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Buff Badgers

No sweat: alumni share their secrets for keeping in shape (even if that shape is round).

John Allen
July 23, 2013

67 Tips for Keeping in Shape at the UW

You all remember what the Roman poet Juvenal prayed for, right? (And if you don’t, what were you doing during all that time in college?) Mens sana in corpore sano: a healthy mind in a healthy body. That’s also the goal of many a Badger when first heading off to the UW. Time in the classroom keeps the old mens feeling pretty sana. But the corpore — it’s not easy keeping it sano. We asked readers how they stayed fit while on campus. Your responses may not go down in the literary annals like Juvenal (oh, come on — nobody remembers him?), but they offer good tips to Badgers of any generation.

1940s

As a student in the early 1940's, I lived in rooming houses in North Carroll, S. Orchard and Commonwealth Streets. Even though bus rides were only 5 cents, I walked to classes every day. When I had a girlfriend living on North Baldwin Street, I often missed the last bus back, which meant a three mile walk back to my room. If we went to Picnic Point, we all walked there. But then, practically everyone walked in those days. There was a tennis court just east of the Chemistry Building, and I often played some games of tennis there for several years. With that combination, I hardly needed any other form of exercise (after all, climbing Bascom Hill is a real challenge in itself).

—Roland R. Liebenow ’44, MD’48
Lake Mills, Wisconsin

I kept healthy at UW. One-mile walk from Kappa Delta house (now Thetas I believe) a to foot of Bascom Hill four times daily Back again many nights for practice with Dolphin swim club. Was a Phy. Ed. major so "lived" at Lathrop Hall. One of the best Physical Education programs in the country, one of the reasons this easterner chose UW. Skied down hill behind Bascom, before buildings went up Skated on rink in front of the library, opposite the Union Sliding down banks to the lake on trays with next door neighbors Kappa Sigs Good physical health led to good mental health. Memories of four years in Madison are vivid, dear and full of fun.

—Joan Chalmers Harris '48
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

1950s

I lived at home near Kendall Ave and Franklin St. so the 2-3 mile walk to the UW on many days was my exercise.

—Donald Liebenberg ’54, MS’56, PhD’71
Salem, South Carolina

I lived in the Alpha Xi Delta house which back then was next door to the Edgewater Hotel. Every morning it was down Langdon St., up Bascom Hill and sometimes up and over Bascom Hill to the Quonset huts for classes. With saving money as a motivation it was back to the house for lunch and then turn around to repeat the walk for afternoon classes. Going out for the evening added to the mileage. Keeping fit was easy.

—Barbara Weidner Shannon ’54
Ashburn, Virginia

Just walking the hills on the campus daily helped with fitness. Going from the Red Gym over Bascom Hill to Ag Hall for my next class surely burned enough calories. On Saturday afternoons, I met my friend, Sam Godfrey (Class of 1951), at the Red Gym where we swam and afterwards ate dinner at the Union. Later we would walk down State Street to take in a movie if something good was playing.

For two years there were the ROTC drills on Friday mornings. We also marched in uniform in the Centennial Parade down State Street and around Capitol Square in 1948.

In spring I would meet several friends at the tennis courts next to the Chemistry Building on University Avenue at 6:00 a.m. for a workout followed by breakfast.

Sundays involved walking to church, to the Vilas Park Zoo, Picnic Point, and other points of interest. Once I walked from 818 West Johnson out on Monroe Street and Nakoma Road into the UW Arboretum and back home (circumnavigated Lake Wingra). I aspired to do the same with Lake Mendota, but that never happened. Sometimes we would rent a canoe at the boathouse and paddle on Lake Mendota.

—Gerald Abitz ’56, MS’61
Luxemburg, Wisconsin

As an undergraduate, I worked my way through college by living at home. I mowed the lawn, shoveled the walk and driveway, changed the screens and storm windows on a four bedroom, two-story house, and ate my mother's cooking. That is a great way to keep in shape that was available to some of us. I also worked summers on the University Farms, mostly on sweet clover research, but also with the imaginary fraternity "Alfalfa Grab A Hoe." As a graduate student, I lived two miles west of campus just off University Avenue and walked to and from campus, often reading as I walked. The four miles per day has continued as a lifelong pattern of walking to keep in shape ... I am now 82, and still walking and exercising. How many my age still do 30 sit ups and 30 pushups most mornings?

