Durham College’s Whitby fitness centre is looking into providing women with a more comfortable workout environment.
The gym opened two months ago and has had hundreds of students attending it, says fitness monitor, Jamie Baker.
But Baker has also noticed that the centre doesn’t see as many female users as it does males.
Baker says one of the reasons for that is because the school’s population is 80 per cent male.
But another reason for this is the trouble some women have about approaching a male-dominated gym on campus.
Tonya Pye, a second year medical office administration student, says she was pleased when she found out a fitness centre was being opened, but is hesitant to use it.
Her concerns come from the location of the fitness centre, which sits in the middle of the trades area and the windows that allow people walking by to look in.
“I walked by the gym in the first week, there was a few guys and one girl using it and about 10 guys staring through the window at the poor girl. How are we as a female supposed to feel comfortable using it?” asks Pye.
Baker says the students who look in aren’t looking in to stare, but do so because they are curious.
Baker acknowledges comments about female students feeling intimidated, but says his staff is trying to make the fitness centre comfortable by welcoming individuals when entering the gym and remaining available on the floor for questions.
“We really make an emphasis on the females coming in, I find the males when they come in they already know what they want to do, where to go, females look more apprehensive,” says Baker. “Basically we want to spend time paying attention to them and make sure we are pointing them in the right direction.”
Tahne Burens, a personal trainer from the DC-UOIT Oshawa Flex Centre says she mostly works with female clients, who often express their concern about people watching them.
But Burens believes when people are actually at the gym, they are focused on themselves and not other people.
Meanwhile the Whitby Fitness Centre is promoting the Active Living Challenge to encourage women-and men- to use the gym says Baker. Those interested in the challenge must pick up a card from either the Whitby or Oshawa campus and must fill it out by completing 10 hours of physical activity every week and when the card is full they can submit it for weekly and monthly prizes.