Oxford Exchange mixes classic, contemporary

Many know the Oxford Exchange as a relaxing place to dine in, have coffee or shop, but what many don’t know is how the Oxford Exchange became what it is today.


The building, located at 420 West Kennedy Blvd., has gone through numerous changes over the past decades. It was originally built in 1891 as a stable for the Tampa Bay Hotel, now the University of Tampa’s Plant Hall. The Oxford Exchange opened in 2012.

“The owner, Blake Casper, went to college in London and was inspired by the university libraries and the old clubs, all the architecture there. He really thought that sense of community was missing here in his hometown of Tampa,” said Sarah Dyles, the director of public relations.




The idea started with a small bookstore and soon took off from there. The owner and his team have done their best at preserving as much of the old material as they could.

“The original brick walls are exposed,” said Dyles. “The original wood floors are actually above us on the ceiling. We found old horse shoes and milk bottles that were left behind from over a century ago.”

The building has an authentic, historic appearance. Its unique architecture and design helps draw people in.

“I would say the most unique thing is the space, all the different facets,” said sous chef Rachel Bennett. “They have the commerce club, the atrium, the conservatory and the retail shop. There are not very many restaurants where you get to have all these different kinds of elements.”


Coffee and tea are common favorites. Many people enjoy sipping their beverages while lounging on the big, comfortable, leather sofas.

“I really like coming here on Fridays after my yoga classes,” said Daniella Salgueiro, a University of Tampa student. “The environment is very soothing and relaxing. I like to have my coffee here in the morning, and sometimes I’ll have a little treat.”


In the center of the building is the atrium, a simple gathering space. The Oxford Exchange does not offer Wi-Fi. They prefer people are not staring at their phones all day long, but rather are interacting and collaborating with one another.


“They’re doing things with people, the way they did back when this building was originated,” said Dyles.

USF exercise researchers say short, high-intensity workout can replace hour of cardio

People too busy for lengthy workouts can breathe easier since researchers at the University of Tampa’s Human Performance Research Lab discovered that higher-intensity workouts can be as effective as an hour spent on cardio.

“What we found is that very, very intense, extremely intense, nauseating sprinting movements can actually deplete in 30 seconds, like, 30 percent of your carbohydrate source in your muscle,” said Jacob Wilson, associate director of the graduate program in exercise and nutrition science.

Wilson conducted the Wingate test, in which the subject uses a special stationary bike to perform this high-intensity workout. There are 10 stages, and weight is added at each stage. If participants do 10 out of 10 sets, the workout takes only 2 minutes and burns more fat than an hour of normal cardio.

“We’ve found as much fat loss, actually more, with that than doing an hour of traditional cardio,”  Wilson said. “It’s also better for athletic performance as well. You’re more powerful, and it actually helps you gain lean mass.”

UT graduate student Chase Hollmer is a bodybuilder who values staying in shape.

“I’d have to say it’s probably the most efficient form of cardio there is. I love it and recommend it 100 percent,” Hollmer said.

A Wingate bike is expensive. In order to apply this science to your workout, Wilson suggested getting a partner for your next gym visit.

“First, you start off for a few seconds and you sprint all the way out with no weight,” Wilson said. “Then, your partner suddenly moves the weight all the way up on the treadmill or on the stationary bike or on the StairMaster, so now you’re mimicking what we’re doing in our lab.”

Wilson plans to expand his quick-workout routine to Powerhouse Gym in Tampa.

Clearwater swimmer Sidney Pickrem commits to making Canadian Olympic team

Sidney Pickrem has taken her sport of swimming to an elite level most people could only dream about.

She is an eight-time Florida state champion and is training to make the Canadian National Team. In about 10 months, she hopes to fulfill her ultimate dream, making the Canadian Olympic team. If she makes the team, she will compete with the best in the world in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Swimming has been the biggest part of my life,” Pickrem said. “I started when I was 6 years old. I always enjoyed pushing myself. I like the fact that it is a sport in which you don’t have to depend on anyone but yourself.”

There is no off-season in swimming. It is a year-round, intense training schedule with nine practices a week, two of them beginning at 4:45 a.m. Sticking to this schedule is physically and mentally challenging. However, the payoff is part of making your dreams come true. In Pickrem’s case, this includes getting a full scholarship at Texas A&M.

“Coaching an athlete like Sidney makes coaching fun. You can give her any workout, and you know she will give it her all. A lot of kids in the sport these days are not willing to do that. “

Pickrem is expected to qualify as the No. 1 seed in both the 200IM and the 400IM. She is also hoping to make the team in one of her off events, which is the 200 Freestyle.

Tampa-area Buddhist temple offers authentic Thai market

Add a new outing to your Sunday routine. The Wat Tampa, a Buddhist Thai temple, hosts its Sunday market each week, offering a variety of authentic Thai foods along with a wide selection of fresh produce and plants.

“There’s a little bit of everything for you to enjoy here,” said Terry Stephens, one of the volunteers. “They have plants and vegetables here, all kinds of fruits.”

The market also serves free coffee and tea. The temple volunteers prepare the Thai food themselves, and you’re guaranteed to never leave hungry.

“People love to come here because they love the food, and it’s cheap,”said Malai Suttikul, a volunteer.

Most of the food only costs about $5 a serving, and all proceeds are used to maintain the temple and market.

The Sunday Market started in 1993 with two tables. Now, the market flourishes with about 30 tables, a garden of potted plants and flowers, and tents offering different foods, such as fried chicken.

In 2011, the market added a seawall and benches for relaxing beside the Palm River.

The Sunday Market is open from 9:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. and is located at 5306 Palm River Rd.