SDSU Girl Gains empowers women to lift and work out with more confidence


Photo courtesy of SDSU Girl Gains

With the help of SDSU Girl Gains, many women on campus have found safety and a community at the Aztec Recreation Center (ARC), growing the club’s membership to over 100 members who lift weights regularly.

by Cristina Lombardo, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

San Diego State has a brand new gym and clubs like SDSU Girl Gains are taking advantage of it. 

SDSU Girl Gains is a group that emphasizes weight lifting among women and empowering them to feel more comfortable while working out. SDSU Girl Gains was the first ‘girl gains’ chapter at a university. 

When it started in December 2020, it was still considered an unofficial club. They became official in spring 2021 and had to deal with the hurdles of Zoom. Now, being back in person opens up a lot more possibilities for the group to expand their horizons, says SDSU Girl Gains President Karina Glaze. 

“Fall was our first semester in person. So, it’s a really nice transition. I really like being in person, it’s so much better,” Glaze said. “You get to communicate with your members more and connect with them on a personal level.” 

Since the group started, they currently have over 100 members. The group is meant to be accessible to those who would like to work out without any financial barriers as they don’t require fees or dues. 

There are plenty of events Girl Gains hosts for members all throughout the semester which can be found on their Instagram page @sdsugirlgains

Even though Girl Gains focuses on weight lifting, they offer a variety of events that express other areas of fitness like kickboxing, yoga and hiking. 

With all the events Girl Gains holds during the semester, second year biology major Liliana Torres said it makes her feel more connected to SDSU.  

“My favorite thing about Girl Gains is having the opportunity to go and do these random activities and cool and fun active events and meet random girls each time…” Torres said. “Now, I see them on campus, we’re all trying to go to the gym together and now it’s made campus feel smaller because, you know, so many different girls involved in so many different things.” 

Many members at SDSU consider Girl Gains a safe community to interact with one another all while being empowered.

Third year international business major Lianne-June So said even though this semester is her first semester getting involved, she saw many people post about it in the past. 

“There are a lot of sport teams, and clubs but there hasn’t been anything like that [SDSU Girl Gains]. Like, female weight lifting organizations. So, it’s really cool.” So said.

Girl Gains have opened up many opportunities for women to feel more comfortable in the gym, So said. She also said if you looked back five to 10 years ago, all you would see in terms of fitness were “macho” men dominating the fitness scene. But now, more and more women are integrating onto the scene. 

“Because of that history, and in terms of the fitness world, it takes more for women to get comfortable being in that environment. It’s a huge barrier of intimidation in the beginning,” So said. “Maybe it’s not the same for everybody but especially for me I was like shaking my legs going into the arc for the first time.” 

Girl Gains wants women to feel confident when working out by addressing their struggles in the gym and by giving a supporting hand. Glaze said it is different from other lifting groups on campus because it provides a safe space for girls to communicate with one another.

They even hold meetings where members can submit anonymous testimonials about their mental health. Plenty of members discussed anxiety, depression, loneliness and how gains have helped them through difficult times and feel more confident about themselves. 

“I feel strong, I feel great. It did take a lot of practice. It’s really not in terms of being comfortable in the gym, it’s not really about how you look or strength. It really is a mental thing most importantly once you get more confident and become stronger in terms of your mentality, everything after that becomes so much easier,…” So said. “I’ve just been seeing things in a better light, just because it affects me and my mind and body. So, I’m really thankful that I was able to go through that with Girl Gains.”