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The Women’s Section Of The Gym: Who Is It Really Helping?

It’s debate time folks, do women’s only sections at the gym really serve either gender? We want to hear your opinion!



Last week during my friend Nat’s visit, we decided to get our sweat on at a local gym. After our workout in the weight room, Nat (who I lightheartedly call “Uber-man” due to her incredible strength), stopped me on our way out.

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I just want to check out the women’s section before we leave,” she said.

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I followed her down a hallway to a distant corner of the gym to find the women’s only section, an area I naturally tend to avoid. I was surprised by the climax of our venture – a space inundated with cardio machines and a few weight machines.

My friend let out what could be described as both a grunt and sigh of disappointment. I asked her what was up, to which she explained her stance on the matter.

Having women only sections of a public institution further perpetuates stereotyping  for both sexes. In order for new narratives to evolve people must be exposed to a variety of gym goers, a public space should NEVER be segregated.” Clearly she had thought about this before.

This got me thinking back to the array of women’s only sections I had come across in my lifetime. For the ones I could remember, images of lack-luster equipment flooded my memory.

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She was right, the women’s only section often boasted a feeling of inferiority compared to the mixed gender areas of the gym or the male-dominated weight rooms.

Dumbbells in the women’s sections typically never surpassed 30lbs and there were no power racks or barbells for squats or dead lifts, the most quintessential exercises for any gender looking to build strength, while conversely there was almost always an overabundance of cardio machines.

This begged the question, “Is the women’s section of the gym really serving either gender? Secondly, what kind of message is this sending to the pubic?”

For the answers to these pressing questions, I took to a medium never lacking in strong, unapologetic opinions: Facebook.

What Men & Women Had To Say About The Women’s Section Of The Gym

women's gym

Naturally, the jury was split on the matter.

Opinions varied from people seeing value in a separate section for women who were just starting a fitness routine or for women who may be self-conscious in front of men, to those who believed it only further promotes gender segregation, as well as a misleading message about women’s fitness.

One women named Lisa felt there were both pros and cons to women’s only gym sections: “For women starting out, it could make it more comfortable for them to learn the equipment. However, the big three power-lifting moves (bench, deadlift, squat) are the grandfathers of the weightlifting world and everyone should have equal access to [incorporating them into their routines] …”

Interestingly, there were a lot of women who liked the idea of  a women’s only section. Some women felt that it helped them to not worry about being seen or judged by men at the gym.

Christina wrote, “I [feel] most comfortable there. I know deep down men could care less about [what I’m doing] at the gym, but I can’t help but feel really insecure while working out with men in the same gym. I don’t know, maybe because I was bullied a lot by boys growing up?”

Indeed, this notion of feeling insecure around men was a common issue mentioned by women. Here’s what another young woman had to say:

Psychologically, yes, I think [the women’s section] is a good thing, I know I use weights and machines more when men are not around, not that they sit and stare or anything. It’s mainly just because they are stronger and I feel weak next to them.

Some women saw some benefit to the women’s only section, but felt the equipment typically found in these sections would not give women the strong physique they were likely working for.

Kristin O. wrote, “Having been to a few I can attest to there being less free weights, more machines and cardio equipment, the stereotypical exercise equipment that women are often seen using. The ‘ideal body’ that many women are seeking is [more efficiently] achieved through heavier weights rather than a cardio heavy regime.

Men also chimed in with their views on the women’s section. One frequent male gym goer felt that the separate section didn’t make much sense considering how culturally we are moving away from gender segregation.

Erik wrote, “I think having a women’s section in the gym is a waste of space and is often poorly planned. It often involves throwing in female targeted machines that aren’t really of any [valuable] use, male or female.”


CE team member Mark Denicola saw it as yet another unnecessary boundary between the sexes, arguing that “The downside would be that it further segregates. We’re trying to shatter barriers, so to put more of them up doesn’t make much sense.”

Are Men & Women Really Distracted By One Another?

Surprisingly, a common theme prevalent in both men and women’s answers had to do with being ‘distracted’ or ‘bothered’ by members of the opposite sex.

Some men felt that women could be distracting in their sports-bra and workout gear, and therefore saw benefit in segregating genders at the gym.


Conversely, some women said similar things about men who oftentimes wear revealing tank tops (i.e. nip slips) or who are even seen taking their shirts off on occasion. One man even agreed that men can also be distracting to women.

