For many students, weight lifting is an essential part of an athletes workout routine and is crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ridgewood High School emphasizes the importance of a well rounded workout among areas such as weight lifting, cardiovascular endurance training, and agility. To meet the expectation of a high standard, our school offers a diverse weight room that includes a variety of machines that allow athletes to get a fulfilling exercise. However, having time to workout in the gym is a challenge in itself, as many students and teams want to have the opportunity to take advantage of its facilities. In the afternoon, students normally have around two and a half hours to workout, and that includes sharing the room with many other people. After about 5:30, the weight room is typically booked by coaches who promise around ninety minutes of lifting time to their athletes. Although some teams offer lifting sessions in the morning, that means students must alter their entire routine in order to fit it in. Consequently, coaches and athletes must consider whether it is better to lift in the mornings or sometime after school, and the answer to this depends almost entirely on the student.
It is common for teams of a great size, such as Football or Track & Field, to offer morning lifting sessions since the large number of athletes may make to difficult to utilize all the equipment and get a good workout in. The swim program also offers this opportunity since their athletes spend a majority of the afternoon at the pool or working out in other areas. Despite the helpfulness of these sessions, it can be hard for students to attend because they usually start around 6:45-7:00 AM. “I would love to be able to workout in the morning, but because of my schedule it’s impossible for me to get to the school that early,” said junior Max Gluck. Most students can agree that it can be difficult to manage homework and after school sports, which can be further complicated by waking up early to attend morning sessions. Another junior Emma Morino adds, “I like working out and lifting in the morning because it’s a great way to start my day and makes me feel better throughout the day knowing that I already worked out.”
After asking students at which time they prefer to work out, a majority of the individuals I spoke to shared that they would like to lift in the morning. However, I conducted another poll where I asked when each individual would most likely be able to workout, and the majority said during the afternoon or at night. This simple response highlights the fact that the overwhelming amount of athletes in the weightroom at one time can prevent students from getting a decent workout, but this may be inevitable.
Adjustments to its usage have been made in the past; on most days, the weight room is dominated by the boys, making it challenging for girls to feel comfortable in finding a space in crowded gym. Last year, Mr. Cook allotted Tuesdays and Thursdays to a girls only lifting days but due to the lack of attendees, the set times were disbanded. It is possible for lifting sessions to be offered in the morning but it is likely that they would be overrun once again.
Despite the valiant efforts of Mr. Cook and other devoted faculty members, students are still struggling to find time to workout that does not alter their entire schedule. Morning practices may have low attendance with students unreliable sleep schedules and the possibility that not all students would be able to find a ride at that time. Light-weight varsity crew member, senior Lexi Liu stated, “As a sophomore, I felt too guilty waking up my parents to drive me to the high school before sunrise.” Lexi added, “Even when I had my license, I felt like I was not getting anything out of my workout due to my lack of energy, and getting less sleep made it harder to focus and put in my best effort during the school day.” Crew members also have two to three hour practices after school, doubling up to give Ridgewood rowers a competitive advantage over other the crew teams.
With the weightlifting room being the only resource for many Ridewood Highschoolers to lift, it is important to strike a balance between these debated options to ensure that student-athletes maintain a healthy lifestyle and receive the most benefits from their fulfilling workout.
Graphic: Matthew Lepis