Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Girl Gains empowers women to feel strong, confident through weight lifting

courtesy of Noemi Rangel

Sitting on the lawn in front of the UT Tower, a group of girls string beads in an attempt to make bracelets ahead of a fall fundraiser for Texas Girl Gains, a new fitness club on campus. Entering its first official year at UT this semester, Texas Girl Gains (not to be confused with Gain Health) seeks to create a safe and supportive space for women and people of all gender identities in the weight room.

English sophomore Noemi Rangel and psychology sophomore Leslie Gonzales first learned about the national organization Girl Gains while scrolling on TikTok during their junior year of high school. Fast forward a year, Rangel and Gonzales committed to UT where they hoped they would find a Texas Girl Gains chapter. After learning UT didn’t have their own chapter, they decided they would make one themselves.

“We were starting to make one because nobody else did,” Rangel said. “We didn’t want to wait around for it to happen.”

Although this will mark their first semester as an official club, Texas Girl Gains started hosting events in March 2023, combining exercise with social bonding. At their first deadlift workshop, all the members warmed up together and then entered the weight room at Gregory Gym with Texas Gains member Rona Qawasmeh teaching them how to deadlift. Gonzales and Rangel said everyone at the workshop supported one another — an important pillar for the organization.

“The gyms here are really intimidating, (so it’s nice) to have a community of women to go with,” said Vanessa Medrano, a Plan II and informatics sophomore and director of events for Texas Girl Gains. “It’s helpful to have that hour where you put in all your effort and you get to see results afterwards.”

Rangel believes that by taking up space in the weight room, a traditionally intimidating environment, and gaining the confidence to lift, a person will grow confidence in other aspects of their life.

“The weight room is very representative of the real world. It’s full of big social normative people and you don’t really see anything different,” Rangel said. “If you get the confidence to take up that space and be competent. Then you’ll have confidence in other areas of your career.”

Texas Girl Gains originally launched with 40 people including officers, but now boasts over 100 members. 

“I hope (our members) feel confident in their ability to achieve their fitness goals and their goals in life,” Gonzales said. “I hope they feel comfortable in our org and they’re having fun.

Rangel and Gonzales said they hope Texas Girl Gains will expand and later meet with Girl Gains chapters across the country. In the long term, they aim to have future executives who can keep their mission statement alive. Aside from growing their organization, they hope members grow themselves, both physically and mentally.

“It’s making sure that everybody feels comfortable,” Gonzales said. “(We want to) make sure everything is inclusive, so that you feel like women can do what men do.”

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