(illustration by Nathan Hertzler) Picture this: you walk into a building with the mixed scent of sweat and cleaning supplies. You see men of all shapes and sizes wearing cut off t-shirts or even layered up. You see women in athletic shorts or yoga pants and sports bras or even big t-shirt’s to hide the […]
(illustration by Nathan Hertzler)
Picture this: you walk into a building with the mixed scent of sweat and cleaning supplies. You see men of all shapes and sizes wearing cut off t-shirts or even layered up. You see women in athletic shorts or yoga pants and sports bras or even big t-shirt’s to hide the sweat stains. You see a lot of red faces, hear a lot of loud grunts and clinking of big metal weights hitting the floor, and you automatically feel the intensity of the environment. There’s no question about it, you’ve entered the gym.
Not the gym, where high school students go to watch basketball games on Friday nights or the gym where middle age moms take their sons and daughters to tumbling practice on Saturday mornings, but the “I go six days a week for two hours rain or shine, for better or for worse” gym.
For many, the gym is just a nice thought.
“Maybe I’ll go next week” or “Once I end my sports season I’ll get a membership” or possibly “I’ve asked my mom and she won’t get me a membership”, or my personal favorite, “My membership just expired”.
For others, however, the gym is a place of dedication and hard work, a place where anything can happen and where accomplishments are made.
At first glance, the gym environment seems intense and fast paced. Eventually, normal gym goers see it as an escape, and as a stress reliever.
“I started going to the gym because I wanted to get in better shape physically, and I knew it would help my anxiety a lot, which it did!” says Jenna Steindorf (’19). “My primary focus is definitely my health”.
Jenna started working out religiously her sophomore year once she stopped playing volleyball. She goes every day by herself and has a lot to reflect on her independent experience,
“I don’t really like going to the gym alone — it’s just weird being by myself sometimes”.
Regardless of how she feels, she still puts in an effort to make a gym trip every day, whether it’s early morning or late in the afternoon.
“My biggest motivation is how I feel after”, the senior says.
There is nothing that can stop her from accomplishing her goals and improving her health, not even her best friend sleeping in her bed on a Sunday morning. Jenna won’t hesitate to wake the sleeping beauty and make them go with her or leave if they aren’t with the grind — yes, this is coming from personal experience.
“You can wait for me to get back, it’ll only be like an hour,” she’ll say, and still you find yourself falling back asleep two hours later. Jenna does not play with her gym grind.
Jenna is not the only one who works out for both her mental and physical health. Annemarie Barbour (’19), a Division I bound soccer player and dedicated gym goer since birth, works out for all around happiness.
“I knew that if I wanted to get better at soccer and compete at the highest level with my team, then I had to do outside work on my own,” she says. “Aside from that, working out is also extremely relaxing to me and helps with my mental health.”
Annemarie has been an athlete her whole life, so working out comes naturally. Her freshman year was when she started going to the gym and and focusing on solo workouts.
“My focus has always been to work out because it makes me feel good rather than to lose weight.”
Her workouts range from weight lifting to cardio to speed and agility training, and she accomplishes these alone or with her West Point soccer commit best friend Elise Urkov’19, who attends nearby St. Francis. Annemarie enjoys working out with Elise for more than just the camaraderie.
“I like to go together because we’re both playing Division I soccer next year, so it’s fun to push each other at the gym”.
Even though Anne goes 6 days a week, it’s not always easy for her to get going.
“I think my biggest challenge is just getting myself there and beginning the workout.”
And yet she keeps on going for that end goal,
“My goal is really just to feel good and maintain my strength. I’m mostly motivated by the fitness test I’m going to have to do over the summer”.
Even if she doesn’t want to go, she does a great job pretending like she wants to go. Whether it’s 5:20 AM and she’s just leaving her cycling class to do weights, or it’s 9:00 PM and she’s leaving soccer practice to hit ANOTHER cardio session, Annemarie will always stay loyal to her membership at Fitness System. Annemarie has a lot of hard work to do before she leaves to American University, but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind she’ll add more than the expectations.
