Coach gives advice for staying fit as a student

As January slowly schleps off of the calendars, some students may begin to come to the unfortunate realization that their resolution to get into shape this year had about the same lifespan as their childhood goldfish, Bubbles. May he rest in peace.

It is at the heart of winter in Erie, and if staying physically active as a university student was not difficult before, many students are now faced with the added trials of below freezing temperatures and multiple feet of lake effect snow encouraging them to put off that resolution for another year.

College students should participate in a minimum of two and a half hours of exercise each week, according to the Center for Disease Control. But between classes, studying and what The Weather Channel has deemed the second snowiest city in the United States, some Mercyhurst students may struggle to make physical activity a regular part of their day.

Tom Herman, Assistant Athletic Director, director of the Mercyhurst Recreation Center (REC Center), and veteran football coach, said that the best way for students to stay fit in this type of environment is to add structure to their days.

“Structure in your day gives you more energy,” said Herman, who has been coaching college football for over 30 years, the past seven of them at Mercyhurst. “Lack of structure in your day makes you do things late at night [which causes] you to sleep in.”

Herman warns students against participating in what he refers to as “the Saturday Morning Syndrome.”

“Saturday mornings, if you sleep in, you don’t want to do anything all day long. You become lethargic and lazy,” said Herman. However, Herman continued, “if you get up early on a Saturday morning early because you have to do something… you get more things done that day than you ever thought you could do.”

Herman said the most successful athletes are the ones who “get up early and eat breakfast every day.”

“You have to set a goal,” he continued. “That you’re going to eat a certain way, that you want to exercise a certain way… if you get into a system, your body just adjusts to it.”
“It’s the same thing with life,” Herman added. “You should set your goals where you can see them as the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night to remind you of what you want.”

Herman recommends setting not only fitness goals, but professional goals as well.

“If you have a goal, you can strive for it. If you don’t have a goal, it is like keeping balance on a bicycle standing still. It’s impossible. Unless you’re one of the people in the circus, you’re going to fall down,” Herman said.

Herman also recommends contacting professors in the Exercise Science major for additional help with getting into a healthy lifestyle. “We’re lucky to have that major here and with good people running it,” he said.

Coming back as the official director for the REC Center after a year, Herman plans to increase the amount of options for offered classes in the spring term.
“We are trying to get kids who are interested to teach again,” Herman said.

The REC Center is currently striving to offer up to 12 Spin classes and 12 fitness classes next term.

“The kids have really grown to like them, and they really expect them,” said Herman of the classes. “We need more people who want to teach. I can help them reduce the cost to be certified.”

Though the REC Center cannot offer students the going rate that Spin and fitness instructors typically make, many students in the past used the opportunity for their Work Study, according to Herman.

In order to teach a class at the REC Center, students must have a Mad Dogg Athletics Certification. Students interested in teaching a class at the REC may contact Tom Herman at