Several Lewis & Clark students utilize the extensive equipment of the Pamplin Sports Center Weight Room on a daily basis. Photo by Aidan D'Anna

Commentary: more women should utilize the Pamplin Weight Room

I would like to start this article by expressing how much I admire the student-athletes at Lewis & Clark. You all put in so much time and energy working on your athletics and your schoolwork. However, you can also be very intimidating.

I remember one of my first few times going to the weight room when I saw a football player doing deadlifts with five plates on either side, shaking the floor with each successive thud of the barbell. I hid in the corner with my tens trying to do curls. Every day I saw student- athletes in the weight room who knew exactly what they were doing, and doing it well. They also worked out together as a team, while I was all by myself trying to parse out the intricacies of the complex subject of lifting. It took a lot for me to keep going to the gym in those early days. Yet, I knew that what I was doing, purposely trying to gain weight, was going to change me for the better. Eventually, I started to look forward to my workouts as a way to mitigate the stress brought on by school. I would blare my favorite music in my headphones and block everything and everyone else out. Over the past two years, I have spent countless hours in the Pamplin Weight Room, and I have come to the conclusion that more women need to use it. 

Our gym has incredible equipment, and it is a resource that most students do not use enough. Additionally, lifting can do amazing things for your body. Weightlifting is incredibly important for maintaining bone mass, keeping your heart healthy and many other mental and physical health benefits. However, what you probably care about is how lifting will change how your body looks. I have talked to a lot of women who are afraid of looking bulky if they start weightlifting. But here is the thing: your growth is completely controlled by you. That is what makes weightlifting so fun. Two years ago, I was doing only cardio, fearing any form of weight gain. When I started lifting my mindset changed, and I fell in love with how my body transformed. Watching my body grow as a direct result of my work made me realize that gaining weight is actually pretty cool. Not to mention, I felt awesome whenever I was able to lift more weight than the previous week. That feeling of physical strength empowered me in a completely new way, and I want every woman to experience that feeling. 

I am by no means an expert, shredded or really all that strong. There are so many athletes in the gym who can lift more than I will ever be able to, but I cannot remember a single time I felt judged by anyone in the gym. I hear so many women say that they want to try lifting, but feel that the gym is too intimidating or that they are afraid that they will look too “masculine.” Lifting has made me so much more confident, both in myself and my body. If you are still wary, go with a friend for support, or shoot me an email and I will go with you. I would love to help any woman fall in love with lifting as I have.

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