Introducing The Barbell Club

By RikkiLynn Shields, Editor

After a year of meetings and planning, it’s finally here. Senior Mike Adesso and junior Nicholas Sparks decided to bring their passion for hitting the gym, lifting weights, and promoting a healthy lifestyle here to Manhattan College by introducing Manhattan’s first ever Barbell Club. The club isn’t what it sounds like– experienced, exercise enthusiasts taking over the weight section of the gym– this club is much, much more.

Sparks began lifting when he was sixteen, he recalls, right before he got his license, because how could he forget having to find a ride to the gym?

“It really took off for me once I started noticing the small day-to-day changes in the mirror– that was a really big thing for me. It kept me excited about working out and made me want to keep going back to the gym, and keep bettering myself to see how far I could push myself.” Sparks said.

Adesso became serious about the gym his freshman year. Beginning with a personal trainer three times a week, he carried the momentum along with him to his first semester here at Manhattan.

“After a year at Manhattan, I switched from Chemical Engineering to Exercise Science. It  was definitely something relevant in my life early on, and has been since; career choice wise, hobbies, and just something I like to do day-to-day.” Adesso said.

Working in the fitness center and having an obvious love and passion for a healthy lifestyle, the creation of the Barbell Club isn’t simply to find others to workout with.

“Nick and I share a common enjoyment and love for what we do at the gym, and it’s something we’d like to share with other people. It’s clear that the gym to many people can be intimidating, and many people stray away from it because they’re not comfortable in it, and it’s definitely a big  step for a lot of people to come to the gym even thought it shouldn’t be. We’re here to facilitate that enjoyment for other people and break those barriers, get people in, get people feeling comfortable with the people, the equipment, the exercises, and hopefully put people on the same path so they can also get some enjoyment out of working out.” Adesso said.

This club isn’t your ordinary fitness club. Along with organizing workouts, the two plan to hold workshops, create a point-system for members, implement a mentor program, and much much more.

“We have a point system established, so people can’t just show up when they feel like it, or come to the events that cost us money and utilize our recourses for one time– they have to reach a certain amount of points to gain membership in the club, and then theres another set of points for each semester after that for them to maintain their membership, which will be less than the initial amount. We want people to consistently be showing up and be an active part of the club.” Sparks said.

While meeting times are still unsure, Adesso and Sparks plan to set dates and times after getting input from others at the first meeting.

“We plan to meet every other week. However, if we have more things to do, we’d love to have more meetings. We’ll be having guest speakers, exercise workshops in the gym to have a hands-on learning experience. We’re also planning on setting up a mentorship program, where a younger or less experienced member can team up with someone who has more experience, and more to share. We’ll have some peer learning sessions to share information and experience.” Adesso said.

For anyone wondering if this is the club for them, Sparks has the motivational attitude to get you wanting to join!

“A lot of people are afraid of what they don’t know, especially people who don’t work out at all or regularly– they’re going to be afraid to go to the gym and be surrounded by people who have been doing it for a long time. And, they may be more concerned about where they want to be, and they don’t realize how long it actually takes to get there. When I walk in gyms, I see guys doing crazy things that I hope to be doing one day, and those are long-term goals. For some people, they come in, see that, and think it happens over night. You have to put the time in– be patient and consistent.” Sparks said.

If you’re interested in attending the first official meeting on September 19th, Adesso and Sparks are ready to welcome anyone and everyone with the slightest interest in fitness with open arms.

“Anyone is welcome to our first meeting next week, whether you’ve shown interest at the activities fair, attended meetings last year, or not. At the end of the first meeting, we’ll tell everyone what our plan is for the semester, and we’re gonna come up with some ideas and have everyone vote for what they’d like to see. And if they have any of their own ideas, we’re open to suggestions!” Sparks said.

Adesso and Sparks both added that the club would not be possible without the help of Chris Policastro, the director of the Fitness Center, and Braily Bernaber, the graduate assistant at the Fitness center.

The first meeting is Tuesday, September 19th at 3:30 pm in Kelly Commons 5C. Adesso and Sparks are ecstatic, and hope to see you there!