Eliminating Exercise Stereotypes

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Another guest post from Ryan Fahey @wellnessrf and a great one to start the year.

The other day I was talking to a young lady who informed me that she ‘worked out like a girl’ and somehow did not workout ‘like a guy’. After disagreeing with her, I realized some inner motivation to write a blog post on this dichotomy of exercise myths. I began trying to understand and wrap my head around, what entails working out ‘like a girl’, however nothing came to mind. I mean, when I buy groceries do I buy guy groceries? Or do I buy girl groceries? Because clearly that makes sense, ….but is there really such thing as ‘working out like a girl’? If so, maybe it is just the way we use that statement. It seems that whenever I hear that statement used it is in comparison to ‘working out like a guy’ as if ‘working out like a guy’ is the gold standard….Hmmmmmm……

Given my two days of reflection on this topic I have some conclusions to make…

1) Ladies, take pride in all exercise you wish to participate in whether at the gym, in a Zumba class or in your small apartment. If you are to use the statement above, use it in a positive light. Be proud to workout and to be a girl . Moving is moving and movement deserves respect. Do not simply say, “I can only do girl pushups”. That is nonsense. From a training perspective, you have regular pushups and modified pushups, that is all.

2) Gents, if you agree that there is such a thing as ‘working out like a guy’ again use this language in a positive light. Be careful with your words. Do not use them in a way that degrades how someone else should be working out according to your standards.

3) Gents, start going to fitness classes with the ladies! I have been a bootcamp and aerobics instructor in Canada for over four years and can almost count on two hands the amount of guys that came through the door to participate in my classes….. maybe we could further understand how each one of us workout if we participated in exercises WITH each other, regardless of whether we are XX or XY.

4) To both ladies and gentlemen, take the time to critically think about the type of language you are using at the gym, around your friends and around your workplace. Sometimes positive reinforcement can go very far in breaking down stereotypes. Also, be comfortable enough with your own fitness routine so that you do not feel the need to compare yourself with someone else and their routine.

The bottom line here is that movement is movement. Whether you are a girl or a guy, movement is very important to us all. Be encouraging to those people trying to live healthier lifestyles. That is the standard we need to build healthier communities at large. It is up to each one of us to break down the gender barriers in the fields of exercise, health & wellness

Lastly, I have seen many strong women that I both respect and admire as fitness models and fitness instructors. Their mentorship and guidance are some of the foundational pieces of my health and wellness knowledge and philosophies. Conversely, I have worked alongside 80+ males and elite level coaches whom I learned so much about conditioning, coaching and overall health & wellness in athletics. Tweet me anytime @wellnessrf.

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Ryan , of course I’d like to add my two cents. I know sometimes people look at me and think oh she doesn’t work out because  of the way I look. That is far from the truth … you can’t judge a book by it’s cover . I am 57 years old and I still play lacrosse which I absolutely love. I also walk 5 days a week as well as move during musical theatre once a week. I so agree with Ryan. Movement is movement. Let’s work together to eliminate those exercise stereotypes and maybe even stereotypes in general. I take pride in all the movement I do, and though I certainly don’t run anywhere like I used to.  I like that I do run and can still shoot and score. I have to admit I loved it when the past captain of the Calgary Roughnecks, Tracey Kelusky told me I had “golden hands.”  It was a boost, especially for someone my age. I can’t run for beans, but I have golden hands (that was few years ago he said that, but it still brings me great joy.) When Andrew McBride, another past captain of the Calgary Roughnecks would ask me to show the much younger ladies how to shoot or pass, yes inside, I beamed with pride. I am happy I can still play a game that I played and loved in my youth.

In 2016 I plan on moving even more … you may want to join me. Here are a few youtube free workouts  here and here that you may enjoy. I plan on tryng out a few of them myself.

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