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

    • Donna Cameron was always nice but realized being nice and being kind were two different things.
.
She started an experiment - a year of living kindly - and blogged about it along the way. She researched the science behind kindness as she experienced kindness in real life.
.
Her experiment led to a book deal and ultimately her book - A Year of Living Kindly - out next week.
.
She joined me on the podcast to talk about kindness - both giving and receiving it - and how we can truly change the world with the power of kindness for ourselves and others.
.
#kindnessmatters #podcast🎧 #gratitude #spreadingkindness #livinginkindness #womenauthors #kindnessismagic #kindnesschallenge #kindnesschangestheworld #womensvoices
    • It’s fall in the mountains! It’s hard to believe that wildfires are taking over more than 70,000 acres of wilderness and inching closer to homes about an hour from our house.
.
Lucky for me the wind changed direction making the air clean enough here for a morning trail run with my favorite running partners.
.
Can you spot one of our trail dogs?
.
#fallcolors #utahfall #millcreekcanyon #womenwhotrailrun #optoutside #utahisrad #trailrunningviews #weekdayrun #selfcare #trailtherapy #utahgram #womenrunstrong
    • New hidden gem in Salt Lake City... @elevatedfloat
.
A friend recently told me about this magical float, apothecary, massage, and overall rad place. Like walking back into VT in downtown SLC.
.
This place is one you have to see to believe. After driving by it for months (it’s right down the road from @meanmugspotteryco) I finally got to step in, take a float, and have a great conversation with the owner (who happens to be from VT) and some on tap Kombucha. Some might say stepping into the apothecary is like stepping into a hobbit house but for me it immediately felt like home.
.
I can’t wait to go back and so happy that @primal.love.warrior told me about this place and I was able to experience it.
.
I’ve floated before at other places and each float is illuminating. This float an interesting theme came up. I constantly had to remind myself I can take this time for myself, it’s not selfish, it’s nourishing, it’s self-care, and I deserve it.
.
Now I need to sit with why the feeling of guilt and not worthy of the time for myself completely came up.
.
It’s amazing what complete silence brings up. If you haven’t floated, I recommend it. If you find a magical place like @elevatedfloat 💯 go!!
.
#floattank #floattherapy #elevatedfloatcenterslc #slc #slchiddengems #smallbusiness #apothecary #feelingthevibe #findyourtribe #floattanklove #saltlakeisrad #selfcare #selfcarematters
    • Danielle and I met in Nicaragua both muddy, sleep deprived, and having the time of our lives at @thesurvivalrun working on the race.
.
It was only later I found out she was a world renowned Raw Food Chef who has a @tedx_official talk and has traveled and taught raw food around the world.
.
I invited her on the podcast to talk about her passion for food and her work. We recorded at the beginning of the summer and it’s been fun experimenting with some of her recipes this summer and adding more diversity into our diet.
.
While I’m not planning to go plant-based anytime soon it’s great to get a different perspective on food, some new tools in my food tool belt, and new ideas.
.
Even if you aren’t plant-based you might get inspired by a recipe or two @pachavega shares on this episode!
.
#podcast #rawfood #plantbased #pachavega #keeplearningkeepgrowing #womenpodcast #foodwisdom #rawfoodchef #rawfooddiet #rawfoodtraining
    • Mountain Adventure Journal: This summer a group of friends made a decision. We wanted to spend more time together, in nature, in the mountains, doing fun things.
⛰
Nearly weekly we have ventured to the Uintas for hiking, fishing, exploring, swimming, and good vitamin D and Community.
⛰
Yesterday was our most ambitious outing covering over 15 miles, hours of fishing, and high elevation.
⛰
Fueling for a 12-hour backcountry adventure was a little tastier with @drinkorgain Simple Bars. Clean, simple, plant-based bars with 12g of Organic Protein that helped me bounce back after a frustrating fishing line tangle.
