Dec 022004
Authors: Megan Schulz

During the holiday season when weight gain is often inevitable, group fitness classes at the Student Recreation Center may be the perfect solution for students who are looking to keep off the extra pounds.

Despite this free and convenient exercise option, students like Tyler McNeil have noticed there is a lack of men attending the classes.

McNeil, a freshman zoology major, attended a Cardio Kickboxing class on a Wednesday night and discovered he was the only guy in a class of about 35.

"I would think that kickboxing would be a manly sport," McNeil said. "It was weird that I was the only guy there. I was kind of nervous because I was really unsure about it, but I went and it was really fun."

Kari Stratton, a group fitness instructor, agrees that for the most part, more women than men attend group fitness classes.

Stratton teaches Hip-Hop on Monday nights, where she usually sees anywhere from two to six guys in a class of 35 to 55 people. Now that the weather has become colder and students are preparing for exams, she said attendance has declined even more.

On Tuesday mornings and Wednesday nights, Stratton teaches Cardio Kickboxing.

"In Tuesday's class, I usually have seven to 10 people and a few guys," said Stratton, a senior business marketing major. "A couple of the guys are employees who work at the Rec Center. On Wednesdays, I have 30 to 55 people and I've only seen a couple of guys."


Stratton said she has a passion for fitness and thinks it is great to spread fitness to other people through teaching. Her past experiences with fitness lead her to believe that lack of male attendance in group fitness classes is contributed to in part by the ages and attitudes of the students.

"I used to live in Chicago and went to Lifetime Fitness, which caters to all ages," Stratton said. "A variety of people attended kickboxing class. I think students may have the college Rec Center mentality, and some guys might feel uncomfortable in the kickboxing class."

Stratton believes that some guys think kickboxing is a female cardio activity, and she has noticed that men are more likely to attend classes such as STRONG, a full body strength-training workout.

McNeil agreed some guys might view kickboxing as weak, but said it's simply not true.

"They might not think it's tough enough or a good workout," McNeil said. "But it was hard. I was sore for a week."

Ashley Schramm, a freshman interior design student who frequents the Rec Center, has spotted a few guys in group fitness classes.

"I've seen guys in Awesome Abs and a few in Serenity Stretch," Schramm said. "I think sometimes guys probably feel uncomfortable in Serenity Stretch because they are a minority. But for me it's not weird, because I'm used to seeing guys dance and stretch. In Awesome Abs, I saw a guy doing the splits."

Schramm also described the fun and relaxed atmosphere of Hip-Hop class that may attract some male participants.

"The more times I go to Hip-Hop, I've seen more guys there," Schramm said. "By the end, you're making fools of yourselves and they just have fun with it."

The Rec Center does its best to offer a variety of fitness activities to help all students stay in shape throughout the school year.

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