Leah Crowley | Students stopped by a smoothie stand at the gym to get free samples and learn about nutrition

The Anna Fascitelli Fitness Center will launch its own version of “Thirsty Thursday” with free smoothies, a free water bottle and free nutritional advice.

Every other Thursday at the fitness center, students from the Wellness program, in collaboration with Health Services, organizes the event, which offers students free smoothie samples while presenting important nutritional information such as the pros and cons of calorie counting. Anyone who goes to Thirsty Thursday can pick up copies of the recipes and a Thirsty Thursday card.

The card has the slogan, “Get Two, Get Gear!” If students go to Thirsty Thursdays twice and get their card stamped, they will receive a free water bottle.

Denise Robbin is the Fitness and Wellness specialist at the University of Rhode Island who oversees the group exercise programs. Robbin also supervises Thirsty Thursday and says that the free smoothies provide “an opportunity for us to provide nutrition information to our students.”

Robbin’s intern, Hannah Ornburn, runs Thirsty Thursdays. Her job includes ordering the ingredients, completing nutritional research and making the smoothies.

There are two different smoothies offered, one for cutting and one for bulking. According to Ornburn, “bulking is a high calorie, high protein, and kind of medium fat diet that is meant to build muscle.”

Bulking diets are best for people who do weightlifting type workouts when they go to the gym.

Ornburn says that a cutting diet is best if someone is trying to lose body fat. She says for a cutting diet, “you want to be reducing your body fat and getting your lean muscle weight up, rather than having all the excess fat on your body.”

On Jan. 31 they offered a bulking chocolate banana smoothie and a cutting blueberry banana smoothie. The ingredients in the smoothies are healthy and designed for their kind of diets.

The bulking smoothie had one percent milk because it is higher in fat and protein than the almond milk they used in the cutting one. The use of almond milk also provides a vegan option. The smoothies have ingredients such as chia seeds and tofu as well to create a milkshake-like texture and add an extra source of protein.

Thirsty Thursday has even garnered some national recognition. Robbin was interviewed by Campus Rec Magazine after they heard about the event on URI’s campus recreation website. Ornburn thinks that Thirsty Thursdays is becoming more well known.

“It seems like we get more and more people every week,” she said.

Student Luisa Santos exercises at the fitness center four to five times a week. She has seen the Thirsty Thursday booth more than once.

“I think it’s a good idea and mostly because they give the recipes, so it’s easier to do them at home,” Santos said. “I think it gives beneficial information and provides some nutritional advice for students.”

The next Thirsty Thursday will be on Feb. 14 from 4-6 p.m. in the Anna Fascitelli Fitness Center.