NAVIGATION

The Men’s Gym

Share

DC3TC3_2896773b

 

I recently spent a weekend at an Ivy League school. When headed to the gym, I was told that the gym I was to use is informally deemed the ‘men’s gym’. Of course, women are permitted in the gym, but all but a few women are found in another gym, the one with rows of treadmills and ellipticals. The gym I was to visit is where the dumbbells, Olympic platforms and other weight- lifting equipment lives. Indeed, in a fairly large space, there was one other female, on an Olympic platform practicing snatches, as I entered. The room was bustling with men.

 

Why is it that women, supposedly smart women, literally, walk pass the strength training gym on their way to the treadmills? Is it fear, intimidation, cultural programming? We’ve come so far but still have a ways to go. I was only four in 1972 when Title IX was made law. Things did not change overnight. No. It took a generation, my generation, before women’s sports were taken seriously, for the most part.

 

We sat on the sidelines. Gasp. In many ways, we still do. Certainly, within sports communities like running, Crossfit, LaCross, and others, women are active, legitimate participants. But, in the general population, women reach a certain age and often quit. Girls may quit in high school or college or when juggling the demands of work or children. (I know that men quit too).

 

Some of the lure of the cardio room has to do with the misnomer that the female body will bulk up by lifting weights and that cardio is superior for weight loss. And then there is the intimidation factor. I have talked with enough women that will readily admit they are too self-conscious to be in a men’s gym lifting weights. And, they perceive lifting as more hard work than dutifully logging time on machines. It is true. Body weight exercises, dumbbells, and lifting is challenging, but so worth it. I wish they knew.

 

In fact, it is addictive. Addictive in a healthy way – like water or air. Working hard when it is crazy difficult, pushing beyond the assumptions we have of ourselves, getting stronger, gifts us with confidence, fitness, and health that permeates our entire being. And, as an amazing bonus, getting lean from all that beautiful muscle burn occurs. Don’t get me wrong, I log many miles running on trails; I get my cardio. I enjoy the trails and the way my body feels while running. I added the strength component a little over a year ago. My regret: not doing it sooner! It has made me a better runner. I wish those women that walked past the men’s gym knew that, too.

 

I wish that women knew the freedom that comes though fitness. It is childlike, authentic, and raw. This is a way to ‘BE’. I am always reminding people to ‘just be’. By that, I mean to be yourself, let others be, accept situations as they are and most importantly, be present in the moment. In my view, fitness pursuits force the ‘just be’ precepts, at least temporarily. With practice and time, that extends and becomes part of life outside of fitness. I wish women knew that as well – for that is powerful.

 

As female athletes, regardless of status, elite or amateur, this is our function – to shine brightly, tell our stories, live our values, and show other women they CAN visit the ‘men’s gym’. Empowerment is not just a trendy word. It is our mission. Running races, competing, OCR’s, Crossfit, beckons some of us because we gain empowerment. But, the reality is that not enough ladies are with us!

Love & Light.

Melanie Blenis

About Melanie Blenis

Melanie Blenis has been a runner for about ten years. Prior to that, athletics were not part of her life experience. Four years ago, at 42, her son signed her up for her first trail race. She was hooked. Shortly, thereafter, Melanie completed her first Spartan, a Sprint in Atlanta, in 2011. It was life changing for Melanie and her entire family.
This entry was posted in Ambassadors. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to posts:


  •   Hyper Vest SXY and FIT from Hyperwear.com
  • Instagram

    • Before, during, during, and after. Hours of work, lessons learned, and more hours of work. Restoration Bungalow continues with one more room nearly finished. The moment I saw the house I was inspired to restore it back to its original beauty, one room at a time.  Tons of credit to Forest for all his hard work! Classic colors, furniture, and fixtures. Half the fun is the research and the rest is seeing the vision executed!! All that’s left is artwork and new bedding.
.
#classicbungalow #lovemyspace #bungalowstyle #bungalow
    • Quiet night in a quiet town living a quiet life.
    • Making a house... a home. Everyday I’m filled with gratitude.
.
#home #smalltownliving #bungalowstyle #classicbungalow #bungalow #lovemyspace #love
    • Seriously pinching myself while settling into my new home. Being able to walk out my backdoor into a canyon full of deer and jack rabbits, the dogs being able to run free the whole time, and quiet country life waiting when I get home. It’s hard to believe this is life.
.
2019 is off to a pretty good start! First day of work at my new job is Monday and spending these last couple days working away on the house and taking the dogs into the mountains behind our house.
.
#bestfingyear #newbeginnings #2019 #countrylife #smalltownliving
    • This year I got the ultimate gift, on Friday I was handed the keys 🔑 to my new house.
.
We spent the weekend starting to bring her back to her original 1920’s charm. Christmas we woke up in the  house, drank coffee, opened presents, and took a hike out the back door up into the canyon behind the house. I already love being back in a tiny town you’ve never heard of. People have stopped by, given us cookies, fudge, and chocolates. Heard stories of previous families who lived in the house and a few nuggets of the property history.
.
Beyond excited for the next chapter of life. It’s been a crazy last month and a half. A dream job came to me, bought a house, and now in the process of moving and bringing this little beauty back to life.
.
The lesson learned in the last couple months is - trust life has a plan for you - things happen for a reason - and life is full of good people.
    • Did you catch the recent podcast episode with @bemorewithless? We talk about living simply and loving life.
.
Because of the holiday this week’s episode will come out later in the week.
.
Happy Holidays All!!
    • Rebuilt in the 1599. Still in business today... I love the history of the UK 🇬🇧 and pub names... but mostly the pub names.
.
#britishpub #pub #england #travels #adventurer #stalbans #worldtraveler #travelhumor
    • Humbled, honored, and shocked. Thanks for this inaugural award from @mudstacle 
#ocr #obstacleracing  #shocked #honored
    • Have you checked out the latest episode of the podcast? Graham Roberts of @ispiremc talk about coaching, motivation, and having a winning mindset.
.
Graham should know - not only has he become an avid obstacle racer but he also helps the mental game of world champions and other professional athletes.
.
Find it on your favorite player! Temp link in bio
.
#mentalgame #mentalgamecoach #spartan #obstacleracing #spartanrace #podcast #levelup #ispiremc #headgamestrong

    Follow Me!