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Defending the Tomik Fitness Facility from Speak Magazine

I’m currently wrapping up my sixth year at SUNY Cortland. As of now 25% of my life has been spent here. I’ve grown tremendously, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. I consider this place home, I’ve met so many different people and made so many new friends here and I feel honored that I now have the ability to contribute to the program I was educated in. Now, I’m going to be completely honest, none of that would have happened if it wasn’t for the Tomik Fitness Facility.

When I was 17 and 18 I took tours of multiple colleges. Some of them I liked but as soon as I got to Cortland and saw their gym I was sold. It was bigger than any other schools gym and had more equipment than any gym I had previously seen on other tours. So, as bad as it sounds, my education and future career here is because of seeing the Tomik Fitness Facility.

My freshman year I made friends at the gym with some seniors who mentored me through the bench press. I was only 18, so I wasn’t touching the deadlift or squat yet. What really impressed me was that these 22 year old guys would help out a young 18 year old kid who was just eager to learn and get better. Since my first year lifting has become my passion and coaching it has become my career. Cory Russell (An awesome friend who I met at TOMIK) and I run a growing powerlifting team with 13 competitors, some who hold world records within the IPA powerlifting federation.

 z squad lift

So why write this? Well recently there was an article in SPEAK magazine basically bashing the Tomik Fitness Facility and it’s in my nature to be confrontational and argumentative especially when an argument is biased. So here are some points I’d like to critique on the article that was posted.

  • “Cortland needs to revamp and modernize the 1980s themed gym.”

Well, first of all we have a budget and we continually get new equipment. Those Olympic Platforms with the half racks are not from 1980 in fact nothing in that gym is from 1980. To the unnamed author, your logical fallacy is Hasty Generalization. Plus what’s wrong with a 1980s gym?

  • “First, there are the giant men on the far side, half of them with Beats on, “roided out” and benching 400 pounds while staring dead into the eyes of the girls on the elliptical machines.”

Okay, so the only guy I know at the gym that can bench press 400 pounds is Kyle Evanteski, a powerlifter on my team and he’s the nicest gentlest teddy bear of a human in the world and he’s not roided out even though we call him Juice. Now, I’ve seen giant men, and no one in the Cortland weight room is a giant man. If we’re staring at you dead in the eye (although no one does that) it’s because we want you to get off the elliptical, come lift, and make some gains with us!

  • “ One or two men let out barbaric noises because they are obviously exerting their complete energy and need to know that everyone hears it”

YUPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BUDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYY. Maybe you should try it; it’s actually quite fun to yell when crushing weights.


  • “Oh, and if you forgot your towel in the first place, don’t even think you’re getting in. Tomik is stricter than Horse these days”

 It’s a gym, you’re going to sweat, some people have skin diseases and we’d rather not get them.

Tomik isn’t going to be around for much longer, in fact it only has about one semester left before everybody is moved to this new student life center and I’m going to say I sincerely will miss it. I’ll miss the times my friend Mike Reid and I would go in when I was a freshman to bench press. I’ll remember the first time I benched 225 there. I’ll remember the times when I was a junior and senior to go in to see all my friends there, to hear Josh Kim yelling YUPPPPPPP! At the top of his lunges. I’ll remember spotting Koop on his biceps curls on the preacher curl machine (yes preacher curl machine). I’ll remember squatting with my buddy Al Mercado. I’ll always remember how Cory and I became friends. He was on the warm up matt and we started talking about Dragon Ball Z which naturally led to biceps curls and a lifelong friendship. I’ll remember deadlifting 500 pounds for the first time there in the annual powerlifting competition with all my friends cheering me on (Thanks Ricky for picking my song). I’ll remember late night shifts with Matt Edwards where we lined up all the water bottles that were left out and used a medicine ball to go bowling in the gym. The time Steph Ladue and I played call me maybe about five times in a row. I’ll remember the two times Tony Gentilcore came and we deadlifted on the “new not from 1980s” platform. And I’ll remember the first time I squatted 405 there. God, I’ve met so many awesome people because of Tomik it’s ridiculous. Scott Mooney, your biceps are an inspiration to this day!

My whole powerlifting team, Ricky, PJ, Cory, Joe, Kyle, Andy, Mike, Sam, Tribal, Nancy, Kerry, and Shelby, to friends that have left Cortland Matt, Bret, Matty, Katie, James, Josh BOOM Kim, Colin Wilson, Steph, Darrell, Pat, Jason, Dane, and all these students in the Kinesiology major who I have the opportunity to help and coach. So thank you Tomik, thank you for being awesome and to the author who bashed Tomik, you’re looking at it through a narrow lens. You’re not seeing the fitness family that Tomik has helped to create, the dozens of people who train there to actually compete in something rather than trying to look good enough to go down town. So Tomik, I got your back until the end and I know my friends do to, pay no attention to the haters, if they don’t like you they don’t have to go, I’m sure the ellipticals will be just fine without them.


3 responses

  1. Andrew Porter

    I’m currently at OCC and plan on transferring to Cortland in about a hour and a half. This gym sounds perfect. I hope it never leaves.

    April 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

  2. Anne Robinson

    Way to turn a semi-satirical article into your magnum opus. I’m sure your writing studies courses back in 2007 during your first year at Cortland prepared you well for this fantastically written defensive piece. Save the monotonous and essentially insignificant accounts of your machismo friends for your gym diary and save the writing for real academics. You are the weakest link.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:54 am

    • justinkompf90

      I appreciate the feedback. The intent of the article, while somewhat to address the article written in speak, was to talk about how Tomik has impacted my life for the better, the friends I have made, the progress I have made, and the knowledge I have gained. As for my writing, I actually strongly considered going back to school for it and I did take some writing classes at Cortland. However, I do have over two years of writing experience, some of which I have actually gotten paid for. I’ve contributed to popular fitness sites and am actually friends with authors from big magazines like Mens Health. As for you addressing us basically as brainless meatheads that’s simply not the case. I have written professionally for journals like the strength and conditioning journal. In the last year I’ve easily read over 200 peer reviewed articles on my profession. Sure, in the gym we might make noises but that’s just us having fun. Maybe you could observe us a couple times to get an idea of our culture and write an article on that. So once again I apologize if my article came across as personal, that wasn’t the intent, it was to send Tomik off in a positive way. If you’re interested in observing us contact me at If you think we’re still brainless meat heads after you can write a piece on that 🙂

      May 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

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