After wiping the sweat from their forehead, a student drops a pair of weights to finish the last set of their workout. They reach down to grab their water bottle and look up to find themselves staring back at the gym’s wall mirrors with a smile on their face.
After the renovation and opening of the new Santa Clara 24 Hour Fitness gym, many spent their summer at the facility with intentions of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as it offered a free two month membership available to Bay Area high school students.
SCHS senior Nate Hamilton has been a regular member of the new 24 Hour Fitness since May of 2022. After having joined for four months, Hamilton found an advantage toward spending the day at the gym and working on his personal body image.
“The way I look at it is, if I look good, I feel good,” Hamilton said. “And if I feel good, I’m in a better mood for just the rest of the day.”
Along with Hamilton, senior Noel Cevallos joined the gym in hopes of challenging himself physically. After joining in June of 2022, Cevallos has been completing workouts each week in preparation for the 2022 cross country and 2023 track and field seasons at SCHS.
“It’s fun for me to push myself to see how far my limits are,” Cevallos said.
While some students were able to join and adjust to a gym, others, such as senior Yenith Cuevas Blancas found the environment to be difficult to focus in because of the people around her.
“At first, I did see it as an intimidating place to be because I am younger and usually people who go to the gym are older people, or men,” Blancas said. “That’s why I first started going with my sister or friends, but after that, I just stopped caring.”
Along with reluctance to be at the gym alone, some students were balancing both sports and school at the same time. After taking a break from gymnastics, junior Mahsa Pazoki attempted to maintain her classes while still challenging herself physically outside of the sport.
“I’m not going to have enough time to manage AP classes and another dedicated sport, so I was like, when I go to the gym, I can manage my own time,” Pazoki said.
For some, like junior Jeff Marinshaw, working out in a gym has been a regular and beneficial routine.
“It was to get my mind off things, to get me away from everything because you have to focus, and it just felt amazing, and after, I felt so refreshed,” Marinshaw said.
Marinshaw also mentioned the realistic and ideal aspects of his workout schedule, along with a healthy suggestion to prioritize breaks while physically exerting oneself.
“I can take a rest day whenever because it’s not good to force yourself to stick to it if it’s interfering with a birthday party or a dinner,” Marinshaw said. “Don’t let it. You have to find balance.”
After committing to his workout routine for the summer, Hamilton advised others to work on themselves physically despite the challenging aspects.
“Don’t be scared to ask for help because more often than not people in the gym are willing to give you advice because they want to see everyone grow and be happy with their body,” Hamilton said.
Despite entering the fitness environment at a young age and feeling the pressure of maintaining physical health, Marinshaw reflected on the silver linings of leaving his comfort zone and challenging himself.
“I think that (working out) can help a lot of people even if they don’t know it yet,” Marinshaw said. “If you just try it, you might really like it, and it might really help you mentally and physically.”