How to Avoid the Freshman 15

Yalies are a busy people. We are also a sexy people. To maintain the second without using so much time that the first is thrown into chaos, it’s important to make the most of our gym time.

To that end, we here at The Boola compiled this list of quick and effective workouts to be done at Payne Whitney gym. Whether you’re a freshmen looking to avoid the freshmen 15 or a senior still trying to work off your freshmen 15 (#noshame), look no further than below. Trust us, we used science.

spongebob spatula twirl

Combined aerobics + weight training!

1. Do the running track Olympics

Wearing your sexiest oversized tshirt from your favorite extracurricular, go to the running track above the basketball courts. Take a few minutes to appear like you’re stretching and warming up, while actually observing the other runners – your workout depends on them.

peeping tom

An extreme example of this.

The running track Olympics consist of being neither the best nor the worst runner on the track in the following categories: speed, distance, and sweatiness.

Aim to be somewhere in the middle of the pack speed-wise – don’t bother trying to keep up with the woman in the spandex and sports bra, but don’t lag so much that the elderly man in the track suit laps you. Similarly, from the time you start, keep track of the comings and goings of other runners. Wait until at least one person has left and one other person has arrived before finishing your workout. Lastly, keep those sweat glands in check. There’s usually at least one person whose sweat response rivals Niagara Falls. The goal here is to not accidentally become that person by comparison to the other runners.

The beauty of the running track Olympics is that you never know what your workout for the day will be. It could be a nice, relaxing, 30 minute jog. Or it could be a painful 7-mile sprint.

skipping bulldog

But let’s hope it’s just this.

2. Be the volunteer janitor

This is where you do all the annoying minutiae of respectable gym-going and maintenance. In Payne Whitney’s main gym area on the aerobic machine side, take the spray bottle and some paper towels and run around cleaning peoples’ ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills for 45 minutes or so.

Similarly, on the weights side, re-rack everyone’s dumbbells and plates. To increase the efficacy of this one, collect as many weights as you can before returning them to the racks, taking the most circuitous route possible.

bunny running around

Helpful and healthful!

Bonus points if you hover around and wait for tips.

3. Use the stairs

Payne Whitney ostensibly has nine floors. That’s the impression you will get if you read the signs indicating which workout facility is on which floor: nine floors total, nine separate levels containing places in which to get your sweat on. Nine.

it's a trap!

You’ll never trust a sign again.

What the sign fails to mention is that several of the floors are split into floors A and B, like floor 7A and floor 7B. They are separate floors entirely, containing the same number of steps between them as between the non-split floors; 20 steps between 5 and 6, 20 steps between 8A and 8B. So, in actuality, PW has closer to sixteen or seventeen total floors…


Actual footage from The Boola’s first foray to Payne Whitney

…which makes for the best, most frustrating workout of your life.

The first step is to pick a random workout room. Try throwing a dart or playing an impromptu game of “pin the athletic cup on the sign.” If you already know your way around PW, choose a workout room with which you aren’t familiar. If you’re new to PW, all the better.

The second and final step is to run up the stairs attempting to find the room. And up. And down. And up. And down and up and down. Because you will be lost. After 30-45 minutes of confused slogging up and down stairs searching for the elusive room (is it on floor 7A or 7B? You may never know!), either give up and head back to your dorm or pass out in a stairwell. Your choice.


Stairwell naps can be a thing.

  1. Stand in the presence of singlet guy

Working out by proximity is a thing, right? Like second-hand smoke inhalation, but healthy.

spongebob thank you

No, no. Thank you, singlet guy.


  1. Stalk the personal trainers

Mimic whatever the personal trainers tell their trainees to do. The trick here is to act casual: if they’re doing bicep curls, do bicep curls more than a yard or two away. If they’re running on a treadmill, pick one a few treadmills down the line. If they’re doing that “run through the obstacle course of tires” thing, run through it, then claim to have tripped repeatedly and remarkably accurately when called out.

stumbling in heels

Cite your thousands of hours of drunkenly stumbling in heels as proof of this ability


  1. Figure out how to use the ergometers

For those of you who don’t know what an ergometer is, allow me to explain. Ergometers are intended to be artificial rowing machines that simulate the action of rowing a boat, much like treadmills simulate running and stairsteppers simulate point three of this article.

Unless you’re one of those rare folk who spent a few years rowing on a crew team (and I’m guessing that precludes the majority of readers who are either not white, not from an urban area that also has access to large bodies of water, or both), however, ergometers are more akin to a psychological torture device à la those “close door” elevator buttons that don’t actually work, but in public with everyone else in the gym witnessing your failure. Experienced rowers burn calories on ergometers by using them appropriately. The rest of us burn calories on ergometers by overworking our bodies’ “fuck, this shit is impossible” frustration response.

fuck this shit


  1. Talk about how much time you spend at the gym

Bonus: when you lose all your friends from doing this, you’ll have even more time to spend at the gym!

bye narps

“Off to the gym again. Bye, NARPs.”