Perceptions of male participation in the Aerobic Fitness wristband program at BYU


Apparently guys sporting neon shorts and striking yoga poses is becoming a thing.

According to Conrad Todd, the operations manager for Campus Life, there are 16 male students enrolled out of 285 participants for the fall 2013 aerobic fitness program at BYU. Similarly, the BYU Zumba credit classes for this fall have six males students and 162 female students enrolled.

Clayton Johnson modeling what other people think men in aerobics do. Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill
Clayton Johnson modeling what other people think men in aerobics do. (Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)

“It hasn’t been until just the last few years that guys have been drawn into the group exercise experience with programs such as P90X, Insanity and Crossfit,” Todd said. “Today, more than ever, group fitness is starting to appeal to the men masses. We hope that trend will come to our campus and men will feel more comfortable participating.”

Whereas group fitness was once dominated by the female gender, men are, slowly but surely, joining the craze. Now that classes like P90X are being offered, this “trend” may have a few obstacles to overcome.

Some students feel that it is awkward when the amount of men to women is disproportionate, but overall the response has been positive.

“Personally, I feel that the classes are for anyone who wants to go, not just women. I’m not at all opposed to men coming, and I don’t feel uncomfortable working out around them,” said Jenna Johnson, a junior psychology major. “I think the main reason that more guys don’t go is because there are not enough men already going, and they feel like creeps going by themselves.”

Johnson also said she knows some women feel uncomfortable with men coming to aerobics classes because they feel they are being “checked out.”

Brogan Udall, a senior studying history, said she would feel a little embarrassed at first, but if men want to go, they should.

Clayton Johnson modeling what men in aerobics really do. Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill
Clayton Johnson modeling what men in aerobics really do. (Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)

“Initially, it would make me feel uncomfortable, but eventually it would become part of the daily routine,” Udall said.

Derek Miller, a junior economics major, thinks some men prefer to exercise alone but that any athlete who takes himself seriously participates in aerobics. In Miller’s opinion, the combination of aerobics with toning is the ideal workout.

Miller also admitted he would be interested in the yoga class, but would not want to go without someone he knew.

The BYU aerobic fitness program this semester includes Insanity, Indoor Cycling, Power Pump Cardio, Zumba, Yoga and Rockin’ Abs. Most of the classes focus on a combination of aerobics and toning that is recognizable in popular fitness programs, like Crossfit.

“The big message we would like to send is that guys are welcome to come and participate in the program,” Todd said. “The program has never been marketed exclusively to women, nor was it designed exclusively for women.”

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