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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

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Girl Gains empowers women in the weight room

Girl Gains Notre Dame is putting more women in the weight room. The club chapter, which began in the fall of 2022, has a mission to empower women of all fitness levels in the gym. 

Established in 2020, Girl Gains Lifting Club is a global organization that connects over 100 college campus chapters. Girl Gains Notre Dame president, junior Madison Chambers, started the chapter to serve as both an educational tool and community for female weightlifters. 

“I wanted to develop a community of like-minded women, and empower women to belong in a traditionally male-dominated place and workout for strength and feeling confident, rather than for aesthetic,” Chambers said. “Since we started, I think the community aspect has really grown. I’ve met my best friends through starting it.”

In the chapter’s first year on campus, Chambers estimated that they had an email list of approximately 100 people. Now, that email list has grown to almost 400 and the club has gained almost 600 followers on Instagram. 

While community is a core component of the Girl Gains mission, Chambers explained that the club’s fundamental goal is education. 

“One of the core values of Girl Gains is knowledge,” Chambers said. “We want to promote strength training and weightlifting as a lifestyle for wellness, rather than to look a certain way. So, that definitely requires a mental health aspect beyond just going to the gym.”

Girl Gains Notre Dame manifests their mission in a variety of ways, including guest speakers, workshops, dorm co-sponsored events, meals and group lifts. This Sunday, Girl Gains collaborated with Flaherty Hall to host a “Learn to Lift” session at the Smith Center for Recreational Sports.

Mary Musselman, a senior studying biological sciences, serves as director of marketing for Girl Gains Notre Dame. Musselman explained her motivation for joining the club.

“There’s a lot of emphasis in the women’s fitness industry on cardio, and there’s always a changing trend about what’s popular and what’s effective … but strength training is one of those things that just is always good,” Musselman said. “A lot of women just never learn how to strength train because there’s a lot of stigma around it, and they think it’ll make them look a certain way that you’re not supposed to look as a woman.”

Musselman said that Girl Gains serves as an outlet for women who are new to weightlifting.

“A lot of girls want to get into it but don’t know how to start and don’t have a group of other women that are also doing it. So I feel like Girl Gains is a perfect community to provide women with support and education on how to start weightlifting,” Musselman said. 

When it comes to getting this start, Musselman advises: “Use your resources, make a plan and get a friend.”

“Having somebody go and show me what to do, and to just be there made the experience fun and comfortable,” Musselman said. “I enjoyed myself, and I think that’s the biggest thing with exercise — just to find something that you love.”