Student teaches women strength training in Birchard
It was leg day, and as the women rotated from station to station, encouragement was shared, laughs were heard and the sound of the clinking of metal filled Birchard’s weight room.
In the center of the chaos stands junior Megan Ralston, observing to make sure the workouts are being performed right and that no one needs any help. This is Tigress Training.
“It’s less pressure,” junior Rachel Elson said. Although she said she is not good at working out on her own, setting aside the time to go to Tigress Training each week is motivation for her. “[Ralston] teaches us what to do with the weights in an atmosphere where everyone is like you and is learning how to work out.”
“It’s a great self-image boost for them that they can come in and lift these weights.
It’s so empowering to see the results.” – Junior Megan Ralston
As an Exercise Science major, Ralston oversees Tigress Training to gain experience in the field. In high school, she ran cross-country and track and played basketball. For athletes in her high school, weight lifting replaced gym class. Senior year of high school, Ralston had the opportunity to compete in the Idaho state weight lifting championship in 2013.
“It gave me motivation to be in the health industry,” Ralston said.
And Tigress Training at Olivet gives women the motivation to strength train.
Ralston pushed for the use of Birchard gym over the Perry Center for sessions so women would be more open to be themselves and wouldn’t have to worry about fighting for the use of weights. As an employee on the third floor of the rec center, she would often observe women self-conscience about lifting. She thought it would be a good idea to get them out of the pressure of the weight room and teach them how to lift the right way.
Each session begins with a 10 to 15 minute warm up on the treadmill or elliptical before Ralston goes through each exercise to show the women what to do at each station. She focuses on exercises the women are comfortable with and will enjoy.
Ralston often doesn’t get the chance to lift any weights herself during the sessions because she is walking around teaching them how to do it right. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s, Ralston offers to work out with other women who aren’t available during Tigress Training, although these workouts take place in the Perry Center.
Junior Maddie Buseth, resident assistant in Williams, started attending Tigress Training a few weeks ago at the inspiration of her residents, freshman Kaylie Moritz and Libby Sherwood.
Buseth said that it is a good atmosphere because the exercises are set up when she arrives and she does not have finish an exercise wondering what she should do next because Ralston already has that mapped out for her – a reason junior Kari Sunnarborg appreciates Ralston’s coaching as well.
Ralston writes down what weight each woman lifts and keeps track of their improvement. “It’s a great self-image boost for them that they can come in and lift these weights. It’s so empowering to see the results,” she said.
It’s also a great way to meet people they could never have met otherwise and bring people in who they already know – like Brittany Sherwood has done.
Cousins with Moritz and Libby, Brittany invited her family and friends to Tigress Training because “we just needed to workout,” she said with a laugh as she glanced over at Moritz. “Everyone here is connected somehow,” Brittany said.
Tigress Training is at 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Ralston switches between arm and leg workouts, focusing on different muscle groups each session.