—John Berge ’51, PhD’58
Racine, Wisconsin

Not only did I climb Bascom Hill numerous times a day, I was in the T-16 building as well as Home Ec. now known as Nancy Nicholas building. I also participated In "Fundies" in the physical education department. Does anyone remember "Fundies?"

—Barbara Schmidt ’58
Grafton, Wisconsin

I was a physical education major - didn't need extra activities. But, as for the beer ...

—Marilyn Putz '54
Highland Park, Illinois

I didn't gain the "freshman (or sophomore, junior, or senior!) 15." I believe I maintained more or less the same weight throughout my five years in Madison. In three of my undergrad years I lived in Liz Waters, which was quite new then. I ate three meals a day most days at Liz, so had nutritious and well balanced meals which undoubtedly were planned by people who knew a thing or two about nutrition, even though meals may have been repetitious. Of course I walked to and from Liz to class around campus. In general, I did not have snacks and treats in my room as substitutes or supplements to meals in the dining hall, except when my mother sent me birthday cakes. My last year as an undergrad and my year as a grad student, I lived off campus and walked and biked from those homes to campus every day.

—Judith Behrens Maxwell ’57, MA’58
Ithaca, New York

We usually went to Shorty's and Lammi's on State street and drank beer and ate brats. And then over to the never-ending parties at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house. We all got a lot of exercise drinking beer, and, of course, doing a lot of walking. The campus was large and we hiked to our classes every day. We were all in good shape even when bent out of shape.

—Bob Brandl ’51
Racine, Wisconsin

I lived at Badger Village and didn't have a car. We walked about a half mile to the A&P. We were allowed to plant a garden, The guys in the building played a lot of tag football to include the Toilet Bowl Classic on Thanksgiving (the winning team was awarded a toilet seat from the men’s latrine.)

—Richard L. Jones ’50
Melbourne, Florida

It was 60 years ago, but I remember ice skating on the lake, bowling, playing ping-pong, and never missing a Sunday night square dance in Memorial Hall.

—Norma Nelson ’52
New York, New York

I ran everywhere I had to go and often that was from one end of campus to the other. This was in the 1950s and I had no car.

—Bill Liebhardt ’58, MS’64, PhD’66
Davis, California

I had courses on Bascom Hill, Sterling Hall, Chemistry Building and the Engineering Campus. A 7:45 class might be on Bascom Hill; an 8:50 class might be in the Mechanical Engineering Building; a 9:55 class at Sterling Hall; and an 11:00 class back in T-16 (a temporary Quonset building immediately west of the Mechanical Engineering Building - between the M.E. Bldg and Breese Terrace). Having 15 minutes getting from one end of the campus to the other and then back and forth two or three times a day seemed to do it for me.

—Jim Gaskell ’58
Madison

I walked from Ann Emery to the School of Home Economics twice a day. All that walking kept me fit. Still walking today, 60 years later.

—Nada Prctor Graves ’56
Inglewood, Colorado

I walked two miles every day. In good weather I walked outside, bad weather I walked inside.

—Larry Rezash ’52
Miamisburg, Ohio

1960s

Little did I know I was keeping healthy, but I walked from 152 Langdon everyday to my classes in the Human Ecology Building (then Home Ec) from one end of the campus to the other and in mini skirts - we shivered our way across campus too. Doesn't that count for burning calories?

—Su Hilty ‘69
New York, New York

Habits that kept me in shape during undergraduate and graduate school: Had only one brat and only one steak sandwich at the Brat House during each visit but had them hold the cheese. During Hell Week forced to eat a dozen raw eggs, sour milk, and two cans of sauerkraut each day and nothing stayed in the stomach. Better than Weight Watchers. Walked to the KK Klub from Langdon Street. Promoted fitness and no DUI's. Drank only two pitchers of beer per hour while manhandling the pin ball machines at the Var Bar - great exercise. During chemistry lab formulated 3 molar sulfuric acid and repeatedly applied it to wart on my knee, which created enough burning pain to forget about lunch. Had to run to off campus job interviews due to anti-war loons disrupting the interview process. Slept in top bunk so roommate could have lower bunk for he and his various "dates" - I did a lot of climbing to the top bunk. Needless to say I kept in great shape!

