Building muscle and confidence at the weight room


Photo by Lilly Wu

Since its addition to Lynbrook’s campus, the weight room has become a welcoming environment for students to work out in every day.

Lilly Wu, Opinion Editor

Since its addition to the Lynbrook campus, the weight room has become a supportive haven for students interested in fitness, promoting both a healthy lifestyle and self-confidence.

Remodeled in 2017, Lynbrook’s weight room has always been a part of campus and is open to all students every day after school until 5 p.m. Under the supervision of weight training teacher Ray Wright, students work out with the various types of equipment the room offers — machine weights, stationary bikes and resistance bands are just a small portion of the room’s inventory.

The environment of the weight room is supportive and welcoming for all students — even those with limited experience in working out. The seasoned exercisers are eager to welcome anyone into the community to begin their journey. When junior William Jiao first began working out in the weight room, he felt supported by the constant encouragement from his peers. After receiving advice from Wright and having motivational conversations with other students, Jiao grew confident in his abilities and continued to pursue his dreams.

“I have gotten a lot stronger physically from lifting weights, but what I think is even stronger are the bonds I created with my friends in the weight room,” Jiao said.

Senior Sophia Das has had similar experiences with the weight room’s encouragement. Over time, the weight room has built a solid community of dedicated gym goers who will always help each other out.

“If you go up to someone and ask them to spot you or to show you an exercise, they would be willing to help you out and I think that’s really cool.” Das said.

Gym buddies are a common occurrence in the weight room, as friends work together to achieve their shared goals. From spotting to correcting each other, companions can improve cooperatively while developing a close friendship.

“My best friend and I like to go to the weight room together, and I really enjoy having someone along with me during my journey to drag me to the gym when I don’t feel like going,” junior Alita Huang said. “Though it is nice to have someone cheering you on from the sidelines, I think it’s even better for them to be there with you.”

While students’ motivations for working out vary, many of these students are athletes during their off-season hoping to enhance their sports skills. Meanwhile, other motivations include health reasons unrelated to sports, as regular physical activity is known to reduce the risk of disease, strengthen muscles and ease one’s ability to do everyday activities.

“Personally, I go so that I can correct muscle imbalances and just feel stronger overall,” Das said. “Working out also helps me sleep better.”

Aside from the physical benefits, working out aids students mentally as well — exercise can be a source of solace and release of emotion, as it can reduce anxiety, depression and negative mood while improving self esteem.

“Going to the weight room helps me relax, destress and get some alone time,” junior Jacky Wang said. “After consistently working out for about a year, I feel like I have become more confident. It’s a great feeling.”

However, the imbalance between the number of men and women in the room is clear from just a quick glance around. To diversify the gym, current gym-goers are working to garner weight room interest from girls through a weight training club. The group plans to hold lunch meetings to teach proper form and etiquette, while spending time after school to do group workout sessions. Mentorship programs where experienced and novice exercisers are paired together will also be implemented for students to make friends as they develop their skills.

“Girls may not want wide shoulders or bigger thighs because it’s considered less flattering in social standards, resulting in many of them not going to the weight room,” Huang said. “I can definitely see how this can be an intimidating situation, but what’s great is that Mr. Wright and most people in the weight room are incredibly encouraging.” 

The weight room is also where Wright’s three weight training classes take place. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, this course provides instruction on how to use gym equipment properly and encourages students to begin their fitness journey.

From enhancing the skills of athletes to introducing newcomers to the world of fitness, Lynbrook’s weight room has brought a new air of community and health to the campus.

“The weight room is a super supportive environment for people of all ages, genders, and experience levels,” Huang said, “Come with the intention to improve your body or mental health, and we will welcome you right in.”