As college students, we are greatly in need of ways to de-stress as we strive for better mental health. Although this is something that is not prioritized enough, a variety of students here at Stanislaus State are lifting away their problems at the gym.

According to sources from Healthline, “Exercise offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out.” Exercise can not only help with one’s physical state, it also enhances one's mental state. Rosemary Escrito (senior, Psychology) speaks about powerlifting as her outlet, “Motivation and dedication. Mental fortitude. This sport will fail you day after day if you do not have the right mind.” 

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Rosemary Escrito at a Powerlifting Meet at Stanislaus County Open. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Ouk) 

Powerlifting is a sport that tests your mind and body.  Escrito says, “You are squatting, deadlifting, benching hundreds of pounds, which can literally hurt you physically. I’ve hurt myself three times back-to-back last year. But because I really loved the sport and had a goal, I never stopped recovering and getting back into it. I fixed up my form, because that's how I hurt myself, and my numbers for each lift kept getting bigger and I got stronger.”

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Rosemary Escrito prepares for another lift. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Ouk) 

 In addition to being a sport that enhances one’s mental and physical state, powerlifting can also make people see the changes they strive for in their body. Alyssa Bonta (senior, Accounting) says, “I’ve struggled with body dysmorphia my whole life and had an unhealthy relationship with food, and it [powerlifting] has definitely helped me maintain a healthier relationship towards my body and what I put into it.”

Powerlifting can also provide opportunities for one's social life. Bonta says, “I have made so many new friends that are nothing but supportive... we all want each other to be successful and hit that next big PR. It has also taught me that when I think I can’t do something, think again, because that weight you thought you would never be able to lift, you will be able to one day. It has given me a new kind of mental toughness.”

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Gene Dinh Squatting 375 pounds for a Top Single. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Ouk)

Gene Dinh (junior, Kinesiology and Pre-Nursing) says, “Powerlifting acts as a physical way to progress myself. In times of stress within school, being able to progress in things such as strength acts as a “mini win”. This, in time, accumulates to a better version of myself both physically and mentally.”

 Through trials and tribulations, these powerlifters have found love in their sport. Dinh says, “The more consistent I was, the faster I fell in love with it.”

 Achieving the mental and physical strength demonstrated by these students is only possible through hard work and mental toughness.

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