—Timothy Roesler ’68, MBA’69
Spring, Texas

First of all, you must recognize that way back then the guilt-ridden craze of today regarding what you pour down your gullet and how many hours a week you spend at the health club did not exist. We joyously ate pizza at Paisan’s, drank beer with gusto at the Kollege Klub, and smoked cigarettes with abandon while studying. Not a healthy lifestyle, you say? You’re absolutely right, but we did not obsess about it to the degree that has evolved since that time. Yes, we were definitely less healthy physically, and less narcissistic mentally. We lacked today’s sophistication, but we were able to enjoy our naiveté while we discovered who we really were and where we were really heading. The University provided the perfect setting for those goals.

—Steven Sapkin ’64
Woodland Hills, California

We had to walk everywhere, no shuttles or roller blades. Once we moved into the Nurses' Dorm, 1400 University Ave., it was a trek to our hill classes.

—Kay Juckem Bennett '61
Omaha, Nebraska

In the "Nat," there was a red track marked on the gym floor and a room well equipped with free weights as well as another room with a Universal machine. Besides climbing innumerable steps in my full time job at the time, using those facilities provided plenty of aerobic and muscular exercise.

—Philip Dzick ’69
Madison

I figure skated and danced three times a week at Truax ice arena (the only indoor ice-skating rink in those years.)

—Ellen Sperling ’62
Middleton, Wisconsin

I loved the dorm food, ate many Babcock ice cream cones, drank very little beer and didn't gain the Freshman 15. I lived in Elm Drive A dorm so did a lot of walking and loved the lake path. My calves did round out, however.

—Suzanne (Arnold) Redenius ’63
Grinnell, Iowa

As an art major in the early 60's, many of my classes were in the basement or on the top floor of the old Education building: plenty of stairs to climb, not to mention maneuvering Bascom Hill with a tackle box full of supplies and a 36" drawing board barely tucked beneath my arm, threatening to take off like the flying nun in every gusty wind! Mixing cement and terrazzo in a hand-cranked cement mixer probably would have qualified Sculpture 101 as a fitness class too. When it came to staying mentally fit, a half hour or so of high flying swinging at the school playground near our co-op house sure helped me keep my thoughts in order!

—Lynn Jindra Gadzinski ’63
Jefferson, Wisconsin

I made sure to drink lots of liquids.

—Craig Madsen '67
Santa Barbara, California

I was on campus from '58 to '61. We still had Phi Ed and we did a lot of walking from Slichter Hall and the Alpha Gam house. On Sunday morning we walked to church in heels. Those were the days when normal attire was sweaters and wool skirts.

—Audrey Hilfiker Keck ’61
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Beer and Brathaus brats (with cheese, of course), smoking regularly, and relatively little sleep, and ... let’s see ... more beer.

—Steve Sacher ‘64
Alexandria, Virginia

I used to walk from the Fraternity House on Langdon to the Field House and Engineering Campus about four round trips a day winter and summer.

—Don Kleist ’61
Neenah, Wisconsin

I went on the high protein, low-carb diet. Every evening I went down to the vending machines in Sellery Hall and bought a bag of peanuts or a Pay Day bar. I also jogged down to my boyfriend's apartment following the railroad tracks to the stadium. I really don't remember doing that for long. Walking around the campus every day was enough to keep me in shape!

—Connie Burkert Goldstrohm '69
Roswell, Georgia

Lived in Cool House (Elm Drive) my Freshman year. During the winter, got tired of waiting in long lines for the bus into central campus, so hoofed it in my fur parka, on top, along with pleated skirt, knee socks, and boots ... many days! Had to walk at a good clip to avert freezing to death!

—Elaine Kapitanoff Schultz '66
Ross, California

Keeping fit never seemed to present a problem while attending UW. My class schedule invariably took me from the far end of Langdon Street up Bascom Hill to the old School of Commerce building across from the Carillon Tower two or three times a day. Youth as well as three summers of construction work covered any sins of omission during the school year!

—Steve Tews ’63
Cedarburg, Wisconsin

I lived in what was then Elm Drive Dorm near the natatorium! That was enough exercise for me. In the winter of '68 we had a bus strike, so there was no choice but to walk, regardless of the weather. I was slim and trim for sure. Then, of course, Bascom Hill . . . need I say more?

