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Nutrition and Physical Activity Services

Physical Activity Counseling

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About the physical activity counseling appointments

Who can use the PAC services?

  • Any student enrolled at the University of Connecticut Storrs Campus can set up an appointment with the PAC.

What does the PAC do?

  • The Physical Activity Counselor (PAC) is a trained professional who provides advice and guidance in health and fitness and related areas. Regardless of present fitness level or experience, the PAC can offer assistance in beginning a new exercise program or provide guidance to improve an existing routine.

What are the appointments like?

  • All appointments are FREE! This includes the initial appointment as well as all follow-up appointments.

    The initial appointment

    • Duration: 30 minutes
    • Location: Student Health Services
    • Dress: Normal, everyday clothing
    • Purpose:
      • Health risk assessment
      • Review of pertinent past medical and exercise history
      • Review of personal concerns, needs, limitations, and goals
    • Preparation: Please complete the Preparticipation Health Screening Questionnaire prior to the appointment and bring it with you.
    • Upon Completion: Schedule Physical Fitness Assessment.
  • The follow-up appointment(s):

    Physical Fitness Assessment

    • Duration: 1 hour
    • Location: Student Recreational Facility
    • Dress: Exercise clothes: short sleeve t-shirt, shorts or sweats, walking/running sneakers
    • Please refer to the link: http://web.uconn.edu/recreation/facility.php on the SRF’s policies and procedures.
    • Purpose: To assess your overall physical fitness level. The battery of fitness tests will include:
      • Cardiovascular Endurance: 6 minute walk/run test on treadmill or 6 minute bike test
      • Muscle Strength: Chest Press (Upper Body) & Leg Press (Lower Body)
      • Muscle Endurance: Push-up Test
      • Abdominal Endurance: Curl-up Test
      • Flexibility
    • Upon Completion: Schedule Exercise Programming Session to receive results and individual training program.

    Exercise Programming

    • Duration: 1 hour
    • Location: Student Recreational Facility (SRF)
    • Dress: Exercise clothes: short sleeve t-shirt, shorts or sweats, walking/running sneakers
    • Please refer to the link: http://web.uconn.edu/recreation/facility.php on the SRF’s policies and procedures.
    • Purpose:
      • Review your assessment results
      • Receive individualized exercise program designed to meet personal needs, goals and abilities.
      • Demonstration of muscle training and core/abdominal exercises, as well as any specialized exercises (knee health) and information (foot/shoe assessment) recommended by PAC
      • Opportunity to answer any of your specific questions.
    • Upon Completion: You will receive a large packet of paperwork with all of your assessment results and exercise programming information. You may schedule more appointments with the PAC if you need further assistance with your program.
  • How do I set up my initial appointment?
    • Call Student Health Services (SHS) at 860-486-2719


      Stop by the scheduling desk located on the first floor of SHS.

  • I've set up my initial appointment but I'm not sure where to go. Where is the PAC located?
    • The PAC offices are located on the third floor of the Student Health Services building, offices 304 and 308. You will be directed to the PAC office when you go to the check in desk at SHS on the first floor. Once checked in, proceed upstairs to the PAC office, sign your first name on the board located on the office door and have a seat.
Frequently Asked Questions

Can I lift weights two days in a row?

  • Yes. However, one must leave at least 48 hours of rest between training the same muscle group(s). For example, if training upper body (i.e. arms and chest muscles) on Monday, the next time you work those specific muscle groups should be 48 hours later. This rest will allow the muscles to repair themselves from the previous workout. Exercising sooner may cause injuries and could lead to exercise burnout.

    Depending on an individual’s exercise program and goals, it is recommended to train a single muscle group (chest, back, arms, shoulders, and legs) 1-2 times per week. Including rest days within an exercise program are just as important as the training days.

    Beginners generally should weight lift 2-3 days per week, concentrating on either splitting up the body into three days (Example: back and biceps on Monday, legs and shoulders on Wednesday and chest and triceps on Friday) or doing 8-10 exercises for all muscle groups 2-3 days per week. One day of rest should be allotted in between each weight lifting session.

Are free weights better than weight machines?

