One year after Weightlifting Club was inaugurated, the group has a new initiative: more gender diversity. In a weight room heavily dominated by men (despite the two female-identifying faculty advisers), one can encounter a group of lifters.
President and senior Adam Zukowski, who started the club with the hopes of encouraging aspiring lifters to get in shape, now envisions a time when both male and female students can lift together during the club.
“We are looking to branch out more than we did last year, like making posters, talking before senior speeches, just to try and make sure people know it’s going on and allow people to have the chance to come in, especially females,” Zukowski said.
Upper School Science teacher Christine Schwichtenberg and US Fitness for Life teacher Cari Jo Anderson are both female and both understand the struggle for women entering into any weight room.
“Gender diversity is so important because strength and being empowered by strength is not gender specific. And while weight training is known to be a male’s sport, it really is for everyone. I think a lot of the misconceptions revolve around bulking up. The diversity is important because not only do we learn a lot from each other but it is a way to empower each other by being in an atmosphere of encouragement and positivity between both male and female athletes or lifters or just someone who wants to get more active,” Anderson said.
Schwichtenberg has been an athlete since high school. She played basketball through college and affirms the difficulties with learning how to lift and being comfortable with the practice:
“When I was an athlete in high school I did not like lifting, I just think I wasn’t very good and I got distracted by my friends. When I lived in North Carolina I joined an all women’s weightlifting group. We would meet once a week with a trainer and I liked it a lot,” she said.
While there is no specific time for only females to meet in the SPA weight room, representation can start with groups of girls attending weightlifting club if they are interested. Likewise, there are many health benefits related to strength training, especially for women. Research suggests that weight training may lower women’s chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, and lowering the risk of developing osteoporosis.
“Strength training helps everyone regardless of their gender identification, and everybody feels good when they feel strong. [Female can become] healthy in terms of bone density and health later in life,” Schwichtenberg said.
For both females and males who are curious about the techniques of lifting weights, Zukowski offers assistance. He hopes younger students, whatever gender, will feel comfortable to ask him with any questions.
“If you approach me I will show you how to do a movement safely, if you’re experienced and you know what you’re doing you can just come in. Our two advisors are both female and they are knowledgeable and they both work out a lot. They demonstrate too. I am always open to any new members regardless of gender,” he said.
The club meets regularly in the weight room and normal attendance is not required. Athletes, thespians or any student is welcome to join on any given day, no matter their gender.