⛰
As I jumped up and down (literally like a child in frustration) I remembered I hadn’t eaten in a while and took the moment, sat on a rock and enjoyed the scenery and a OrgainBar then went on to catch three more fish before running back to the car finishing the journey.
⛰
I’ll be picking up another box at orgain.com and using code RAISETHEBAR to save 30% before 9/30 to have a few bars to fuel some upcoming adventures (more on that soon)
⛰
#mountainadventures #fishinggirls #uintas #optoutside #womenwhohike #getpickywithyourpassion #drinkorgain #ambosimpbar #ambcollab #mountainwoman #backcountryfishing #nature_brilliance #outdoorwomen
    • Fancy is currently dreaming of her next adventure. After a weekend home she is already itching to be back in the mountains - running, fishing, cuddling, and chashing squirrels into trees.
⛰
She is ready to adventure, where are your favorite places to backpack with dogs?
🐕
#adventuredog #boardercollie #hikingdogsofinstagram #ruffwear #backpackingdog #dirtinyourskirt #backpackingutah #uintas #weekendadventures #reiproject1440 #campingdog #dogswhohike
    • Anne Champagne @annechampagne made @spartan history when she crossed the finish line at the Stoneham Ultra Beast. She outright won the race by over 45 minutes!
.
Only one other time since the series began in 2010 has a woman outright won a Spartan race. That was @fayestenning_ocr in Tuxedo, NY Spartan Sprint in 2016.
.
Anne sat down to talk about the race, training, her background, and goals for the rest of the season.
.
UPDATE: actually more than one time before has a woman outright won a Spartan Race the initial info I got from Spartan was wrong and @reakolbl actually outright won a couple events in 2017 in Hawaii and day 2 Tahoe Beast. My apologies and correction will be noted next episode on air :) Anne is still the first and only woman to outright win an Ultra Beast.
.
#podcast #ocr #spartanrace #spartan #inspiringwomen #obstacleracing #womenrunning #ultrabeast #obstacleracingwomen #northmanocr
    • Even though I don’t have kids and I’m not in school anymore this time always feels like the end of summer.
.
It’s always a time to think about the adventures and reflect. Time to clean some of the well worn and well loved summer gear before the one or two last big adventures and start to begin to pull out the fall/winter gear.
.
The theme of this summer has been recapturing and cultivating the love of just doing. Finding joy in the moment and just being in nature. It’s been about recapturing a love of trailrunning... this time with no goal, no race to train for, and no invisible dragon 🐉 I’m running after.
.
For the first time in forever I’ve been out fishing, hiking, and running for pure joy.
.
It’s been a huge summer of growth in that aspect. At the same time other parts of my life have been extremely challenging.. the yin and yang of it all.
.
But it’s fun to sit, reflect, and know some good miles have been run, yummy fish caught, and quality family time had.
.
#naturelovers #optoutside #getoutside #utahisrad #fisherwoman #hiking #backpacking #windetergent #findingadventure #adventurewomen #utahgram #uintas #fallreflections
    • The world can be so chaotic... nature reminds us of the simple and real complexities in this world. It’s so incredibly easy to get sucked into the latest dumpster fire online. Sometimes it feels like a sport.
.
Then you step away, step into nature, drive by it actually burning - living in the West - and you realize how insignificant our online world and online fueds are.
.
Instead I realize the things that really matter, the tactial things like catching a fish, petting my dog, stumbling on a trail, picking up trash, and the people who are around us everyday when we remember to put the phone down.
.
I love social media, I get to share a message, get to share my world, my work, and hopefully through that work help create a better version of myself and the world around me.
.
I interview incredible people who constantly remind me all the ways I can be a better person. A kinder person, and as one author wrote remind me to live for my eulogy not my resume. Weird sounding at first but living how I want to be remembered as a person not my accolades.
.
Time in nature is a reset and today I was grateful for the time IRL (in real life) instead of spiraled into a dumpster fire on social media.
.
#grateful #gratitude #natureheals

    Follow Me!