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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

By: Casey Glickman

Walking into the weight room of the gym can be intimidating for some especially when everyone seems to have their routine down to a science. Frequent gym-goers hype each other up, shouting at their friends to get in another rep. People take turns flexing in front of the mirror. Everything is fast, sweaty and loud. For anyone with little experience in the gym, entering this world can feel overwhelming. 

On top of that, the weight room is populated almost entirely by men, which makes it a complete turn-off for many women. This environment can immediately feel isolating and makes it difficult for women to create a sense of community in the gym. This is where Girl Gains steps in. 

Girl Gains is a national organization that helps to combat these issues by creating a space for female weight lifting. As mentioned on their website, Girl Gains’ mission is to, “empower women to feel strong and beautiful in a judgment-free community.” The organization has created an inspirational workout community for young women and a space to promote body positivity. They have nearly 100 chapters across college campuses around the country, including one at the University of Maryland. 

Heather Gross, a junior criminology and psychology double major, started a Girl Gains chapter at UMD in 2022 when she noticed that there was not a large female presence in the gym. 

“You could feel like an outlier or you don’t necessarily fit in with the rest of the people that are there,” Gross said. 

Gross felt that the UMD gym scene was missing that sense of community and was inspired to bring a Girl Gains club to campus. The club now works to get more girls involved with lifting while also creating a network of connections so women can continue to support each other in the gym. 

As Gross explains it, she wanted to create, “a community where we could all learn from each other and become friends.”

The club typically hosts two events and two meetings each month, with opportunities to listen to guest speakers, participate in group lifts, and attend community-building activities. 

If you are thinking about adding the weight room to your schedule but are feeling uncomfortable about it, you are not alone Girl Gains is a great way to get connected and meet people. To get involved, follow @girlgainsumd on Instagram and start showing up to their events!