I feel like the workout gear/dress distraction is similar to the whole ‘nipple’ debate, if a guy is working out without a shirt on, I feel like no one would really care,” Lisa B wrote. “However, when a women works out in a sports bra, I find that a lot of assumptions and opinions are thrown out there.


Then there was the issue of women being approached by men at the gym.  One woman explained that she liked having access to both areas of the gym because often when she worked out with men, it opened up the chance for her to be approached.

I use the men’s weight room because it has more equipment, but the downside is that you are more likely to be approached by someone,” said Vanessa H. “The upstairs or ‘women’s area’ is nice because I can still do a variety of workouts and will almost certainly be left alone. It’s nice to have the option, though.

However, Lisa B. felt that women who wear a supportive bra or tight workout gear should not be automatically be considered eye-rape fodder. “There is nothing wrong with checking out the opposite/same sex if they look good, but there shouldn’t be any ‘they asked for it,’ that reminds me of the rape mentality that some people have.

Some men could understand how women might feel intimidated by men at the gym, and that women should be allowed to wear whatever they choose. Sean C. noted that the male college culture might have a lot to do with women feeling uncomfortable at the gym, as during this time in a guy’s life the gym may be “as much about checking out girls as it is working out.

Do Gender Specific Sections Really Serve Either Gender?


Natalie Mcutcheon, a British Columbia school teacher, has a progressive stance on gender specific gym sections. Her view sees the segregation as detrimental not only to our social/cultural development, but also for the health of women alike.

“The only benefits are short term, superficial benefits. Women think they feel more comfortable with no men around but in reality people are still looking at you and are still ‘judging you,’ that does not go away with the sexes. The long term affects are negative both individually and collectively.

Individually women need to be challenged and inhabit that same space as men to be seen as equal, women’s only sections are a barrier to this. Not to mention the equipment in these sections is always lacking and ineffective for what women should be doing.

In my opinion, heavy and challenging lifts to combat aging and osteoporosis as well as increasing metabolism are not possible in many of the women’s sections as the cardio machines and resistance bands take up the space. This sends the message to women that these are the exercises they should be doing and as most people are unsure about where to start this is what they do.”

Moving forward, Mcutcheon suggests that women must begin seeing these separations for the limitations that they are:

“The only way this can change to suit both sexes is to get rid of it completely and create a sense of celebrated inclusion and diversity at the gym. If women say they feel uncomfortable with men staring, this will only worsen if we continue to retreat into hidden rooms.”

We Want To Hear Your Thoughts

While discourse around gender equality is a hallmark of today’s progressive public values, there is still much to be settled in terms of moving forward as an equal collective. Women’s only sections of the gym stand as important fodder for change in many ways, which is why it is crucial for everyone to participate in these critical discussions.

We want to hear your thoughts on this matter, do you think that women’s only sections at gyms serve either gender? What sort of message do you think this is sending to the public? Share with us in the comment section below!

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5 Great Benefits Kids Can Get From Yoga



In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Yoga has a number of mind and body benefits, and those benefits have also been seen in children.

  • Reflect On:

    Should schools be incorporating yoga programs into their curriculum?

Kermit the Frog has a wonderful song – “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” And kids love this song because they can relate. After all, it’s not easy being a kid today either. More and more is asked of them in school; they are hurried from one activity to the next; homework begins at much earlier grade levels now, and then there are all of the digital distractions that top off fully exhausting days and evenings.

It’s Beginning to Show in the Classroom

Teachers are frustrated because attention spans seem to be so short and because they have to be entertainers if they want to engage learning in their classrooms. Parents worry that their kids won’t pass the standardized state tests that often decide promotion to the next grade. So, they cart their kids to tutoring sessions, among all of the sports practices. Kids just don’t have any non-stimulated time, and that is a huge concern. This is where yoga comes in.

Yoga – the Balance Every Kid Needs

Amidst the flurry of activity, there should be time for all kids to turn off their devices and tune out their activities and school work. There should be time for non-competitive physical activity, for some quiet reflection, and for the opportunity to enhance their ability to focus.

These are the big benefits of yoga and this is what kids can get when they learn and practice it.

  • Become aware of their breathing and the connections between deep breathing and the body’s feel.
    Techniques and games that foster this connection serve to improve focus, reduce stress, and actually cause the release of healthy hormones.

