Junior fitness guru “lifts” the community with his knowledge


Charlie Sagner

Jordan Maggin smiles as he lifts during lifting club on Tuesday afternoon.

By Lincoln Polan

As the Air King fans whir in the background of the weight room, junior Jordan Maggin holds a 90-pound dumbbell in his hand. Curling the weight with ease, Maggin sets the scene dramatically: “Welcome to Whitman lifting club!”

Maggin started the weightlifting club to spread his knowledge about fitness and powerlifting to other Whitman students and to “build a lifting community,” he said. 

At the end of his freshman year, Maggin was only 140 pounds. He said he felt unhealthy and wasn’t happy with himself. Since then, he’s undergone a complete physical transformation, largely due to weightlifting. Now, he tips the scale at 185 pounds.

“I feel so much better, much healthier and more confident than I did before,” he said.

But his transformation didn’t just happen overnight. Before Maggin incorporated fitness into his daily life, he watched TV for about 8 hours a day and constantly played video games on his Xbox. His diet consisted of waffles with syrup for breakfast, Nutella and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and “almost nothing” for dinner, he said.

When Maggin took up weightlifting, his lifestyle completely shifted. He now has a rigorous workout schedule, lifting up to 5 times a week for up to two hours per day with a variety of exercises including bench presses, shoulder presses, squats and more. He decided to put his newfound abilities to the test — he’s currently training for a February powerlifting competition in Gaithersburg. 

“[Training] has been hard, but I know that if I put in the work, it’ll be worth it,” he said. 

Not only did Maggin alter his daily routine, but he also reconstructed his diet because “you need to eat good to feel good,” he said. He established regular meal times, as well as a set number of meals, calories and macromolecules. He now consumes about 2800 calories per day of “much healthier food,” and he can “feel the results every day,” he said.

After a year of research and training, Maggin determined that he could profit from his newfound knowledge. He decided to create workout plans — detailed and personalized pamphlets — which he sells to Whitman students who ask him for fitness advice. Maggin found that he would often give away his valuable knowledge for free, so he figured he could “capitalize on helping them,” he said.

Maggin’s commitment to fitness and the amount of hard work that went into his transformation is impressive, junior Sam Solomon said. Solomon, who bought a workout plan from Maggin, gave it a rave review. 

“I wanted to go to the gym and get more fit, but I didn’t really know how,” he said. “Jordan was very knowledgeable about lifting; he was the perfect guy to ask and he made me a very thorough plan.” 

Solomon has also worked out with Maggin on multiple occasions, a few times in the lifting club and around five times at Maggin’s personal gym at home. He described their recent strength workout as an “epic” experience. 

“It was so great working out with Jordan,” Solomon said. “His motivation is contagious, and it keeps me going.”

After making some extra cash from selling workout plans, Maggin decided to provide his expertise without charge, so he created the Whitman lifting club. 

“After making the workout plans, all my friends came up to me for tips,” Maggin said. “I really enjoyed helping other people, so I figured I’d start a club where everyone can share this great sport and activity.” 

So far, students applaud the club for its strong sense of community and positive learning environment. It’s also a convenient way to exercise without a gym membership, various members said. 

Senior Anya Lamm, one of the few girls in lifting club, feels the same way. Lamm, a dedicated martial artist, said that attending lifting club “adds a lot more force” to her punches and kicks. She also praised Maggin in his role as the club’s student leader, calling him “freaking awesome.” 

“I was really expecting it to be a club lead by a teacher, but Maggin’s going around giving all of us advice and checking our forms,” she said. “He’s the teacher of this club.”

Lifting club sponsor Omari James has his own unique relationship with fitness. In 2015, James’ doctor told him that with his severe asthma comes a very low life expectancy and that he had the lungs of “an 80-year-old man.” James started exercising immediately after, quickly developing a “very strong passion” for Olympic weightlifting competitions. James complemented Maggin’s character and commitment to fitness after seeing his passion for weightlifting.

“Jordan Maggin is one of the most talented, but genuine people that I’ve met at this school,” he said. “His passion for fitness is certainly apparent.”

While James and club members notice and admire Maggin’s enthusiasm, what’s most important is what he himself has noticed since he started — a heightened sense of self-improvement, he said. 

“Weightlifting changed my life,” Maggin said. “It’s been a great way for me to improve myself mentally and physically, and I wanted to share that with everyone at school.”