Gym Rats

Many teens have an obsession with the gym. Especially at Liberty, there are kids that have a number one priority of hitting the gym.

Students+working+out+in+Libertys+state+of+the+art+weight+room.

Jalen Wieck

Students working out in Liberty’s state of the art weight room.

Teenagers are recommended to get an hour a day for exercise in order to stay healthy.  There are a variety of outlets where students can make this goal: a PE class, going on a walk, run, playing a sport, or going to the gym. Many students at Liberty are also members at a gym, such as Performance, Top Shape Gym, Thrive gym, etc, and these gym members usually go often.

The gym offers so many different utilities to help students stay in shape, prepare for sports, or strengthen their muscles. The CDC states that this physical activity “improves cardiorespiratory fitness, builds strong bones and muscles, controls weight, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.” 

Especially for students, going to the gym can offer a break from the pressures of school, family, and friend life. Tanner Atwood, senior, finds the gym to be a form of therapy. 

Atwood said: “It’s a place where I can focus on something so physical and individual. For me, that often helps me relax and get rid of any anxious energy that I might have”. 

Similarly, Sydney Kepros, senior, who goes to the gym often, appreciates how the gym makes you feel. 

Kepros said: “I use it as a time to clear my head. Everytime I go, I always end up in a better mood than when I went in”.

A good day can start from the gym and a bad day can be made better by going to the gym. 

This is a picture of Performance Health and Fitness, a gym that many Liberty students can be found at. (Yelp-Performance Health and Fitness)

Eavenly Nielsen, junior, loves the workout community and is one of the better parts of her day. 

It is something I look forward to at the end of the day,” she said. 

The gym is not only a release, but a place of control. Teenagers can make their own goals, which they have complete control to reach, and this can teach a skill of motivation. Reaching a goal also contributes to a sense of accomplishment, which a lot of students need. 

Kepros said: “My favorite part about the gym is knowing I’m bettering myself. It’s very easy to recognize when you have a good workout, and I feel accomplished when I do.”

There are many benefits of going to the gym, as long as it stays a safe process. A problem with a lot of people is that they may push themselves too hard or try to speed up the process to reach their goal. 

Preworkout is something that carries many peoples workouts, giving them more energy to do more. Both Kepros and Atwood said that they only take pre-workouts occasionally. It’s important to make sure that it is not the only thing fueling workouts. 

Fischer and his brother Eiseley at their gym together. (Fischer Dykstra)

Fischer Dykstra, junior, finds that pre-workout is not the route for him to take.

Dykstra said: “I do not take pre-workouts because I’m afraid I’m going to become dependent on it.”

It’s important to remember that if pre-workout is something in one’s daily routine, to make sure it’s safe. Supplements are not regulated the same as drugs are, so it can be hard to know what exactly is in them (some contain anabolic steroids or high quality protein which is dangerous in large amounts). If it starts to become reliant, it may be time to integrate a different pre-workout option. 

Taking care of oneself is a crucial part of the gym process, so knowing one’s limits is extremely important. 

Being able to take time off and having breaks when needed is necessary to staying healthy. When one feels obligated to go even when under duress, is where the gym becomes dangerous. When the body does not feel right, taking rest time is okay because without it stress fractures and overuse injuries can form.

Kepros talked about her relationship with the gym:

“I never feel obligated to go, I want to go.”

Nielsen also has a good relationship with attending. 

I don’t feel obligated to go, I go because I want to get stronger…I don’t really take long breaks, I have a couple days off a week because it is good for your body to rest,” she said. 

A positive relationship with the gym should be formed. Straying away from compulsive exercise habits and eating enough cannot be stressed enough. 

The gym is a big part of people’s lives, and it can be a very positive part. Making sure to stay healthy and establishing a safe schedule should be prioritized.