New club provides information on nutritional and physical health for students


Graphic by Eliza Brown

The Weightlifting Club helps to educate students at the high school about safety in the gym as well as nutrition.

What does “physical fitness” really mean?

For juniors Jad Kassir and Kasra Varasteh, fitness is not just how much time they put in at the gym but the consistency of their workouts, their nutrition and their recovery. Kassir and Varasteh started the Weightlifting Club to spread their knowledge about physical fitness with other students.

Both began weightlifting at the beginning of high school and quickly developed a strong interest. Kassir said weightlifting is a great hobby because it keeps him in shape, helps improve his performance in sports and is simultaneously therapeutic.

After working with various personal trainers and doing outside research in order to learn more about how to maximize their results, the two became extremely knowledgeable.

“Gradually, as I saw improvements and people started seeing me in the gym, people who I didn’t really know would come up to me and ask me things like, ‘What should I do for this?’ or, ‘What do you recommend for this muscle group?’” Kassir said.

After realizing there was opportunity to teach many of their peers by sharing their acquired knowledge, Varasteh and Kassir joined together to start the Weightlifting Club, one of the school’s newest clubs.

“We noticed that there’s a lack of knowledge and education in this area because physical education class or the gym classes in high school don’t really do an adequate job if you’re actually serious about lifting, and they don’t really go into nutrition or serious athletics,” Kassir said.

Kassir, a track runner who also plays football and soccer, and Varasteh, an avid rower, teach club members about the correlation between strength and athletic performance.

“We want to help people improve their times in sports, not just bodybuilding,” Varasteh said.

Currently, there are five sports represented within the club: swimming, football, track, soccer and crew. The boys hope to expand to include a greater variety of athletes.

For senior Abby Manuel, who runs cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, the club has allowed her to get stronger while the gym at the high school is closed.

“It’s stuff you can do at home, and though I do work out at home, I wanted more. It’s been kind of hard to figure things out on my own, and I think it’s been really helpful,” Manuel said.

Aside from the specific weightlifting portion of the club, Varasteh and Kassir also give lessons on nutrition and the more technical elements of exercise.

“We want people to know what to fuel their body with in order to get the best results,” Varasteh said.

Manuel said she has learned to strengthen all her main muscle groups as opposed to only her legs for running.

“They were saying for running, people don’t think that your arms need to be strong, but working your entire body is more beneficial instead of just working out your legs,” Manuel said.
“Your arms are just as important as your legs and you could get injured if you’re only working out one part of your body.”

Due to COVID-19, the club is meeting strictly over Zoom for information sessions and to distribute workouts. As normalcy returns, both Kassir and Varasteh hope to expand the club to also include in-person workouts.

The club utilizes social media with their Instagram page @ bhs_lifting to spread their lessons to students who are not in attendance at their meetings and to increase their outreach and attract new members to the club.

Varasteh hopes that students know that the club is for anyone and that the goals of the club include students of all levels of experience.

“We just hope to help people who have never lifted before learn the basics,” Varasteh said. “Help people struggling with their own self-image gain more confidence and help people who are lifting or doing a sport and give them the opportunity to excel.”