—Annette Van Veen Gippe ‘69
Chicago, Illinois

1970s

Joining the UW Marching Band in 1972 provided all the exercise I needed as a UW freshman. The daily Leckrone workouts as Mike drilled us for that week’s show kept me in the best shape of my life! Several repeats of the famous stadium “run-on” were guaranteed to shed the beer calories from the prior night’s fraternity party. Getting to and from the engineering campus and band practice on my bike everyday didn't hurt either.

—Tom Smart ‘76
Franklin, Michigan

When I was an apartment-dwelling senior on Blair Street I staved off starvation by getting a food job at a fraternity on Langdon. We served, waited tables, cleared and washed dishes. Our payment was a meal. I was evidently the hungriest, thus the most dependable, food server. I became the head honcho of the little food server group. The grateful cook prepared weekend food packages for me and ordered extra cottage cheese, a favorite food of mine.

—Jerry Belland '70
Racine, Wisconsin

When I was at UW (1968-72) I ate whatever I could get my hands on, never worried about whether or not it was healthy, and I drank copious amounts of cheap beer. Yet somehow I stayed in shape. My measurements never varied. Occasionally I would work out with weights or did push-ups & sit-ups, but I was never on a formal exercise program and never trained for anything. The only sports I participated in were pick-up games with my buddies - basketball, touch football, softball and frisbee. I think the reason I stayed thin and muscular was because I was young and because I walked everywhere I went. I was always going somewhere. I never lay around.

—Jim Singer ’72
Tallmadge, Ohio

It is a bit ironic that I grew up on the shores of Green Bay Wisconsin, but never really learned to swim very well. About all I learned to do was flail my arms with my head above water. But that was enough to get me to the "big raft" so what else did I need. When I got to the UW in Madison in the fall of 1967 as a freshman, I was required to take Physical Education. I decided to take swimming. So, at least one morning a week I hiked out to the natatorium from Ogg Hall and took swimming lessons from non-other than “Badger” Bob Johnson. Bob Johnson had just become head coach of the Badger Hockey team. He went on to build the UW team into an NCAA power house champion and gave UW sports fans, at the time, something to be proud of.

Long story short, I never became much of a swimmer. Most of my exercise while at the UW came from riding my bike back and forth from the engineering campus. However, I started trying to swim laps a few years ago when my doctor told me to walk back and forth in the pool as post-op therapy for an ankle injury. Everything Coach Johnson taught me came back to me quickly and eventually I even taught myself a few more strokes. Now, I swim laps regularly and feel lucky and honored to have trained under Coach Johnson at the UW Nat.

—Mak Caruso ’72, MS’73
Potomac, Maryland

I was a "gym rat" in the Red Gym. I played basketball every day and stayed in great shape in grad school (1973-1975.). I was sad to see the gym's conversion, since it was so convenient to the URPL classrooms!

—Allen Lovejoy MS’75
St. Paul, Minnesota

My father-in-law, 93-year-old Ralph W. Arnold, a UW law school and undergrad alum from 1948, has always claimed one could tell the senior girls from the freshmen by the size of their calves. The "enhanced" look, according to Ralph, was earned by climbing Bascom Hill. Of course, in Ralph's day, the coeds wore skirts. With the entire student body draped in Levis, it may be more difficult to spot the seniors but the workout routine should be the same.

—Paul W. Turley JD '73
Los Angeles, California

Being a two-sport athlete in high school meant I came to the UW in probably the best shape that I have ever been in. My freshman year main exercise was 12 ounce curls in the Stone Hearth, or Gordon Commons (you could buy beer with your meal ticket back then). Other than golf in the summer, I swore off exercise for my college career.

—Steve Johnston ’76
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

How did I keep myself trim during my years at the UW? Mostly by limiting myself to only one cup of Babcock ice cream per meal, save for breakfast, for which I usually had no ice cream.

—Bill Piernot '77
New Berlin, Wisconsin

As a member of the Army ROTC program in the mid-70’s, we met most mornings at the Red Gym for a strenuous workout. That’s probably good, as most evenings included a large Suburbia sub sandwich.

