Published on Feb. 26 2020


Lifting Weights and Lifting Confidence

AHS counselor empowers and teaches girls to weightlift.

By Vivian Liu

Counselor Alexis Horn remembers the first weeks when she started to weight lift.


“[I felt] sore, very sore. I spent the first few weeks not being able to wash my hair because I couldn’t lift my arms,” Horn said.


Now, Horn works out five times a week with two rest days. She usually works out after work. Horn also joined a gym so she can workout whenever she wants.


As to how Horn started weightlifting, Horn explained that she went through a period of life where she felt the need to change. She tried out every exercise, and got a class pass so she could go to exercise classes in the Oakland area. However, she did not start lifting weights until she met her husband.


“Then I met my husband and he was weightlifting. We actually go to crossfit, and he said you should start lifting weights and I said ‘Hm, I guess so I’ll try that.’ And that was in 2013 and I ended up being pretty good at it so I kept doing it,” Horn said.


While weightlifting is one of the exercises that Horn does, her main sport is crossfit. Although, there is debate over whether crossfit is a sport, Horn does not believe crossfit to be a sport. Still, she thinks crossfit is highly effective for keeping in shape. Horn’s daily workout varies from day to day.


“[It] starts with a warmup and then one weightlifitng movement, one lift, and then a workout that lasts between 7 and 20 minutes depending on the day. Mix it up. Cross the weights, cross the works because it’s not just weight lifting. So the way it works is that every single day is different. So you never do the same thing twice in a row. Keeps it interesting too,” Horn said.


Although Horn works regularly, she does not have a specific goal in mind.


“For myself, my long-term goals are to get stronger and lift more weight every year. What do I hope to accomplish? Nothing. I don’t want to accomplish anything except being strong. My lifelong goal is to just be strong, to keep being able to do what I do. I’m not ever going to be strong enough to win in competitions. I’m never going to the Olympics,” Horn said.


Horn has been training the cross country girls team since the start of their season. After asking various sports teams, she was offered a spot with cross country. Besides training cross country girls, Horn wishes to extend her training to other girls. Ultimately, she wishes to increase the confidence in girls.


“Well my goal—my dream—is to create a girl’s weightlifting class that actually would cater for the goal of to get girls who can’t make teams, who don’t think they’re athletes, who don’t think they’re strong. So my goal is to get those girls. Who don’t know they are strong yet,” Horn said.


However, there is a stigma surrounding women and strength training. Unless a woman possess an immense amount of testosterone and desires to look muscular, women who weight lift will not become buff and unattractive.


“Lifting weights isn’t going to make you look ridiculously large like a man. It can...but unless you get super duper into it then you’re just going to look amazing, you’re not going to look overly muscular. Some people think that looks great,” Horn said.


As for advice, Horn encourages everyone to weightlift because she believes everyone can learn how.


“Start weightlifting. Everybody can do it. The cool thing about weightlifting is that it’s scalable to everybody. If you play basketball you have to get the stupid thing into the hoop. Its a specific skill, and weightlifting, like everybody can learn how to do it. It just takes practice. And you can go lighter. You can go as light as no weight at all and just do the movements but everybody can weightlift. Which is why it’s so cool. Its accessible to every single person, young and old.” •

Photo | Nanda Bean