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Girls gain confidence and empowerment through SDSU weightlifting club

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Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 08, 2023

SAN DIEGO, CA (KGTV) — Girl Gains is a weightlifting club founded at San Diego State in 2020 and has now grown to 50 college campuses across the country.

"We are basically here to promote female weightlifting in a judgment-free community," says SDSU Girl Gains President Malia Capen. "We want to give girls a safe and inclusive space, and provide them their resources to feel confident."

The weight room, and gym, can sometimes be a male-dominated workspace, but Girl Gains has made these girls feel like they belong.

"We want girls to feel empowered in the gym," says Girl Gains member Isabella Kunde. "Meaning like, 'yes I want to use this squat rack or yes I was in line for the bench press', it's having the confidence to do that."

Capen says Girl Gains at SDSU has about 800 members who are all on different fitness journeys

"Everyone has their different reasons for coming here. Whether it's a mental health journey or a physical journey, or to get the body that they want to feel confident again. Everyone is here for a different reason."

While Girls Gains is a weightlifting club, it's more than about building physical strength. The members say building inner strength is just as important.

"I had very low self-esteem and I wasn't at a really great place with myself," says Girl Gains member Ella Suchikul. "I started lifting and I immediately saw the effects it had on me mentally, emotionally, and physically."

Maddy Barangan says she sees a big improvement in herself.

"I feel like my self-confidence has gone up tremendously since lifting weights. I think I am able to lift a significant amount of weight for somebody that's four feet eleven inches tall, and so little."

Girl Gains offers more to these women than just lifting weights. The club offers bi-weekly meetings, they are treated to special guest speakers, and they hold bonding events. It's all about support and empowerment.

"I finally feel comfortable in this gym, says Capen. "The friends that you make here, the lessons that you learn, and the growth that you get, is going to stay with you forever."

Girl Gains is open to any women, you don't have to be an SDSU student