—Curt Fuszard ’76
Middleton, Wisconsin

As I went off to UW in the late 60's I had heard about the possible weight gain as a Freshman. Not wanting to gain weight, I took a physical education course each semester. After the required "Freshman Fundies" class, I signed up for swimming, tennis, golf, and a required PE class for education. I did a basic and advanced level of some of the classes. I did not gain weight in my four years, yet looking back it seems just walking from one end of the campus to the other probably helped to keep the weight under control.

—Janine Coley '71, MS'80
Mukwonago, Wisconsin

I definitely experienced the Freshman 10 or so, but that was it. I started riding my bike - actually had two - one spiffy touring/racing bike from the Yellow Jersey Bike Coop I got for Christmas my freshman year, and my father's old Raleigh (which became my city bike to ride back and forth from campus). I swam at the Nat probably three times a week and continued the practice when I was in graduate school at Harvard. In 1973 (Energy Crisis #1), it was also encouraged that we take the stairs - no fitness goals there, just national security! I took a tennis class and played for years afterward. I had friends who belonged to the sailing club, so that got me out on the water, and I recall a little jogging thrown in for good measure. Most importantly, the basic required PE course has served me well every since by teaching relaxation techniques amidst all the insanity. I feel very well-served by all of it - a great liberal education for body, mind, soul! On Wisconsin.

—Claire Sherry Immediato ’76
Needham, Massachusetts

In 1969, no one was an outdoor distance runner like you see today. There were no “running shoes” – mine were Jack Purcells, the flat bottom white low cut tennis shoes that were about as comfortable and padded as you could find. My running shorts were UW gym issue (yes, gym was mandatory). My route was to jog down to, and then around, Lake Monona Bay, about a three mile round trip from my apartment. One long portion of that is the railroad track viaduct, and there wasn’t really a path next to the tracks, so you learned to skip from one railroad tie to the next. Good thing actual trains were uncommon (but not unknown). The view was always interesting, especially in the summer with sunbathers in the park and waterskiers on the bay. Pretty much everyone thought I was crazy, and the looks I got confirmed that. But I persevered, even when the weather was cold, or bad, or both. It was worth the shin splints to then guiltlessly indulge in beer, late night fresh donuts on Regent Street, and other healthy food.

—Steve Kravit ’72
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1980s

The best way to keep healthy was never having a car on campus or riding the campus bus - I always walked! I was an engineering student and always lived in Ogg Hall (southeast dorms) or in my sorority house off Langdon so that was quite a hike every day. I also had a very tight budget - a meal out was often a bagel from Manna Bakery (with a slice of cheese) and a can of Tab. Oh those were the days ...

—Cindy Rzeszut Krueger ‘81
Eagan, Minnesota

One of the reasons I came to Wisconsin from Southern California was to experience the change of seasons. I was an avid runner and keeping my fitness during the long Madison winters in the late 1970s was both a challenge and delight. Clad in my polyester track suit, a wool cap, leather gloves and three socks, I set off from Witte Hall down Park to the Arboretum or out along the Lakeshore Path to Picnic Point; all quiet except for the crunch of snow under my feet and the cracking ice on the lake. It took a mile or two to warm up, and not much longer than that for frost to form in my hair from sweat leaking out from under my cap. Though I took a couple nasty falls from black ice, I remember these winter runs with great fondness. And of course the Saturday morning runs allowed me to spend Friday nights on State Street without gaining too much weight.

Post Script: Over 30 years later, my niece from Southern California visited Madison in the February of her senior year in high school. I figured there was no way she would choose Wisconsin for college, given that she picked a particularly cold weekend to be on campus. She was struck by the magic of a Madison winter, too, and now she’s a Badger having the time of her life.

—Tim Ernst ’80
Walsnut Creek, California

I stayed to only a freshman five by selling my "paper punched" meal tickets to hungry boys and then used the money to go to the Stone Hearth and the KK and consume my calories in liquid form! Definitely not the healthiest meal plan but it sure was fun!

—Laurie Burton Pighini '86
Lindenhurst, Illinois

The best activity is Marching in the Wisconsin Band! The Stop-At-The-Top really builds nice calves!

