Workouts are gender neutral

Girls go to the gym for one of three reasons: to meet guys, to stare at them from an optimal viewpoint on the cardio machines, or to actually workout. Many of those in the third category attend the Wellness Center’s exercise classes.

For attendees of these group exercise classes, a collection of the same sweaty faces becomes a constant in one’s life. But the appearance of college-aged guys in these workout classes is a rarity. Would this imply that workout classes are considered too “girly?”

I have been regularly attending, and now even teaching, classes at the Wellness Center for more than two years. In all of my visits to one of the toughest classes, high-intensity interval training, I had never seen a guy – until one brave soul appeared a few weeks ago.

He never would have gone without the persuasion of his girlfriend, who regularly takes the class. Now, ex-football player Eric Akre says that it is the best class that the Wellness Center offers.

“It trains your body to help lose fat and gain muscle, which is what most guys want to do,” he said. At the conclusion of the workout, he was lying in a puddle of sweat like the rest of us.

While many girls who are first-time attendees are hesitant about the difficulty of the classes, it seems like guys have the opposite view. They think classes will be too easy.

Senior Christopher Vail, for example, said he prefers using the machines because he has been working out for six years and thinks the classes are good for beginners.

But classes can provide students with tons of workout buddies who can be taken advantage of either as comrades or competition.

There are, in fact, cases where guys workout in group settings, whether they realize it or not. In the boxing club, males greatly outnumber females. But there is still guided instruction similar to workout classes.

Group exercise classes are a valuable resource for students of both genders looking to improve their strength and overall health. There is no need to wait for machines, and these classes provide the often-necessary motivation from an instructor. Sometimes you just need someone to yell at you.


Alyssa Jacobson is a junior majoring in advertising and political science.