UMPI student creates exercise website for all purposes

Posted May 02, 2011, at 6:26 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — For nearly two years, Patrick Manifold, an international student at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, has watched people come into the gym at Gentile Hall and use the exercise machines.

Some people knew what they were doing. Others did not. Where many people would just see a problem, Manifold saw an opportunity.

The 24-year-old sophomore business management major, who came to UMPI from Great Yarmouth, England, has since created his own website that allows people to download free exercise programs. Manifold said Monday he got the idea to create after three people in one day came up to him at the gym and asked him what sort of exercises they should do.

“They had no idea,” he explained. “A number of people exercise, but not everyone wants the same results. Some people want to lose 20 or 30 pounds, while others just want to tone up or increase their muscle mass. There are different exercises that all of those people should do.”

The website has a number of exercise plans, such as the Beach Body Plan, the Size and Strength Plan, and even the Young At Heart Plan to help older exercise enthusiasts stay in the best possible shape. Most plans fit on a single sheet of paper that participants can follow and also use to chart their progress. The website also has nutrition tips and links to other health websites.

At first, Manifold thought of putting together a booklet of different routines and just leaving it out at the gym. Over spring break, however, he got involved in creating the web page and couldn’t stop.

“I would say that it took me 25 or 30 hours,” he explained. “I kind of wound up spending my whole break on it. My friends thought I was crazy.”

It took some effort, he said, to create the workouts and make sure they were easy to download. Once he finished, the dean of students at the college sent out a mass email to spread the word about what he had done. Manifold also created a paper version of the website and displayed it in Gentile Hall for people who don’t have computers.

Word of Manifold’s website spread quickly. By Monday afternoon, the site, which has been up for about three weeks, had 993 hits.

“To me, that is amazing,” he said. “I didn’t think I would see that many hits. To have close to 1,000 in such a short time is really gratifying.”

Manifold said he was inspired to complete the project because he wanted to give back to the city and campus community.

“Everyone at UMPI, and in Presque Isle for that matter, has just been so welcoming,” he said. “I really enjoy this place and the people here, so I just wanted to give back to show that appreciation.”

Manifold said he’s always been passionate about health and fitness, and he is currently writing a research paper on childhood obesity. After college, the captain of the UMPI men’s basketball team hopes to play professional basketball. After he retires from that sport, he intends to open his own gym.

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