The pros and cons of gym culture

With the fitness center open again, how has life at the gym shaped Westmont students?


Ella Jennings, The Horizon

The pros and cons of gym culture

Annika Bahnsen, Sports Editor

Last year, due to the COVID-19 virus, many restrictions were put in place around campus to ensure the safety of the students and staff. One of these restrictions included the closure of the fitness center, located right beneath Murchison Gym. This put a big damper on many athletes here on campus as well as students who participate in physical activity. 

Now, as COVID-19 protocols have lifted, the fitness center is back open for use and students are indulging in the equipment. Many students, even some who have never actively participated in “gym life,” have taken this opportunity to grind out a good workout.

Here in the United States, and specifically in college life, gym culture has a lot of stereotypes. Both positive and negative, this culture has a big say as to why people may or may not go to the gym. Whether it be the various personalities represented, such as “the bro” or “the equipment hog,” or maybe even the “judgment” that one might feel during a certain workout, the gym has a specific way of life that gym-goers accept. 

The benefits of going to the gym show why so many people are hooked. First-year Reagan Crain shared why she loves the gym so much: “My physical health increases. I love feeling strong and powerful. I use lifting to destress and I feel a lot more like myself when I am constantly going to the gym.”

Second-year Sarah Duff added to the positives by saying, “Besides just physical fitness, I find emotional and mental health benefits from working out at the Westmont gym … I always enjoy it when I can go!”

Although gym culture can be a healthy and motivating constant, the culture also presents many negatives. To some, it has become a very toxic environment, creating a space for comparison and unnecessary competition. This toxicity has become a topic of conversation in the gym world recently, and many people are becoming more aware.

Second-year Seattle Hmelar added a different perspective of gym culture that he believes contributes to an unhealthy mindset: “I go to the gym at least four times a week. I feel bad about missing workouts because progress in the gym is all about discipline and consistency.”

Additionally, there is a gender divide. Women are exposed to many stereotypes related to body image and working, which may decrease female gym attendance.  “Unfortunately,” Duff explained,” I think that a lot of girls are intimidated by gym culture, which means that I am mostly working out with male athletes.”

Keeping these things in mind, many people still really enjoy the culture the gym brings. Whether it be for personal body goals or just giving yourself a little study break, the gym can cultivate a healthy body.

“From what I can tell,” Crain finished, “the pros outweigh the cons because most people go to the gym for the positive benefits of fitness.”

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