During its 40th anniversary in 2007, Vladivostok State University of Economics and Services (VSUES) opened a sports center with a fully-equipped gym on university property. Champion (“Чемпион” in Russian) has since grown to include three sports facilities and serves as the training grounds for many different sports teams, both for the university and for club sports all around the city of Vladivostok. The university website has an excellent breakdown of the facilities (both in English and Russian) and the gym’s website shows a beautiful 3-D tour of the facilities.
The gym is accessible to the dorms without walking outside. The monthly rate for university students varies upon the times the student would like to work out: the cheapest option allows students to use the gym from 11:00-16:00 while the most expensive option allows students to use the gym anytime from 07:00-23:00. These are not strict times, however; it is very easy to change your plan if you decide to work out at a different time frame. From what I have seen, the busiest times are from 09:00-12:00, depending on the day, and 17:00-22:00.
The gym offers Russian-speaking personal trainers at additional cost. You can sign up for personal training after paying for the gym membership at the front desk in the lobby. To do so, you need to follow the stairs up to the main gym and enter the section for weightlifting. To the left is another large desk with usually two or three people working who have the schedules of all of the trainers. They will ask questions about your availability, personal work out goals – weight loss, gaining bulk, etc., and exercise restrictions, and then they speak with different trainers until one is found that they believe will work well with you.
There are also numerous group classes – in Russian – offered every day that any member may attend. Fitness experts teach a wide variety of these classes, from cycling to yoga, and the options are posted weekly on the television monitor in the gym lobby and also on the gym’s website.
Overall, the gym is very comfortable and has state-of-the-art equipment for even the most serious weightlifters. The university supports a healthy lifestyle for all students, so many students either play a university sport or go to the gym. If you’re having a difficult time adjusting or finding friends, try going to the gym and participating in one of the classes! If nothing else, you’ll get in great shape while perfecting your Russian!