by Liv

Nerd Fitness: Why Lied Rec Center Beats State Gym in Comparison

Iowa State has two main recreational athletic facilities – State gym and Lied Rec Center. Both totally fare-free to all ISU students, they include access to workout equipment, indoor tracks, a swimming pool and spa, a variety of group fitness classes and more. For those of you who haven’t visited either of these facilities, I urge you to go. College is a fun yet stressful time, and staying active is key to managing a healthy mind and body throughout our all too busy lifestyles. (That will be my only fitness rant, for now!)

Before I knew that Iowa State had two rec facilities, I spent my first two years only going to State Gym. It was close to my dorm, close to my classes, and it was one of the nicest gyms I had seen in comparison to some of the other schools I toured as an incoming freshman. With each workout, I became one of many biased fitness nerds – favoring State Gym over the more mysterious and distant Lied Rec Center.

But have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it?” Until recently, I had always preferred State Gym over Lied – that was until I tried them both!  And now that I’ve tried them… there seems to be a clear winner. Here’s why I think Lied might out lift the more famous State Gym….

State Gym

To start off the comparison, here is why State gym is great…


Swimming Pool

State Gym has a large swimming pool along with a diving platform, water basketball, water volleyball, lap swim lanes, and a hot tub!

Hot tub

Yes – a hot tub!

2 Floor Weight Room

Because one is just not enough

More squat racks

…For leg day of course

Wood floor basketball courts


And to even it out, here is why Lied Rec Center is even better…



More space in front of dumbbells

With a school of over 30,000 people, more space is always a good thing


If you are like the average person, the gym can be intimidating at times – a quieter workout environment can ease those feelings

Designated stretch space

Instead of laying by the State Gym windows, Lied actually has a designated space for stretching

Kettle bells available

…Because the kettle bell workout is underestimated

Steam room

The skin is our biggest detoxifier – A quick 15 minutes in the steam room is never a bad idea

More basketball courts (20)

The more the merrier, am I right!?

Rubber sport court floors and indoor turf

Green grass won’t be around much longer, turf will always be there

Ping pong/foosball

Not the weight lifting type? Practice your ping pong and foosball skills at Lied Rec!

Designated functional training space

This includes more foam rollers, TRX bands, and medicine balls

Boxing room and cycling room

…Because working out does not require weights

More space on track for weight training

Overall, there just seems to be more space for however you choose to sweat!

There you have it – facts! Agree or disagree – Each facility has its own advantages. And if you have yet to experience one or both of them – I urge you to try it out! Bottom line is – it doesn’t really matter which one you go to, as long as you get your body moving!

Thanks for reading!

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