  • Balance: Techniques that focus on balance do far more than just develop control over the physical body. They assist increases in attention in natural ways, rather than through medication, which doctors are so quick to prescribe. As kids focus on a balance pose, they also clear their minds, thinking only of what their bodies are doing.

  • Kids have lots of natural flexibility – something that we adults lose as we grow older.  Doing stretching exercises increases flexibility, a flexibility that forms in muscles and joints and allows them to “yield.” Football players who practice yoga, for example, have far fewer serious injuries because they have developed flexibility. If flexibility exercises can become habitual with kids, they will perform better in any sport.

  • Focus and Awareness: A typical yoga exercise for young children is to have them close their eyes and focus on sitting just as a statue. They must become aware of all parts of their body in order to keep them still and stiff, and focus on keeping them that way. Then, when a short period of time is over, they are told to relax and just start laughing as hard as they can – a great release of energy and stress. They come to understand that they have control of their bodies and of their minds, and with this understanding comes confidence.

  • Relaxation and Meditation: This may be the most important benefit of yoga for young children. The early exercises of tightening and then relaxing muscles, of holding poses and moving from one pose into another, all take the mind away from the “harried” nature of their lives and have a strong calming effect. Meditation on their mats can occur as they sit in a pose or lie flat. In both instances, children can be guided to place their thought on a single thing – maybe a favorite pet or color.

Gradually, additional visualization can be added to meditation. One small private school has an assembly each morning. Children are on mats and perform yoga poses and exercises to music. Then, the “quiet” time begins. As they sit on their mats, softer music is played and they are asked to think of one thing they want to accomplish that day and to see themselves doing it – a small activity that inspires.

Yoga for kids is all about developing habits of body and mind working together to create a more balanced lifestyle and develop great study habits. When these habits are instilled early, they tend to “stick” better.

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Why I Stopped Lifting Weights At The Gym & Do This Instead



Health and fitness are important parts of life, and are part of a mindset that I make sure is part of my day every day – even if that means just having an active rest day. I believe the body requires exercise every day. For a while I used to lift weights at a gym, but then that changed for me and I want to share some info about why I chose to leave that behind.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with lifting weights at the gym or at home, as there are multiple ways to “get results” in the fitness world. But I believe it comes down to enjoying something and asking what you want from your exercise. For me, right now, I use a combination of training styles, with calisthenics as the focus. With calisthenics (body-weight training) you can get all the same results as weight-lifting, become very strong, and build a truly firm foundation, while lowering your risk of injury significantly compared to weight-lifting.

Calisthenics (Body-Weight Training)

I, along with many others, strongly believe that calisthenics is the future of fitness. It’s already taken off in some countries and is now showing its spark here in Western culture -and for good reason. Many people I talk to lately seems to be looking for something different, as if they are bored of the same old gym/weight routine just as I was. It also seems people want to have more fun when they work out.

Calisthenics is about functional strength, natural looking bodies, free workouts, creativity, self-mastery, and healthy routines. It is also something many people can do. I believe that in general we are moving in this direction because times change, our minds change, and things seem to be shifting towards a more natural way of being, which means getting out of repetitive cycles.

Why I Left The Gym

I worked out at the gym for years and was lifting heavy. Did it work? Absolutely, I got plenty of muscle and gained strength. Exercising was part of my routine in high school, as I was inspired by a kinesiology course I took where I learned all about the body, muscles, nutrition, and how to work out to get results.

But I noticed that I started to get tight, I wasn’t flexible, and it was easy, even with proper form, to irritate joints when lifting heavier weights. I didn’t feel my whole body was getting strong either, just in certain parts doing specific things. Plus, I didn’t like the gym and lifting weights – the vibe, the repetition, the lack of creativity, the people so focused on hyping themselves up, looking at themselves in the mirror all day – it simply wasn’t for me. My goals were never about impressing people with my body. I wanted to be healthy, have functional strength, enjoy movement, have healthy joints, build strong neurological connections to my body, and exercise in an environment I liked.

