Thursday, August 6, 2009

Exercise Connection

The fighter planet, Mars, blasts its way through the 2nd House, the House of Physicality. Drive and sexuality, rooted in the physical body, pushes us to discover our limits and possibly expand them.

Speaking of pushing physical limits, I've expanded mine by embarking on a new journey at my gym. Usually, I go to the gym to do cardio with a friend of mine or make a well-intentioned attempt at free weights. Sadly, though, I don't have a great deal of experience or background in exercise (unless you count dance class). Therefore, I don't know when to up the reps, the sets, or the weights. However, I do find that cardio is very beneficial and though I don't completely understand the numbers, it's nice to know that I burned 300-500 calories, depending on the session, of course.

Recently, though, I decided that I have been missing out on a huge section of the gym membership: free classes. Now, in the past, I've gone to dance class at Broadway Dance Center or some equivalent, but I simply can't afford daily classes. Fortunately, my gym offers free classes in yoga, strength training, spinning, power dance, etc. To some, that may sound like absolute misery, but I am attempting each class in hopes of toning up with instruction. Some, like spinning, leave me completely drained afterwards. Strength training taught me that I have none. Power dance proved to me that I should never attempt to hip hop. Yoga stretched me - something I needed after taking spinning, strength training, and power dance.

There is an interesting phenomenon I have noticed in my gym experiences. When I work on the free weights, I seem to be mostly, though not exclusively, surrounded by men. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. Yet, the second that I set foot in a class - be it yoga, strength training, or dance - the class is overwhelmingly female. Spinning evens the score a bit, but since starting the other classes, I have been the only guy in each and every class. Brings me back to middle school days of taking ballet. Years of that can prepare a guy for being the lonesome Y-chromosome member, but somehow, I figured the New York sports scene would boast a different ratio.

Why is this? Are men (in general - careful, now, I'm not making blanket statements) more independent when it comes to working out and women prefer a bit of direction? Obviously, our body types are different and need different types of workouts. Still, do we gravitate towards what will help us the most? What is easiest for us? Why this gender divide with regard to exercise? I think each gender uses the gym as a metaphor for taking control and in their own way, each enjoys the benefit of support. Women find an obvious connection with others through formalized class; men find this connection by surrounding themselves with like-acting individuals. Either way, the bond is formed and more than endorphins, that connection creates more good feeling for when one leaves the gym. It also keeps us coming back. That's why they say having a gym buddy keeps you going.

I know I will keep going. Class dismissed.

1 comment:

  1. You should see the Weight Watchers meeting room. It's a lot of women and a little sprinkling of men. Now WW has a meeting specifically for men and I hope that it encourages men to join.

    I never work out in the weight room because I would be the only woman there, and I'm intimidated!