Article by: Ryan S.
Over the past few years, ISM’s fitness gym has gained much popularity among Bearcats, with an average of 20 to 30 students of all grade levels making use of the gym every day. Students utilize the gym for various reasons; one such purpose is for weight and resistance training. Although many gym-goers undertake these weight training programs, there is often a stigma associated with how beneficial weight training actually is.
Head Fitness and Development Coach, Richard Hardin (otherwise known as Coach Rich), emphasizes that many at ISM use weight training as a means to achieve lean muscle mass, build strength, or generally tone muscle. He states, ”Through a combination of a good program and proper nutrtion, weight training provides the skills to stay fit, improve our overall health, and abilities to help train for particular sports. Additionally, these skills are applicable to whatever workouts you may do for the rest of your life.” He mentions that many athletes take advantage of the gym for both in-season and offseason training, while non-athletes go to improve their overall fitness and health. Sophomore Aadi V. visits the school fitness gym four times a week. He claims, “I didn’t initially start with the intention to weight train. It wasn’t till I had broken my ankle that I had to use weight training as a way to strengthen muscles and to avoid similar injuries in the future.” In addition to rehabilitation, Aadi also highlights that weight training helps improve one’s self esteem and body confidence, which can be extremely important when viewing oneself as an athlete and taking the right steps to stay healthy.
But like all physical activity, weight training involves the possible risk of injury. However, according to the USA Weightlifting Association, it still remains one of the safest forms of exercise a young athlete can do with only a 0.0035% occurrence rate of injury. Coach Rich notes that these risks can be mitigated through focusing on proper technique and posture rather than on the total amount of weight being lifted. Moreover, Coach Rich also values the importance of learning from those who have proper technique and experience, and encourages fellow trainers to draw on such expertise as a resource to better one’s own regiment. He remarks, “The gym has become a social outlet for those who like to work out with other like-minded people. You can see the development a family-like culture wherein students help train and keep other students safe with their programs.”
As the popularity of the ISM fitness gym continues to grow, the number of students who choose weight training as their means of physical activity also grows. Whether aiming to get stronger, build muscle mass, rehabilitate for an injury, or just get in shape, weight training is a safe and beneficial means to accomplish this.