Functional strength is strength that you utilize in everyday tasks. It also goes along with a lot of natural body movements. What I noticed in my experience from weight lifting was that I could get stronger at certain exercises yet I didn’t notice much functional strength increases versus training calisthenics. This was further illustrated to me when I would train my back and shoulders like crazy with weights, yet could only do a small amount of pull-ups. Weight-lifting exercises can often train very localized muscles, whereas with calisthenics it’s naturally more of a full-body workout. Again this comes down to what you are looking for. This was probably one of the most noticeable differences for me, I was gaining strength throughout my whole body in areas that I felt didn’t get touched when I was weight-lifting. Plus, doing calisthenics and avoiding heavy weights healed injuries that I had struggled with for years.

Coming from a point of having my back and core heavily injured, this was a huge transformation for me. The photo below is of me after only 3 months of calisthenics training. My form for this “human flag” is not perfect yet in this picture, but it’s not far off. Three months later (today), I can now hold that same move with straight arms and flatter legs.


Get inspiring tips and information about how I achieved this exercise and to get out of the gym and into nature! There will be a free 7 Day Challenge soon as well! CLICK HERE

Choosing A Workout That’s Right For You

First off, don’t let anyone tell you what routine you should be doing or what workout methods are best. You have to do what’s right for you, and being aware of your options will empower you. If you don’t enjoy your workouts, then you will have a hard time with motivation and in general you will be forcing yourself to do something you don’t like. Find what works for you, calisthenics is only one option out of many.

For me, getting out of the gym and into outdoor calisthenic workouts made me LOVE my workouts. Compared to when I used to lift weights, I’ve never felt this good. I’m stronger and more flexible than I have ever been. My mind and body connection is through the roof and even though my goals are health related, the appearance of my body is the same as when I used to lift heavy, except now my muscles are longer and my body isn’t puffy and bloated (could be diet too.) I also don’t need to go through bulk up phases and then slim down phases because my nutrition choice is a sustainable lifestyle versus being strictly fast-goal oriented.

Currently I do a mix of calisthenics and yoga. I add in sports and active rest time on days where I don’t work out. Don’t be afraid to use multiple workout methods and switch things up. It seems we often get afraid that as soon as we stop working out we’ll deflate. If that’s happening to you, you’re probably not building sustainable muscle.

Focusing totally on body image is a mindset I truly believe Western culture struggles with greatly; we are obsessed with physical results and short-term results. We’ll do anything to be a “hunk,” even if it’s not healthy for us. When you take the ego away and go for what’s a true healthy choice for you –  for mind, spirit, and body – your choices and goals become very different, and your results do too.

Check Your Mindset & Goals

So is calisthenics for you? You answer that question yourself. What appeals to you? What do you want your lifestyle to look like? What do you like doing when you work out? You have to enjoy it! There’s no wrong answer.

If you want to be a body builder, and have that huge body, maybe compete in competitions, or be a power lifter (a couple reps of a ton of weight), then you will need to lift weights simply because you have to stress your body to incredible levels to get those results. You also have to eat in a specific manner to get those results and to be honest, much of the diet advice you get from these types of athletes is not all that healthy for you long-term. But of course you can make healthier diet choices.

If you are looking for a lot of functional strength, solid bone, and ligament health, good cardiovascular fitness, or a toned, muscular looking body, calisthenics will give you all of that as well.

One myth you hear a lot is that you can’t build muscle mass or get good results with calisthenics, but this isn’t true at all. You will gain a lot of strength and size, and be in great shape just as anyone working out at a gym does. There are easy exercises and tough exercises, and many of weight lifters have trouble performing some of them. Your body is your weight, so it’s not like you are not lifting weight, there’s just no added weight. You’d be surprised how hard many of these exercises are and how well they work any other body part, without an increased risk of hurting yourself.


Raw unedited images of Frank Medrano, Adam Raw & Hit Richards. Built through calisthenics only.

This guy pretty much sums it up well and he’s been through a ton of different techniques.  He explains why, in his opinion, he feels bodyweight/calisthenics is best. He does still lift weight as he believes in multiple types of training, but he covers some great points.

Bottom Line

I’m simply trying to lead us to realize that it’s about kicking the ego out of your health and make it about a lifestyle choices and health. You can play in whatever realm you like, there’s no need to judge either, but keep yourself honest and in check with what you are doing and why. You have options. Choose what’s fun and engaging for you!

Get inspiring tips and information about how I achieved this exercise and to get out of the gym and into nature! There will be a free 7 Day Challenge soon as well! CLICK HERE

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9 Unconventional Health Hacks Used By Extreme Sports Athletes



Extreme sports athletes have wowed the world by pushing the limits of the human body. These athletes have to deal with much higher injury rates and the mental strain of extremely dangerous stunts.

