Self-Made Fitness

Mustering the energy to be physically active on their own time can be troubling for students. Many students at our school who aren’t in any organized physical activities have pushed beyond their limits to better themselves.

Junior Emmanuel Alvarez didn’t always plan for fitness to be such a part of his life. Alvarez said, “What made me get into fitness was I used to be bullied about my weight. I saw my brother who had started weight-lifting, so I started going to the gym with him around the seventh and seven or eight grade. I was very shy, so I didn’t do much. I just wanted to know how to do weights. In the ninth grade, I started to get into more depth. In tenth grade when I joined football, I realized that I really like weightlifting. I also started using the football workouts at the gym once I quit going to work. I started seeing results, so I kept going.”

Every person has his own reasons for starting to physically train. Junior Joseph Alley seemed to be in the complete opposite situation than Alvarez. Alley said, “Always being small made me hit the gym. I’ve always been small, but seventh grade is when I started to realize I wanted to get bigger. My mom got me a trainer who put me on a strict workout plan. I showed up every day and worked out for an hour and a half while making sure my food was healthy. I would bench, do squats, pull tires and sleds, and almost anything you can think of, I’ve done it. I noted that my chest got bigger after a year. There were slight differences during the months, but after a year, there were major differences. In eighth grade, I was probably the biggest I’ve ever been.”

On the other hand, Junior Sam Ray began to exercise when he came to a realization that he wanted to be stronger. Ray said, “I think I started to exercise when I realized I couldn’t do a lot of the stuff others guys my age could do, and I was tired of being pushed around by my brother. I started working out in freshman year after I quit rugby because I wasn’t doing anything active.  When I started at the pull-up bar, I couldn’t do a single one, but now I can do 13. I also do push-ups and sit-ups as well as running. I just eat whatever I want, unless I haven’t done anything active that day so maybe I won’t eat ice cream that night, for example. I think being physically active helps because it releases endorphins in your head and makes you happy overall.”

Everyone’s plans to workout vary whether it’s from a trainer or one made up by oneself. Alvarez said, “On Mondays, I do upper body strength, barbell curls, back-rows. Tuesdays are for lower-body like deadlifts, squats, leg presses, leg extension, and calves. Wednesday is upper body hypertrophy, and Thursday is lower body hypertrophy. Friday is just push ups, pull ups, and sit ups. Saturday is agility and mobility, like ladder exercises.”

Exercise to many people becomes a lifestyle rather than a habit, but everyone’s view on fitness varies. Alvarez said, “Exercising is part of my life now. It secludes me from the world, and I just focus on me while listening to music. I really want to do my own thing in fitness, like open up my own gym. I want to open one by the beach, but what fitness really helped with is that I gained more confidence. At first, I didn’t see any results, but I saw this picture that said not to give up, so I didn’t. Slowly, I started seeing results.

“I just wanted something to do in my life,” said Alvarez. “Exercising makes you feel like you can do more things. You gain confidence and become excited to do new things. It makes you want to keep going because part of exercising is mentality. If you say you can’t do [something], you probably won’t be able to do it. For me, I have trouble with the barbell bench press when I try to lift heavy because it’s hard, but I keep going because strength comes from mentality.”

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