Webbies Use Weight Room Under COVID-19 Restrictions

Jasmine+Wan+%28%E2%80%9823%29+is+pedaling+on+a+stationary+bike+to+help+build+strength+in+her+lower+body.+As+she+exercises%2C+Jasmine+listens+to+music+to+boost+her+energy+and+motivation.+Around+her%2C+webbies+are+receiving+help+from+instructors+Dr.+Wendy+Maxon%2C+humanities+department+faculty%2C+and+Dr.+Brendan+Beikmann%2C+science+department+faculty.+%E2%80%9CBeing+in+functional+fitness+is+a+great+opportunity+for+me+to+take+a+break+from+schoolwork+and+become+more+toned%2C+Jasmine+said.+

Jovana Luna

Jasmine Wan (‘23) is pedaling on a stationary bike to help build strength in her lower body. As she exercises, Jasmine listens to music to boost her energy and motivation. Around her, webbies are receiving help from instructors Dr. Wendy Maxon, humanities department faculty, and Dr. Brendan Beikmann, science department faculty. “Being in functional fitness is a great opportunity for me to take a break from schoolwork and become more toned, “Jasmine said.

You enter the door on your left at the entrance of the gym. You no longer hear basketball sneakers sliding on the wooden floor. Instead, you hear white noise from several machines and steel bars hitting the floor. You see students lifting weights, running on treadmills, and Dr. Brendan Beikmann, science department faculty, spotting someone who is trying out a squat rack for the first time.

Although Webb made an excellent effort to make online schooling feel like we weren’t missing out, there were definitely some on-campus experiences that students looked forward to while at home. Now that we are finally back, members of the Webb community can once again engage in in-person activities, like working out in the weight room located in the Les Perry Gym.

Exercise is an important part of any person’s day; it improves both our physical strength and mental health.

“Physical movement is a good way for us to regulate and calm our systems and therefore make us feel more balanced,” said Melanie Bauman, Director of Counseling and Health Education. “If we aren’t exercising at all, it’s the equivalent of our brain getting the message that we are under attack, which may lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety because your unreleased energy isn’t going anywhere.”

Webb supports students to get the exercise they need, offering functional fitness as an afternoon activity and holding open-gym on the weekends.

In functional fitness, you have the opportunity to spend your afternoons in the weight room. The weight room is also available for all students and faculty members on Friday nights, as well as two other times every weekend.

During these times, you can explore and use a variety of equipment, from lat pulldowns to leg extensions. Whether you want to work your legs, arms, or core, there is always something for everybody.

The weight room is primarily managed by Dr. Beikmann and Dr. Wendy Maxon, humanities department faculty, who run functional fitness and help prevent injuries.

“We make sure everyone knows how to spot and we teach everyone how to use the equipment,” said Dr. Maxon. “If students haven’t used it before, we constantly monitor that their form is correct and usage of the equipment is correct.”

Despite its convenience, there are some drawbacks to using the weight room. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, students must wear masks while in the room and there is a 20-person maximum capacity. The equipment also needs to be regularly sanitized and wiped down.

On October 30th, the Medical Advisory Board raised the capacity limitation.

“The decision depended on the size of the room, ventilation/air flow, and also takes into account the guidance for gyms, fitness centers, and other businesses that offer indoor space for exercise that is published by the LA County Department of Public Health found here,” said Stephanie Baron, Director of the Health Center.

Despite the increase in people allowed in the weight room at once, Webb’s health and safety team feels that students can still practice social distancing within the given space. The high vaccination rate and consistent testing schedule within the community also allow some areas of restriction to be lightened.

Even with the new COVID cases found within the community, the team still has confidence in their ability to uphold a safe environment, and these cases have not affected the weight room in any way.
Unfortunately, students find that wearing a mask has restricted their physical movement.

“Wearing a mask is definitely not the ideal situation for working out,” Jasmine Wan (‘23) said. “When I lift, I use lighter weights and when I use the treadmill, I run slower.”

In order for masks to no longer be required in the weight room, there would need to be a significant decrease in COVID cases, as well as in hospitalization and death rates in Los Angeles County. Webb cannot make any changes to its current guidelines until the county specifically allows us to.
However, there is still a positive side to the restrictions that COVID has brought.

“The capacity limitation allows everyone to use more equipment and have a more flexible workout schedule,” Jasmine said.

In previous years, the weight room might have been more crowded, preventing everyone from being able to use the tool of their choice.

As soon as cases go down, Webb’s goal for the weight room is to adjust guidelines to make working out a more comfortable experience, as well as add additional time slots for open-gym opportunities.