The top athletes in Skateboarding, Motocross, Snowboarding, and other extreme sports are now finally being paid as much as pro golfers, Olympians, and other more mainstream athletes.

With these high salaries, many athletes are seeing a promising future in what could only be a hobby in years past.

Serious training is now put into place for extreme athletes who have the dream of going pro in their sport. Here are 10 training lessons we can all learn from extreme sports athletes.

1. Training your mind to stay cool under pressure

During extreme sports competitions, athletes will have to deal with the danger of their stunts as well as the added pressure from competing.

It is important to train your mind to stay cool under this pressure if you are working toward a career as an extreme athlete. Try looking online for brain exercises that will help you relax under pressure.

Learning to meditate can also be a great way to learn to stay cool under any amount of pressure, and has helped all sorts of athletes from golfers to NBA players.

2. Prepare yourself for injuries

As an extreme athlete, you are bound to experience more frequent injuries that will keep you out of your sport for a long period.

Recovering from injuries is almost as much of a part of becoming a world class extreme athlete as mastering your sport.

In most major cities, there are physical therapists who have had experience working with extreme athletes.

These professionals will be able to help you learn the best ways to recover from your injuries quickly and effectively.

3. Create an intense and effective training schedule

Professional athletes don’t get to the top of their sport by accident. It takes a schedule and power of mind that many individuals simply don’t possess or know how to develop.

Waking up early is a key for athletes that want to go pro in their extreme sport. Long gone are the days of the lazy idea of skateboarders who just party and skate when they feel like it.

With the money there for the taking, extreme athletes like Nyjah Huston now have schedules and regimens that will keep them at the top of their sport.

Huston is very strict about his diet. He and other extreme athletes are now taking their training much more seriously. This helps them avoid injuries, perform at a higher level during competitions, and land tricks more often than if they were unorganized in their lives.

4. Always train with athletes who will push your limits

If you are always training with skaters, bikers, and skiers who aren’t as good as you at your sport, it is going to be difficult to get better.

You need to challenge yourself by finding athletes that are better than you at your sport. This may be hard to do if you are the best in your local area.

However, it is worth travelling to a different area where there are better extreme athletes than yourself. If you are going to be competing against the best in the world, you need to be training with the best in the world.

5. Get into the right frame of mind

Just like golf, extreme sports are a very mental thing to do. Going into a competition when you aren’t feeling mentally fit can be disastrous.

Confidence is key when trying dangerous stunts. You can’t be afraid when flying down a mountain or launching off huge ramps.

Take some time to clear your mind and get into a mindset that will help you ace all of your runs.

6. Hop in a chilling ice bath

Travis Pastrana is well known for attributing his low recovery times to regularly soaking in an ice bath. This cold therapy helps to soothe sore muscles and improve recovery times.

Head to the grocery store and buy a big bag of ice. Once you get home, throw the bag of ice in your bathtub and fill it up with cold water.

This will give you a chilling yet invigorating soak that will help you recover quickly from sore muscles or injuries.

7. Use a GoPro Camera

GoPro cameras are one of the best advancements in extreme sports training technology that athletes have regular access to.

With the inexpensive price of these cameras, it is easy to pick one up and start analyzing your runs, tricks, and other performance.

Filming yourself can be a great way to identify bad habits and fix them before they set you back years in your progress.

8. Engage in activities that strengthen your mind and will

Hiking mountains, writing a short story, and remodelling a home are all examples of activities that will strengthen your mind and will.

Learning how to push through hardships to accomplish a goal will help you to be an amazing athlete. Also, activities like chess, crossword, and sudoku are amazing ways to keep your mind strong.

9. Learn everything you can about your equipment

When you are constantly slamming your equipment trying big tricks, you need to learn how to repair it yourself.

Also, learning about the different accessories you can use on your equipment will help you have an edge over the competition.

For example, having the best wheels on your longboard will help you grip the road during your downhill races.

There are many resources online that will help you learn everything you need to know about all of your extreme sports equipment.

Become Part of CE's Inner Circle

Collective Evolution is one of the world's fastest-growing conscious media and education companies providing news and tools to raise collective consciousness. Get inside access to Collective Evolution by becoming a member of CETV.

Stream content 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, documentaries and guided programs.

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