A Sun Devil Fitness Center can be found on all four ASU campuses, each repping its own distinct energy for students to enjoy while working out, swimming or engaging in other recreational activities. 

Each SDFC has unique amenities due to campus space availability, allowing students to find their own vibe within all of the different gym identities. 

“It’s just more familiar because when you come to a commercial gym, that could be anybody. Here, it could be someone you’ve always seen walking around classes,” Ahzae Heard, a downtown SDFC student worker and senior studying kinesiology, said. “You’d be more open to talk to them because you can relate to them.”

ASU’s gyms range from 65,000 square feet on the Polytechnic campus to 110,000 square feet on the Tempe campus. Each gym has strict rules about shoes, locker room manners and IDs. Students are given space to enjoy traditional gym equipment, sports courts, free group classes and fields.

With the Tempe SDFC being the largest, Tanner Slizza, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, says each room is able to provide a different vibe and use. 

“The pool mostly has people messing around and having a good time,” Slizza said in an email. “The basketball courts and volleyball courts have large groups casually playing. The squash racket courts are intense matches where everyone is trying their hardest to win. The wrestling room is surprisingly casual.” 

A personal favorite staple of the Tempe campus SDFC for Joseph Wise, a sophomore studying civil engineering, is the room filled with mats and punching bags.

“No matter what exercise I wanted to do, it always had the equipment,” Wise said. 

Students credit the extensive space and variety of equipment the Tempe SDFC holds for their motivation to work out.

“The vast size of the Tempe SDFC makes it usable for every student at the school,” said Slizza in the email. “If it were a smaller gym, people would be less inclined to use it because it would always be completely packed.”

Many students attribute the small size of the Downtown Phoenix, West and Polytechnic campus SDFCs to their comfortability while working out. The close-knit community is part of the reason these gyms are special, according to Downtown Phoenix SDFC student worker Alex Guerrero, a freshman studying kinesiology. 

“You see a lot of the same people when you come to work,” Guerrero said. “It’s just such a small population, you become really familiar with everyone.” 

Heard said the gym culture has evolved since she began working at the Downtown Phoenix SDFC in 2020, the post-pandemic gym becoming a little busier as people continue to work to hit their goals. 

“I’ve definitely seen the amount of people that have been here over the years consistently coming in (and) getting whatever goals they have done,” Heard said. “It seems like people really are determined to hit their goals.” 

The West campus SDFC also offers its own unique classes, such as a movie and cycle class, according to fitness instructor Lizzy Reichenberger, a sophomore studying business administration. The class consists of watching a movie on a projector, eating snacks and cycling on gym bikes. The latest selection for the class was the “Minions” movie.

“I actually had some people from Tempe drive all the way up to West just for that event,” Reichenberger said. 

Wise said the Polytechnic gym was similar to the one on the Tempe campus but smaller, with slight variations to the rooms and less crowding. The Polytechnic SDFC also offers its own distinct classes, such as Muay Thai.

Reichenberger said the people she works with at the fitness center are inspiring, and she’s impressed by the events and classes they can do with a small team. 

“With our fitness team at West, the things that we are still able to do and put on (are) just very impressive,” said Reichenberger. 

Each gym encourages a positive atmosphere for students. Whether the student is looking for hype, upbeat music or quiet rooms, a suitable space can be found within each of the SDFCs. 

“In the (Tempe) SDFC, everyone is talking, there’s music blasting, and everyone is having a good time,” said Slizza in the email. “But if you want a quiet and anti-social workout, a smaller gym is better.” 

All campuses invite students of any fitness level to enter the gyms. Both Heard and Guerrero said that the staff is always willing to give tours, help direct group classes and assist students with all levels of fitness. 

“Trying (each SDFC) out would be a good experience, to just get the feel of it,” Guerrero said.

Edited by Katrina Michalak, Walker Smith, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.


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