Welcome to the Club

Student Bulk Up in New Fitness Group


MAKING GAINS: Members of the lifting club work on squats, bench press, and other workouts. According to member Ruby Sulter lifting is a great way to gain muscle without damaging your body like cardio can do. photo by JC Ramirez Delgadillo.

Victor Martinez, Staffer

With the creation of a new lifting club this year, students now have the opportunity to incorporate exercise into their after-school routines. Whether people join for muscular gains, fun, or to connect with friends, the lifting club is open to athletes of all experience levels and offers a wide range of weights, machines, and training equipment for use.

Sponsored by teachers Ryan Bailey and Neno December, the club meets in the weight room after school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. As someone who has experienced first-hand the negative effects of not incorporating exercise into one’s life, Bailey hopes he can help students learn from his mistakes through the lifting club.

“I think all students should participate in some form of athletics frequently for their own health purposes,” Bailey said. “When I was a teenager, I didn’t, and I saw the effects of it when I threw out my back at the age of 24.” 

Since then, Bailey has been consistently working out both on his own time and after school in the LASA weight room. Seeing how many students used the room to exercise during his time there, Bailey was inspired to create the lifting club.

“I have been going to the weight room here pretty frequently as of March of 2022,” Bailey said. “I took some kids along with me, and then more kids wanted to come, thus leading to me sponsoring the weightlifting club, along with Mr. December.”

While the weightlifting club was initially started to teach a powerlifting based program, students are free to do other exercises focusing on different muscles as well. To ensure members can safely operate equipment and be trusted with lifting alone, they are taught fundamental gym safety by club sponsors and officers.

“We give demonstrations of the three main types of lifts and help people with their form as they practice,” Bailey said. “I go around watching people’s form, making sure they’re performing the exercises correctly and safely. We teach how to spot, which means how to make sure that the people won’t drop the weight on themselves and hurt themselves.”

Senior club member Jeffrey Li had been lifting for three years before he joined the club. Originally, he was not expecting many people to come to the first meeting, so he was pleasantly surprised with the large turnout the first meeting had.

“A lot more people came than we thought,” Li said. “It was 20 to 30 people the first time, and the second time it was a lot more, maybe 35 to 40 people. We thought it would be pretty hectic, but it turns out everybody got into their own group and just started working together, supporting each other, even if they didn’t know what they were doing, and just creating friends overall.”

In addition to using the club to better themselves, experienced club members, like Senior Ruby Sulter,  joined to connect with others and teach new members proper lifting technique. For Sulter, weightlifting gives her the opportunity to take time out of her busy schedule to socialize. 

“[Weightlifting] is just really fun, and also I’m a bit experienced, so I know I can always help people out, but this is also a great way to connect with my friends,” Sulter said. “I love working out with my friends because I don’t get to see them all the time because of jobs and classes.”

Sulter has been involved in athletics since she was six. Having participated in multiple team sports in the past, she developed burnout and painful injuries like knee and hip flexor pains. Sulter began to lift consistently a year ago and remains passionate about it. For her, lifting caters much better to each individual’s fitness goals than traditional team sports, and she hopes the lifting club can expose others to the sport of lifting as well.

“When it comes to weightlifting, the goal is to build your best self,” Sulter said. “I think that’s really the big thing that makes it so enjoyable for me: it’s just time for me to work on myself without pressure from other people. I just love it.”