—Dana (LaPean) Tyler ’89 (Rank 2 Alumna)
Ashland, Wisconsin

Between marching in the UW Marching Band in the fall, basketball and broomball IM leagues in the winter, and IM softball in the spring, it was more surprising I didn't lose 15 pounds during my years at UW-Madison. On top of all that, how can anyone gain weight when you spend your time climbing Bascom Hill at least once every day your freshman year or madly pedaling or walking your way from one side of campus to the other trying to get to class on time? And with the walkways covered in snow several months of the year everyone gets quite a workout. If I could, I'd do it all over again!

—Susan (Leuck) Reyes ’85
Richardson, Texas

I earned my M.S. in Computer Sciences in 1981-82. Registration for classes began at the Stock Pavilion, ended at the Red Gym, and included hiking around the campus getting signatures and stamps from various faculty members. It didn't take long to realize that Wisconsin took athletics seriously and that I was clearly participating in an instant conditioning program! During the summer, my schedule allowed me to ride the bus in the mornings and then walk home in the late afternoon or early evening. It was almost exactly four miles from the Computer Science and Statistics building to my apartment, and if it wasn't too hot I could do it in just under an hour. Finally, in those days, my favorite cheese was the low-fat farmers variety, not deep-fried cheddar curds.

—Patricia Dunkin ’82
Summit, New Jersey

When I was a student (1979-82), everyone rode bikes everywhere, lots of walking and racquetball. Swimming and UW badminton also on the list of fit activities. Never gained much weight as a student.

—Lynn Rusy ’82, MD’87
Hartland, Wisconsin

Bascom Hill and Bascom Hall were a good sources of aerobic exercise during my days on the Madison campus. I rode the bus downtown and would get off at the corner of University and Park Street. From here I trekked up Bascom Hill to my classes in Commerce carrying a backpack full of books. This was especially invigorating in February with the wind coming off of Lake Mendota. Business doctoral students were assigned offices on the top floor of Bascom Hall. There are no elevators to that level. Therefore, we got a little extra exercise climbing the last two flights of stairs. If you needed to go to the library or wanted to get lunch on State Street, this meant another repetition of the hill and stair climb.

—Judith Swingen PhD’84
Maumelle, Arkansas

I was a grad student so I didn't have a lot of time. Initially I played on an adult hockey team, but the late nights and subsequent early mornings eventually became too taxing. Changed to playing squash at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Great exercise in an efficient use of time. Also ran outdoors all over Madison.

—Jeff Patterson MBA’80
Minneapolis, Minnesota

I rode a bike to all my classes and lost 15 pounds my freshman year. When I came back from college, everyone told me I looked great. Wish I still had that magic bike.

—Paul Christy ’84, MD’88
Omaha, Nebraska

I walked or rode my bike everywhere.

—Victoria Williamson '82
Minneapolis, Minnesota

1990s

My roommate, Molly, and I tried to stay active our sophomore year by playing racquetball at the SERF. We were horrible, and it sounded like elephants were on the loose, but we had a blast and many laughs. We always stopped at Pops afterwards and had ice cream for the walk back to our dorm in Lakeshore. Hmmm, I wonder why we never lost any weight?

—Alixandra Crepeau '98
Cottage Grove, Minnesota

I lived two miles off campus, and hiked four miles round trip with a heavy backpack at least twice a day. Built-in fitness plan. As a result, I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and still lost weight. Wish I had that boundless energy and time now! I guess I could get up at 4 a.m. and walk to work carrying my laptop ...

—Heather J Thenell JD’93
Appleton, Wisconsin

2000s

I recall a loyal diet of Papa John’s Pizza and greasy Thai food during many a UW nights. These meals were usually washed down with a Spotted Cow. Thanks to a high metabolism in those days as well as my bicycle commute up Observatory Drive to the Social Sciences Building, I didn't concern myself too much with a fitness regimen. This diet could not last forever though. Thankfully during my senior year I landed a job at the Willy St. Coop where the free produce bin, the quinoa, and kefir set me on a new course to stay healthy.

—Katie Noelke ‘01
San Francisco, California

My freshman year there was a group of four of us on Witte 8A that met a lot of weekday mornings to run. Didn't matter how late we were up the night before, we would all rendezvous by the elevators around 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. and head out – sometimes for up to around eight miles! Recently, I got very little sleep one night and the next day I was exhausted! I was reminded by one of those running buddies of the days when we could be up half the night and still get out of bed so early to get our run in. She asked how we did it … to which I responded that I had absolutely no idea and reminded her that we are getting old!

