Weightlifting club in process of forming, sparks initiative among students

By Piper Sartison
Elm Staff Writer

Sophomore and Student Government Association Financial Controller Nicole Chimezie officially announced her plans to form a weightlifting club for students who would like some extra support at the Johnson Fitness Center.

In addition, according to the Oct. 5Washington College SGA Senate minutes, Chimezie is also encouraging students to join.

 “[This] is for anyone who feels uncomfortable or marginalized in the gym,” Chimezie said. “[It will] created a safe space where people can work out together without feeling judged or anything like that.” 

“[The gym can be] a very intimidating environment, especially with the athletes,” junior Eleanor Oldford, a certified personal trainer from the American Council of Exercise, said. 

“As a fitness professional and as someone who has a career in fitness, one of the most predominant things that I hear from people that want to be more active is [that] they’re intimidated to be in a gym environment,” Oldford said. “I think that putting in the effort to combat that and make the JFC more of a welcoming place is such a [great] idea.” 

“I know that it can be very comforting to [work out] with other people who may not be experts at weight lifting,” Chimezie said. 

According to Chimezie, one of her goals with this club is encouraging others to work as a supportive environment, supporting peers, all while promoting a healthy and accepting atmosphere at the gym. The club will also offer options for team workouts, as well as the chance for students to exercise on their own. 

The club is undergoing the process of being organized, and it will take approximately two to four weeks before the club is finalized, according to Chimezie.

“We are trying to figure out spacing,” she said. “If you go to the weight room right now there’s equipment everywhere, so we’re trying to figure out the timing [and extra space].” 

According to Oldford, it is important for all individuals and identities to feel included and welcomed during workouts. 

“I have had so many negative experiences at my high school gym that have led me to relocate…until I found a community of people that go to the gyms to work on themselves,” Oldford said.  “Having a good environment in the gym is crucial, [and] taking advantage of the options of what you have is key to finding something that you enjoy.”

   While the club was originally founded to help students on and off campus who identify as female, it is open to anyone and everyone who would like to join, according to Chimezie. 

The club is for any level of fitness and will accept any range, including beginners and experts. In addition, participants do not have to weightlift if they join; they are welcome to do other fitness activities that align more with their comfort zone and at their own pace. 

Chimezie is currently looking for leadership positions for the club and is currently in the process of gathering signatures for any students interested in participating. Students should email ichimezie2@washcoll.edu or ntraino2@washcoll.edu for further information.

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