By, Kelly Cwik & Megan LaCreta, Asst. A&E Editor & Staff Writer
The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center is working with the Fitness Center to test out women-only gym hours. Last Monday, the LWGRC sent out a poll to gage student support in hopes of jump-starting the implementation of these hours.
Amanda Touse is a senior business analytics major, and an intern at the LWGRC. Touse first pitched the idea of women-only gym hours when she interviewed for the position last year, as a way to empower women on campus to be more active in the gym, particularly in the weight section.
“I know so many girls who are uncomfortable in the gym, and they don’t know what they’re doing so they don’t want to go work out,” said Touse. “Typically if its a weightlifting thing or the machines, there’s so many guys, and you can kind of feel like you’re being watched, and you don’t want to look stupid.”
Shawn, Ladda, EdD, chair of the kinesiology department and a member of the LWGRC advisory board, stressed the importance of a diverse exercise routine that targets all five components of health related fitness, which includes muscle strength, muscle endurance, cardiovascular endurance, body composition, and flexibility. She expressed hope that the new hours would lead to gym-goers of all genders adding some variety to their routines.
“I think if you know anyone going into the fitness center, I’ve made this observation for a lot of years and I’ve taught this to my wellness students, that more often you see women on the aerobics equipment when you walk in, and more often you see the men in the back, using a lot of the equipment,” said Ladda. “We need the women to go in the back and use the different strength training opportunities back there, not only the machines, but also free weights. And the men need to not just lift weights, they need to get themselves on the rowing machines, so that they also are contributing to the five components of health related fitness.”
Touse and the LWGRC brought the idea for women-only gym hours to the Fitness Center, and are currently working out a trial for the program.
“We’re probably going to do one or two days to test out some interest,” said Touse. “And then from there, hopefully, if it goes the way we want it to and there’s a lot of interest in it, it becomes a more permanent thing where it can happen every week, or hopefully a few times a week, just to make it a big thing that’s not just happening once a month, you know. It’s accessible.”
Accessibility is an important aspect of this program. Ashley Lawton, a junior political science and sociology double major and LWGRC intern, explained the importance of creating a place for women to be comfortable and able to express themselves.
“I think it’s important because you provide women with a space to work out and take care of their bodies and their minds and that’s obviously important no matter who you are, but for women, finding that space, and a safe space to do that can be particularly difficult,” Lawton said. “So I think that women-only gym hour will definitely provide that safe space.”
Similar to Lawton, Guadalupe Cabrera, a senior finance major believes that a women only gym hour will give women that comfortable space in which more women will participate.
“I think it’s important, because maybe a lot of women, like I said, feel intimidated and maybe they’ve been wanting to go to the gym but because of that specific feeling they’ve kind of been refraining,” Cabrera said. “So I feel like if we did have that hour, a lot more women would be taking advantage of it.”
The feedback for the program has been overwhelmingly positive. As of Friday, a poll sent out by the LWGRC showed that 98 percent of respondents were interested in women only gym hours.
Ladda applauded the program, as well as the positive response it received from the campus community.
“I don’t see anything negative about it,” said Ladda. “It’s really about being equitable, inclusive, providing an environment where individuals feel safe and they feel motivated to become stronger and healthier.”
For more information reach out to the LWGRC via their email, firstname.lastname@example.org