Health over physique mentality motivates students to workout


Used with permission of Ibrahim Sayed.

Lifting dumbbells to work on his bicep curl form, junior Karim Sayed finishes his workout routine at Planet Fitness on April 20.

Kimmy Tran, Staff writer

Achieving that “hot summer bod” is a big goal for certain students as the weather is getting warmer. Many students attempt this goal by working out. However, lifting a couple weights, doing a few pull ups or going for a jog doesn’t just improve the physique, it also helps manage blood flow, reduce heart disease and improves mental and learning skills, according to Medline Plus.

“Magazines have a lot of photoshop, so people should understand their bodies are not realistic,” junior Sofia O’Darzio said. “Working out to be healthier is better in the long run, rather than trying to achieve a certain look.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity yields much more benefits than just physique. Physical activity helps aspects of health including the brain, body and mind. Exercising can help improve muscle strength, boost endurance and increase lifespan. Exercise helps with mental health as well. Heath Direct has stated that exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that promote better moods and decrease stress.

In the Chantilly area, there are many gyms available for students, including Golds Gym, Planet Fitness, Orange Theory Fitness and LifeTime. 

“Make sure you explore training programs and diets and never compare yourself to others; instead, focus on yourself,” junior Karim Sayed said.

The gym can be overwhelming at first. However, for some students, bringing a companion along makes the experience more exciting.

“Going with a gym buddy motivates me because we can both help each other and it’s nice to go with someone rather than being alone,” O’Darzio said.

Paying for a gym membership and equipment can be expensive. According to the Global Wellness Institute, consumers in the U.S. spend around $265 billion on physical activity. However, incorporating physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean spending any additional money. For many people, it is easier to work with what they can at home. Ted Vicky, a Health and Fitness Personal Trainer from Ace Fitness, recommends simple, at home workouts like push-ups, crunches, squat jumps and many more. 

“I prefer working out at home because it’s more convenient for me and I can fit a little each day. Some students change their goals from looking skinner to prioritizing  feeling healthier.

“Growing up, I was always an overweight kid,” Sayed said. “I began working out to reduce weight, but once I realized how much muscle mass I was gaining, I was inspired to attempt to gain strength rather than lose weight.”