When I walked into the fitness center a few weeks ago, I counted 18 people inside. Of these 18 people, only 4 were girls. Every time I visit the Tiger Center after school, there are more males than females working out. Furthermore, use of the weightlifting machines is heavily dominated by males.
Even when girls are using the fitness center, they tend to use the treadmill or bikes and take their mats outside to work on some abs, rather than using the shoulder press for example.
Stefanie M. (12), a user of weightlifting machines for at least three times a week, says “Typically, girls who aren’t athletes tend to shy away from the weights, instead favouring the cardio machines or body-weight exercises on mats outside the gym. For me personally, I would love to see more girls… be completely unafraid of the heavier weights and getting ‘bulky’.” Vincent C. (12), agrees with this and says “There is a common misconception that girls shouldn’t workout because they will get too bulky. However, the truth is that girls do not produce enough testosterone to become bulky. Girls shouldn’t be afraid to lift weights because it is beneficial in a lot of ways: off-season training for sports, improve their physique, or increasing their strength.”
However, lifting weights can also benefit those not looking to get stronger or train for a specific sport. Bella K. (10), a sophomore that goes to the gym at least 3 times a week, works out to improve her mental health.
She says “Working out pushes your limits and helps you reach new heights. It made me feel more confident as a person. I wanted to become stronger and it made me feel more confident as a person…a large role in getting into lifting was reading comic books as a kid and seeing strong powerful women that were inspiring to me.”
Also a frequent visitor of the fitness center during offseason, touch rugby player Chloe C. (10) says, “Girls should work out more because it increases their self confidence and makes them think more positively.”
Chloe and Bella are not the only girls at the gym who have reaped these benefits. Nicole H. (12), says lifting helps her relax and release stress, while Angela W. (12) believes “it’s a nice way to let out stress and get your summer body ready.”
Stress in highschool is common, and students look towards the Tiger Center to help minimize this. However, only working on cardio and abs may have negative impacts as well.
TAS Athletics Trainer, Ms. Amber Hardy says, “A lot of people will come in here and just run all day, but it is important to do strength training and flexibility as well.” Ms. Hardy believes the reason that girls don’t use the machinery as much is that “they don’t know how to use them and are intimidated by them.” She says, “being unaware of how to use the equipment” is most likely the reason the girl to boy ratio is much lower.
Another reason there are more guys than girls may be because they don’t feel uncomfortable in the male-dominated atmosphere. 3 season athlete Georgia V. D. (10) says “Some girls may feel awkward and scared, and self conscious is such a big deal…we should take advantage of the facilities.”
LS PE teacher and CrossFit goer, Ms. Carly Bargiel, believes that girls should have more confidence in going to the gym and not feel insecure or uncomfortable by themselves. She says, “There is no better feeling than feeling strong and I want every girl at our school to feel strong and confident in a gym setting. I like to think of being strong and physically fit as a better beautiful.”