Meanwhile, when Jenna longs for a gym partner, Jessie Hennelly (’19) prefers the flip side of working solo over at California Family Fitness.
“I usually don’t like working out with people,” the senior says. “I like going alone”.
She may go to her gym alone, but at The Academy in Downtown Sacramento, she works out out with a personal trainer with her friends from her softball team. Jessie is extremely committed to her workout routines with her trainer and by herself. But her reasoning for working out is much different than Annemarie and Jenna’s. She does, however, want the same outcome.
“I started working out after I finished recovery from my ACL tear,” the CB softball co-captain says. “Once I finished the year of physical therapy, I worked out because I wanted to get stronger as a player and keep my knees conditioned”.
Like Annemarie, Jessie keeps her workouts interesting and switches it up every day so working out doesn’t get boring.
“My primary focus is building strength. Depending on the day, sometimes I’ll do cardio, but most days I’ll do weights to build muscle”.
As a Division I softball commit to the University of Rhode Island, Jessie plans on pushing herself to her highest possible level of success.
“My goal is to reach my potential as a player. I really want to push myself athletically, hitting really well, and being the best players on the field”.
There’s no one else at Christian Brothers that expects more out of their athletic future than Jessie does. If all her training is worth it, Jessie even expects to win a national championship at the collegiate level. It’s hard to believe she won’t accomplish that with her upbeat attitude and hardcore work ethic. Jessie’s the type to make a swimmer want to run a marathon. It won’t be long before she makes the whole state of Rhode Island attend fitness classes and join intramural sports teams.
Another Division I bound Falcon who utilizes his gym is the one and only, Tyler Green (’19). Tyler has been working out since his freshman year of high school when he started getting serious about football. It all paid off when he accepted his offer to Cal Poly earlier this school year.Tyler has been conditioning his body for all the right reasons.
“I work out to prepare my body for football season so it can take a hit or two,” the senior says.
Tyler’s main motivation for keeping his gym membership is his future successes in football. No matter how much he doesn’t want to go, Tyler will always put in the effort to make an appearance at his gym.
“I like to work out with any of the boys for some motivation,” Tyler added. “I don’t always like working out, but I know it’s best for me”.
Since his sophomore year, Tyler has been a memorable varsity athlete. If he wants to keep that way in college, he can’t take too many days off. Tyler goes to his gym at least four days a week and focuses on powerlifting for more strength. And with all the hits he’ll be taking on the field next year, he’ll be needing that muscle.
Going to the gym isn’t only for the people who are playing college sports next year. Andrew Constancio (’19) works out along side Annemarie at Fitness System, along with his workout partners Tyler, Dom Poletti (’19), and Will Carrey (’20).
The way girls travel in packs to the bathroom is the same way boys travel in packs to the gym, so Andrew is never alone and he has good reason for it.
“My friends are what motivate me to go five days a week,” he says.
He didn’t always have this motivation through his friends to work out consistently. In fact, it was not until early in his senior year he started his gym grind with his buddies.
“I started going to the gym to get myself in better shape,” he says. “My main goal is to stay in the shape I worked for”.
The gym isn’t just for empowered D-I athletes or huge men with veins popping out of their foreheads; it’s for the people who want to be a part of their community, find new gym partners, and better their physical and mental health.
It can be intimidating at first glance when seeing someone like Jessie with high energy or seeing someone like Annemarie, whom you are pretty sure you saw at the gym this morning and this afternoon… so why is she there after dark?
Starting a gym grind does not mean you have to dive right in. Take some steps out of Jenna’s book and take it little by little each day, or follow Andrew and Tyler’s lead and find some friends to go with for a more comfortable experience.
Whatever way you get yourself to the gym, it will be worth it when you pass by a mirror and notice how swole you’ve gotten ;).