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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

From Gator to gym rat: weightlifting culture sweeps through SFSU

GatorStrong workshops allowed students to improve at bench and deadlift
Dan Hernandez
Billie King, a film student, prepares to deadlift during a GatorStrong weightlifting workshop in the gymnasium on Friday. (Dan Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Decked out in workout attire and ready to achieve some new personal records, the weightlifting community at San Francisco State University hit the weights instead of the textbooks.

The GatorStrong Strength & Conditioning Club teamed up with the Mashouf Wellness Center to organize two workshops aimed at helping students gear up for the Gator Gains Lift Fest, a weightlifting event at Mashouf.

The first workshop was held on Feb. 23 and the second was held on March 15. The main event is on April 6 on the second floor from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Nellie Escobar and Cara Shetzline of Mashouf reached out to Isaac Woldt, the president of GatorStrong, to set up this event.

“We wanted students to have a place to come and lift some heavy stuff,” Woldt said. “It’s a bench and deadlift event.”

The event provides an opportunity for students to hit their personal records on different exercises. There will be two sessions during the event, with 25 people in each one.

“They’ll do their bench and work up to their max,” Woldt said. “It’s three attempts, so they’ll start off with something that should be easiest, a second one that might be a little harder, and a third that will be the hardest.”

Woldt, Escobar, and Shetzline agreed to set up workshops for people to prepare with weightlifters at the same level. They hosted the first for beginners and the second for advanced weightlifters.
“This is a great way to kind of refine their techniques, as well as find their current personal record,” Escobar said. “They’ll have time in between to train and try to hit their next personal record at our main event.”

There was a lot of promotion involving Mashouf and GatorStrong to get the word out to students about the workshops. Escobar and Shetzline met with GatorStrong to figure out how to put on the events.

“It was really cool to [collaborate] with them because we’ve never collabed before,” Shetzline said.

GatorStrong is a club that was active at San Francisco State University before the COVID-19 pandemic and started back up again last semester.

“We primarily do powerlifting and Olympic weight lifting, but we just want it to be a space for people who want to lift weights,” Woldt said.

The Feb. 23 workshop had five participants and brought a lot of enjoyment for them.

“It was my first time trying the deadlift, and they taught me very well,” said Nayeong Lee, a workshop participant.

Although the workshop on March 15 only had two participants, this provided an opportunity for participants to concentrate more and receive more advice on their bench and deadlift.

“I’m getting some more pointers on [the] bench that have really helped my stability, and it’s fun to have a deadlift where I don’t feel like I’m gonna break my back in half,” said Billie King, another participant. “They’re very knowledgeable.”

King has been weightlifting for two years at either Mashouf or the gym at home in Alameda, initially starting for mental health reasons.

“It’s become almost like a meditative practice,” King said. “Let’s say I’m having a terrible day — I can just go lift weights and relieve all that stress.”

The creators of the workshop were also happy with how both of the workshops turned out.

“I like smaller groups because we have a lot more instruction, a lot more preparation,” Escobar said.

Instructors were impressed with participants’ abilities and look forward to seeing more improvement at the Lift Fest.

“We’ve had people come in that have not had experience with benching or barbells at all, and every one has exceeded their expectations,” Woldt said. “They’re really fast learners.”

Sign-ups are open to students of all weightlifting abilities at SFSU.

“The sign-up is looking a little thin right now, we don’t have a ton of people,” Woldt said. “We would love to be able to build that roster up.”

The Lift Fest costs $25 to participate in, and students must register online at the Campus Recreation Website and sign a liability waiver. Check-in is on the second floor of the Mashouf Wellness Center from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on April 6. There is currently room for 50 students.

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About the Contributors
Jake Knoeller
Jake Knoeller, Staff Reporter
Jake Knoeller (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in communications. He was born in Eureka, California and raised in Humboldt County. He currently lives in San Francisco. He previously worked for The Lumberjack, the student newspaper of Cal Poly Humboldt. During his free time, Jake enjoys playing or watching soccer, listening to music, and exploring neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Dan Hernandez
Dan Hernandez, Visuals Editor
Dan Hernandez (he/him) is the Visuals Editor for Golden Gate Xpress, majoring in journalism and minoring in business administration. He is an award-winning multimedia journalist, applying his skills in both news reporting and press photography. He got his start in journalism at 15 years old as a staff writer for The Advocate at Contra Costa College before becoming editor-in-chief as a high school senior. Outside of journalism, he is probably camping on a road trip, playing water polo, riding his bike or dancing at concerts. He also goes by the nickname “Biscuit.”

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    Neal WongApr 11, 2024 at 12:32 am

    Nice headline