Walking into a room full of beefed-up men, talking guy talk, performing bicep curls and bench presses, lifting weight you didn’t was humanly possible can be intimidating for many women. Luckily for me, the Athletic Centre offers “women-only” times in the Strength and Conditioning Centre (SCC). During these hours women can do their weight routine in private for one hour, each day of the week.
Because I know weight training is an essential part of improving overall fitness, I decided to take advantage of the Monday 12-1pm women-only session. There were about 15 women exercising. Although the gym is not nearly as full during women-only hours as it is during co-ed hours, based on the data I was able to access from a helpful SCC supervisor, there are 2-3 times more women in the SCC during women-only hours than during co-ed periods.
During my workout, I used dumbbells to do squats and chest-press, used the Bosu ball to do push-ups, and a medicine ball to do a few ab exercises. I also used the squat rack and bench press, equipment that I don’t often use during co-ed sessions because they are usually crowded by men or very athletic women.
The women in the gym during women-only hours were all exercising alone, keeping to themselves, listening to their music, using dumbbells much more than weight machines. This is quite a different atmosphere from co-ed sessions, where men seem to work-out in groups and help each other out with heavy free weights. Most women seemed to have a routine set for themselves, but the knowledgeable and friendly SCC staff were happy to help with any questions we had. The SCC also offers free orientation sessions to let newbies know how use the equipment in the weight room. This is a great option if you are a beginner or want to learn a new exercise.
As soon as the women-only time ended, about 20 anxious and buff-looking men flooded into the gym. Only a few women, including me, continued their workouts. During women-only hours, I felt very relaxed, and could occupy whatever space and use whatever equipment I wanted. Once the guys entered the room, I felt restricted from using certain equipment, like the bench press and the squat racks, that I had felt free to use during women-only hours. I definitely preferred working out in a women-only setting where I felt confident to try out whatever exercises I wanted to.
So naturally, I support the women-only SCC hours and intend to make use of them but, I can understand some men’s frustrations with the restricted use of the SCC. After my session, I chatted with some who said that it’s unfair that women can work out at any time of the day, while men are excluded during some peak hours when it would be more convenient for them to exercise. It’s tough to please everyone I guess and this debate isn’t one I can get too far into in a short blog post. But perhaps you, readers, can let me know what you think about women-only hours?
Regardless of the space I exercise in, I am trying hard motivate myself to get back into a weight routine to build up my strength. Having the option of working out during women-only hours makes me less afraid of stepping foot in the weight room, and will make developing a weight routine a little easier.
Tae Kwon Do Update:
Last week, I accidentally kicked the instructor where he would least want to be kicked. It was pretty embarrassing, but I guess, part of the experience of being a beginner!