The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Clubs on campus: The Weightlifting Club, pumping iron and spirits

Thanos Barreas, the co-founder, spots the ICC representative, Ace Reyes, as he bench presses in the Pool Classroom Building on Wednesday, Oct. 25. (Joshua Flores | The Union)

The idea for the club came from two friends who just wanted a space at El Camino College to lift weights, discuss fitness and support one another. Then during the spring 2023 semester, the two friends, Thanos Barreas and Christian Garcia realized their goal by creating the ECC Weightlifting Club.

Co-founder of the club and kinesthesiology major Garcia, said he always wanted to try weightlifting but was anxious about how and where to start.

“The reason why I started this was because I wanted to make a more welcoming [environment] for people that were falling into the [same] category I did, where they would be anxious or nervous to start their fitness journey,” Garcia said.

The club offers students a designated space to lift weights, information about proper lifting techniques and connects members with people of all skill levels to help inspire one another to reach goals.

Previously, access to weightlifting equipment was only allowed to students enrolled in the weightlifting class or part of an athletics team. The general student body was restricted from access.

But as of last spring semester, members of the club who do not fall into any of those categories can now also use the college’s gym.

“The gyms are often locked to students,” Weightlifting Club co-founder and communications major Barreas said. “Any additional time we can give students to have access to weights and the gym, I want to get them as much access as possible.”

There are no prerequisites to join and the club offers everyone a space to lift, whether they’re new to weightlifting or experienced. Those versed in fitness have the opportunity to guide those starting their journey.

While there is no official way to apply for the club, membership is determined by consistency in attendance at meetings.

Garcia said that the biggest struggle when the club was starting was getting the required number of members.

“Getting the word out, advertising, and being taken seriously was difficult in the first semester, but in the second semester it’s easier,” Garcia said.

Last semester the club was not able to submit their budget application in time, which prevented them from making merchandise for the club. This semester applications were done on time.

Club members run the range in terms of experience, with many having nothing but praise for the club and the space.

Inter-Club Council representative for the Boxing and the Weightlifting Club and kinesiology major, Ace Reyes, said even though he has a personal gym at home, he loves going to the campus gym to work out with the members of the club.

“We get to train others who have never weight lifted or power lifted before and that’s our main goal, to inspire others, to help them achieve their goals,” Reyes said.

Club member and radiology technology major Robert Walden said that besides the equipment and the space, he likes the people in the club.

“I used to workout at my buddy’s place, I felt like being less of a burden working out here and meeting other people with the same interest,” he said.

The Weightlifting Club holds meetings in Room 200 of the Pool Classroom Building, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 1-2 p.m. The club is looking to extend meet hours from 3-4 p.m. in a lower level of the building. In order to do this the club needs to get a coach’s approval to do so, but this has yet to be approved.

Newly joined member Abiel Elias said the club has been welcoming.

“They’re very open and friendly with me, very straightforward, and I get a lot of encouragement,” he said.

The weightlifting club has an Instagram where members can learn about upcoming events and interact with fellow members.

This semester, The Union’s Arts Desk will have a short feature on various student clubs at El Camino College. “Clubs on Campus” is a series where club representatives and members will talk about what their club is about, how it got started, who the members are, what their activities for the semester are and how they plan to finance the activities.

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