has been an athlete for most of her life, Vanyo said she began weight lifting after being deployed with the Army in 2006.

“I have never seen my body change as it has through serious weight lifting,” Vanyo explained. “It has been two years since that first serious work-out, and I plan never to stop.” Vanyo has taken her passion for working out to the next level by becoming a certified personal trainer.

Outside of the traditional forms of exercise, running and weight-lifting, some Fordham students are embracing yoga and pilates. Anne Lieberman, FCLC ’09, took up hot baptiste/hot vinyassa yoga as a way to stay fit while rehabilitating her knee.

“With that type of yoga, you build cardio endurance while doing a series of strength-building moves,” Lieberman said. “I have never felt stronger in my entire life.”

A pilates practitioner, Juliet Ben-Ami, FCLC ’11, believes that the benefits of exercises are wide-ranging.

“Exercise not only gives me more energy, but during the week, I notice that my attention span broadens and my ability to concentrate increases,” Ben-Ami said.

Whether a person focuses on cardio, weight or strength training, Vanyo recommends that nutrition plays a big role in overall fitness.

“In order to meet training goals, nutrition is about 80 percent to your workout’s 20 percent,” said Vanyo. “Training, as in exercising, is worth nothing without disciplined nutrition.”

When it comes to weight training, Vanyo stresses the point of correct posture while lifting.

“Incorrect posture undoes any good one hopes to achieve by exercising; it makes the individual prone to injury and will promote the building of incorrect muscles,” Vanyo explained.

No matter what exercise a person decides to do, the advantages of an active and healthy lifestyle extends beyond the physical benefits.

“The benefit of being satisfied with your body physically builds good confidence, not because you’re ‘skinny’, but because you’re healthy, strong and being truly good to yourself,” Vanyo said.