For college students, finding a balance between school and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a common experience. Women at Texas Tech share their experience with the gym and gym culture as a female on campus.
“I have loved working out since high school," Abigail Kitzmiller, a sophomore psychology major from the Woodlands, said. "Working out has given me a place to get out my stress and energy."
Kitzmiller said even though she has been going to the gym for a while, there is still a certain amount of pressure to look and dress a certain way.
The standard dress is leggings and a shirt or sports bra, but being with women all the same age at the same place can cause a lot of comparisons even though we all look so different, she said.
The phrase, gym intimidation, has been circulating gym culture for a while now, and Kitzmiller said she thinks it is definitely real feeling.
“The gym can be majority guys, so the intimidation can come from trying to use the machines and not really know what you’re doing,” she said. “I don’t know why it’s a thing, but it’s just something I feel a lot of people get concerned about.”
Madelyne Marsh, a junior pre-nursing major from Mansfield, said she does not necessarily feel pressured about wearing certain clothes but feels nervous when there are a lot of people working out. Since she has not been going to the gym for a long time, she worries mainly about her form and how to use the equipment correctly.
“Even if you are fit yourself, you see all these other people who you think look more fit, and then you try and workout to their level,” she said. “It turns into this subconscious competition because intimidation drives you to work beyond what you can, and that can lead to people getting hurt.”
When starting a workout journey, it is best to begin however feels the most comfortable, Marsh said. Everyone is in the same boat, so do not give up.
Marsh said that because of the environment Tech has created, she still feels very comfortable going to the Student Recreation Center. With more time spent at the gym, the intimidation goes away, and it is easier to see people of all shapes and sizes working out for themselves.
Ashley Lin, a pre-nursing major from San Diego, said she prefers to go to the gym with other people. She said her cousin, who is also her roommate, is her gym partner, and when working out, Lin mainly follows her routine.
“I go a couple times a week though it really depends on my work and homework load,” she said. “I did start going more this year because my cousin, who's also my roommate, always forces me to go.”
Lin said she does not see much of a difference between gym culture for men versus women, but she does feel that if there were a gym for women only, it would feel more comfortable.
She said that due to the number of guys in the Student Recreation Center weight room, it makes her nervous to workout in there. If there was a more equal ratio between genders, it would not matter as much to her.
“For someone new to working out, I would tell them to just go for it, and bring a friend,” Lin said. “It honestly makes working out so much more fun than doing it by yourself. Also, sign up for classes. Sometimes those can be more fun than just doing random exercises in the gym.”