  • Each professional in the fitness field has their own opinion on this question. Both methods of weight resistance training provide muscle strengthening opportunities if used properly. Free weights provide a type of resistance training that requires stabilization and balance. It takes more energy and more muscles to smoothly control a free weight during an exercise than it does a weight that is guided by a machine. There is however a disclaimer, if you are not using proper form you can not only cause injury to yourself and others but you also may not reach the benefits of training with free weights. Before you attempt to do any exercises with free weights make sure to seek professional assistance.

I am a female who just started to weight train and someone told me I am going to get too muscular and big, is this true, and should I be concerned about it?

  • This is a common misconception with weight training. It would be difficult for many females who are resistance training to gain enough muscle mass and size to give them the appearance of a body builder. There are specific exercise programs that are designed to increase muscular strength, increase muscle size (hypertrophy), increase power as well as improve muscular endurance. While all of these programs will help to increase muscle strength, not all will increase muscle size. An exercise program designed to improve muscle endurance is recommended to those women who do not want to increase muscle size, "bulk up". Muscular endurance training involves a lighter training load and performing 12-15 repetitions. It is important to choose a training load heavy enough to obtain the benefits of resistance training. An appropriate training load will cause voluntary muscular fatigue (i.e. the "burn") at or close to the desired number of repetitions. Women should not be afraid of gaining muscle. Women should participate in resistance training activities more than males because these types of activities promote bone growth and help to increase bone strength. Women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis and resistance training is one of the best activities to help reduce risk. Furthermore, increasing lean muscle mass through resistance training will increase metabolism and lead to greater caloric expenditure, during and after your workout.

How often can I do cardio? And how long should my cardio session be?

  • Cardiovascular exercise is a very important part of an exercise program and critical to staying healthy. Every routine should incorporate some cardio regardless of the individual’s ultimate fitness goals. Depending on the initial fitness level, aerobic activities should be performed 5 days per week, if not all days of the week. Beginners should start with 3 days per week, spreading the aerobic exercise throughout the week. As cardiovascular fitness is developed, increase the amount of aerobic exercises performed per week, adding another day every 4-6 weeks.

    The duration of an aerobic exercise session will also be dependent on initial cardiovascular fitness level as well as the individual’s fitness goals. Beginners should start at 15 minutes, gradually increasing their duration to =60 minutes.

Cardiovascular and Resistance Training

Cardiovascular exercises help keep our heart, lungs, other organs and systems of the body strong. Beginning to participate in these types of exercise early in life is one of the ways to not only extend your life and but enhance the quality of it. Activities such as walking, jogging, running, biking, skiing, swimming, hiking and rollerblading (only to name a few) are all types of cardiovascular activities that are fun, and important to incorporate into our daily lives.

Building lean muscle mass through resistance training will also promote a healthier lifestyle. Every pound of lean muscle mass we carry on our skeletal frame, helps to maintain our metabolism and keep us energized for the day. Muscles are calorie burning furnaces and will help you reach your goals of staying fit and healthy. Lean muscle mass becomes increasingly important as we age due to the loss of muscle mass and a slowing of the metabolism, especially if we are not using them. By maintaining a high percent of lean muscle mass in the body, we can counteract the effects of aging by slowing the loss of muscle. As we age, the musculature of the body becomes very important for injury prevention. Muscle aids in stability and balance, which can become difficult during older age when strength deteriorates. Why not start living life to the fullest now and continue into the golden years?

Other benefits gained from participation in both cardiovascular and resistance training activities include:

  1. Increases energy and endurance
  2. Slows the aging process
  3. Strengthens the immune system
  4. Can help to reduces stress, depression and anxiety
  5. Increases confidence
  6. Helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass, bone & joint health
  7. Improves quality of sleep
  8. Improves mental acuity
  9. Reduces the risk of many diseases
  10. Provides an opportunity for social networking
Contact & Location
  • Student Health Services Building
    3rd Floor, Rooms 303 & 308
    234 Glenbrook Road Unit 4011
  • Nutrition Office - 860-486-0771
  • Appointments - 860-486-2719
  • Meet Our Staff!
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