Girl Gains, a new organization on campus, is an all-inclusive space for students to reach their fitness goals while promoting body positivity in a supportive community.
President and founder of Girl Gains and a senior studying health administration, Cecelia Allen, said what makes her club different than other gym organizations is it promotes a positive, judge-free environment for women and gender-nonconforming students without charging membership fees.
“It’s our mission to create an inclusive environment for women who want to work out and learn more about how to get active and stay active,” Allen said. “Although our name is Girl Gains, our organization does not exclude those who are not gender-conforming. Meaning if you’re non-binary, gender fluid, etc. This is still a safe space for you.”
Girl Gains originally began at San Diego State University but has chapters nationwide.
Allen was inspired to start her own chapter last year after seeing a TikTok post by Girl Gain’s founder and chief officer, Elisabeth Bradley, calling on all universities to join the movement. She soon recognized a need for women who want to be included in a fitness-like realm.
The founder said in another TikTok post she originally started Girl Gains because many women who want to start their fitness journey lack the confidence and knowledge and are intimidated to enter a male-dominated space.
“We emphasize come-as-you-are,”Allen said. “So, you could be somebody who’s never picked up a barbell in their life or someone who’s been doing this for about eight years as I have, and we want to cultivate a safe space for you, too, regardless of that background.”
One unique aspect of Girl Gains is their buddy-point system. The system allows members to compete in paired workouts and gain rewards for their involvement. At the end of each semester, the two members with the highest points earned can win prizes like gift cards or team merchandise.
“Your points are like a representation of the number of hours and how dedicated you are to the organization,” said public health major and fall 2022 points winner Kirstin Parks.
Members agree Girl Gains is a safe community that has positively impacted their fitness journey and social life. Still, all concur that extra funding would only benefit the cause further, said senior hotel restaurant management major Andrea Tijerina.
“Funding limits us in terms of what we can do and where we can go,” Tijerina said. “We do take pride in not charging a fee for people to join because we want it to be an inclusive space where you don’t need money to join, but funding definitely limits us.”
The organization holds educational seminars with special guest speakers twice each month and schedules at least two fun activities aside from exercising. They also schedule weekly group workouts with team leaders.