—Stefany Smith ‘05
Middleton, Wisconsin

During my time at UW, 2000-2003, my most enjoyable way to keep fit was through folk dancing. I participated in several different folk dance groups regularly, and this was a welcome change of pace from studies and work. I continued my prior interest in contradance and Scandinavian dance, and I learned several other forms while in Madison: Scottish Country, English Country, ballroom, Irish Set, and Tango. Madison is a Midwest center for folk dancers, and I'd encourage any students to try it.

—John Hingtgen ’03
West Sacramento, California

I resided at Sellery Hall from 1997-1999, and countless Thursday evenings were spent balling on the courts of the nearby SERF. My friends and I typically would head over around 10 p.m. and live out our NBA dreams for 2-3 hours. On occasion, we'd sometimes grab a run or two with the more seasoned UW athletes. Definitely a much healthier alternative to Thursday night bar hopping and drinking on State Street.

—Douglas Jones '02
Brooklyn, New York

I walked everywhere! No 80 bus for this girl (well, rarely)! I also worked out at the Nat when I lived in the Lakeshore dorms, and at the Shell when I lived in apartments near campus. One year my roommate and I signed up to run Crazylegs; training for that really helped us stay a little more healthy.

—Emily (Rohrer) Lenz ’06
Chicago, Illinois

While I was a student, I kept healthy by being a part of the UW Marching Band. It is very easy to burn calories when you march the iconic locking-highstep for three hours every day.

—Ian Batterman ’09
Madison

I actually lost the freshman 15 by getting ACTIVE! I joined a kickboxing class and took out my stress at the gym. I also tried to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet and drank lots of water to stay hydrated and focused.

—Angela Clarson ’09
Madison

I actually developed my habit of jogging to keep in shape while at UW. I was in NROTC and three days a week we would have Physical Training (PT) as a group. In "good weather" (above freezing) we would PT outside. We usually would start our workout at the Naval Armory and move to the activity fields by the Nat or the Hospital. We had a variety of routes for the days we'd run. Common routes were on the Lake Shore path to either the Union or Picnic Point, down State Street to the Capital building and sprints up Bascom Hill. Running by the dorms before most of the students woke up or on State Street before most of the shops opened was a surreal feeling. I have to say, our worst run was from the Armory, to the Capital Building, back to Bascom for sprints, then to Van Hise where we ran up the stairs to the top, then back to the Armory. While it was tough to turn myself into a 'runner,' once I got used to it, I would on my own time around campus. The beauty of the hills and lake are easy to soak up and get lost in while you're running, so you're not thinking about the run itself. One thing they never mentioned in NROTC was that we needed to soak up running in Madison while we were there, because the places we have to run afterwards are not nearly as enjoyable!

—Peter Rusch ’07
Kokomo, Indiana

2010s

I was an avid cyclist! I rode my bicycle to classes, and everywhere else until the ice in the streets got too risky. I also played raquetball on campus, weekly.

—Angela Rogers ’11
Wesley Chapel, Florida

As a freshman I gained 25 pounds. I think in part it was because of dorm food, and the sudden switch from Asian food in China to mac n' cheese and other good Wisconsin hospitality ...

Anyway, I learned to snack! I would bring cheese and nuts and carrots and munch on them in between classes. It prevented me from sugar-crashing or getting too full and falling asleep in class. I also learned to find excuses to walk up Bascom Hill. I heard if you walk it every day for four years, you'll have climbed Everest by the time you graduate.

—Juli Mengman Lee ’11
San Diego, California

Gym Rat?

It’s not easy to keep in shape, even (or maybe especially) when you’re shaped like a giant, bipedal member of the family mustelidae. People tend to stare at you when you go to the gym, and not just because you’re wearing a striped turtleneck.

In the summer issue of Badger Insider Magazine — WAA’s exclusive members-only magazine — we take a look at the things UW students do to keep in shape, and for our cover, we decided to shoot Bucky working out at the SERF. (That’s the Southeast Recreational Facility, for those of you who left campus before it opened in 1983.) Bucky arrived at 9:00 in the morning, when the gym wasn’t too full, but those who were there couldn’t seem to fully concentrate on their reps and curls and spinning and whatnot.

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