(Graphic by Annya Dahmani)

Training together takes ‘work’ out of workout; students challenge, help, tease and encourage each other to get stronger

(Graphic by Annya Dahmani)

It’s all over the Internet: “fitspo,” “do it for Kim K,” “do it for the gains,” “just do it” and other expressions dedicated to the same thing: fitness and working out.

Students view these memes, motivational statements and videos, and some send them around to their friends to motivate, tease or inspire them to get moving.

Of 126 high-school students polled on Feb. 2, 79 said they work out. About a third said they exercise with school friends.

Freshman Nate Jakobs – who works out at Fitness System in Land Park along with his brother, junior Zane – was inspired by Youtuber Elliott Hulse.

“He’s a strength guru,” Nate said. “He knows so much (about weightlifting), and his goals really inspired me.”

The workout fever spread fast in the Jakobs family.

“I started a few months after (Nate),” Zane said. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted at first. But now I’m into bodybuilding, so for me (working out) is more about how I look, how big I can get.”

To accomplish their goals, the two make a monthly workout schedule.

Both have a cyclical routine divided into different splits.

Nate works to improve his strength by powerlifting in a five-day split.

On the first day of his rotating schedule, Nate works on bench presses and triceps. Then he works on squats, shoulder presses, shoulders and traps. The third day, his focus is bodybuilding through deadlifts, accessory exercises and back hypertrophy. Finally, he focuses on biceps and squats.

Zane’s workout routine is very similar except that he focuses primarily on bodybuilding by doing more shoulder presses, deadlifts and accessory exercises.

They have different goals, but they still inspire and encourage each other.

“Occasionally (we’ll) slam weights down or shout a little bit to get each other hyped for a big lift,” Nate said.

The brothers also yell gym slang terms at each other to keep themselves pumped.

And they work together physically with heavier lifting.

“We spot each other when heavier weights are involved, like in bench presses,” said Nate.

Nate also said that there is a bit of competition between the two.

But the competition between the brothers is slim compared to the bet between seniors Jag Lally and Serajh Esmail.

On Feb. 1, Lally and Esmail made a bet that would keep them moving until June 1.

They both have to work out three times a week, for at least an hour each session. Also, they have to register all the food they eat on My Fitness Pal, an app used among friends to share and update fitness goals.

If one of them skips a log or a workout session, he owes the other $50.

“If Jag texts me saying he’s feeling down and doesn’t want to go, I’ll say, ‘Don’t! Don’t go,’” Esmail said.

Lally is motivated by those friendly taunts from Esmail.

“I go anyways,” Lally said. “We both know that I don’t want to give (Esmail) $50.

“Losing’s a no-no, so we’ll work hard not to lose the bet.”

Seniors Brad Petchauer and Jacob Durante also rely on friendly competition and encouragement when they work out with Lally and Esmail.

“We give each other encouragement while working out and between breaks,” Petchauer said. “That leads itself to some funny inside jokes (between us).”

The four work out every week in Esmail’s garage.

Petchauer shares some of Esmail’s goals, namely to get bigger for sports (like basketball and soccer) by gaining muscle.

Not only does working out together give them needed encouragement, but according to Lally, it’s also safer.

“When you work out with friends, you spot for each other,” Lally said.

Lally added that friends can give each other needed advice to stay safe.

“When someone is seeing you from the outside, they can help you adjust your form so you won’t hurt yourself,” he said.

For Esmail, working out also reduces anxiety.

“Working out is an outlet for me,” Esmail said. “A stress reliever.”

But boys aren’t the only ones to work out in packs.

Junior Elizabeth Brownridge, who works out to get fitter and reduce stress, runs and goes to the Rio Del Oro gym with senior Jenny Kerbs.

“Working out is my getaway,” she said. “If I’m frustrated, I go to the gym, and work out the frustration.”

Brownridge and Kerbs start off by running a few miles on the treadmill. Then they row for 20 minutes on the rowing machine and go on the step machine on “fat burn mode.”

“I wanted to recreate the environment inside (ski team dry-land instructor) Carol Hockridge’s class,” Brownridge said. “So we do similar ab and arm exercises to there.”

Even so, she still sometimes needs encouragement from Kerbs.

“When planning on going to the gym, we’ll text each other and find a time that we both have free,” Brownridge said. “Once we find a time, (Kerbs) will come pick me up.”

And they sometimes reward themselves by going out to eat together after they’re done.

One of their favorite post-workout snacks is noodle bowls at Noodles and Company.

From food to phones to fitness to just having fun, the perks of working out with friends are evident.

Who says that going to the gym can’t be a team activity?

—By Chardonnay Needler

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