By Charm Breaker, November 9 2018 —
On Sept. 11, Active Living began running women’s-only weight room hours for the fall semester. These take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 5–6 p.m. in KNA107.
The room offers various weight machines, mats and cardio bikes. Active Living manager of health and fitness programs Pamela Cox says that women’s-only fitness classes have been offered for several years. In January of 2018, the women’s-only weight-room hours were launched for the winter semester. Originally, the reserved times were from 7–9:45 p.m.
“We eventually shortened this to 7–8:30 p.m. as very few students, if any, were coming later than that,” Cox said. “We also offered a free session with one of our female personal trainers one evening. For several years we have offered women’s-only fitness classes. Originally this was in response to requests from [the] Students’ Union and our most recent survey shows that over 30 per cent of participants sign up specifically because they are women’s-only classes.”
Dinos rowing team member Anna Chaykovska likes the women’s-only hours.
“I do enjoy that it’s women only because it’s a lot quieter this way. And you don’t have to fight for equipment either,” she said.
Lack of promotion has been a problem for the program. Chaykovska said she had only ever seen posters in the locker room. Cox admits marketing has been a challenge. She said that when the program first started, the information was sent to Residence Services and promoted there. Posters were put up on the door of the women’s locker room, in the Fitness Centre and throughout the Kinesiology building. Though response was minimal at first, she says word has started to spread.
But having a women’s-only weight room is not without its challenges.
“The main obstacle is access,” said Cox. “The training studio is highly utilized with our varsity teams and other group training sessions. This term, our times were limited to Tuesday [and] Thursday from 5–6 p.m.”
The room is a little out of the way for people unfamiliar with the Kinesiology building. To get there, you have to go through the Fitness Centre and downstairs, or through a hidden stairwell in the locker room.
“KNA 017 is not ideal,” Cox said. “But is currently the only private weight room available. “It also has limited cardio equipment, which for many is the most popular component of a workout.”
Chaykovska, however, says she “really likes this room,” as do many other women looking for a private space to hit the weights. The women’s-only weight room creates a comfortable space for women to pursue healthy lifestyles.
In Jan. 2019, the women’s-only weight room returns to the original 7–8 p.m. time slot. Cox expressed her faith in the program.
“I am confident we will see increased numbers next term. Our amazing team of four student volunteers have been spreading the word,” she said. “If offering this gives even a handful of female members a more comfortable experience or helps them gain confidence in the gym setting, I would call it a success.”
The program runs weekly until Nov. 29, with the exception of reading week.