Majority-women CrossFit club to start at Temple

Of the 100 members who have signed up for a new CrossFit club, about 90 are women.

The Temple University CrossFit Club kicked off its first official meeting this Thursday by running from Main Campus to the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

The club follows CrossFit-style workouts like weightlifting, cardio and gymnastics and will officially start crossfit training in Fall 2019. So far, about 100 members have signed up for the club and about 90 of them are women.

The women-dominated group seeks to empower women and debunk stereotypes of women in fitness, said Lizy Pierson, a sophomore public health major and the club’s president.

“I know that the issue with a lot of my friends is that they walk into the gyms on campus and it’s just a man cave,” Pierson added.

The Student Training and Recreation Center and the IBC Student Recreation Center can have more than 100 people in there at a time, most of which are men, said Robert Rera, a senior public health major and building supervisor at the IBC. This could be intimidating to some women, he added.

“Usually, when I tell men I can lift more than them, they give me a look like, ‘Yeah, right.” Then they see me do it and think it’s pretty cool. “ LIZZY PIESON Crossfit club president

 “I don’t personally get intimidated, but I know a lot of my friends will walk into STAR and then just walk out,” Pierson said. “We want to create a community where people are not intimated to go to the gym and feel good about themselves and working out.”

The women-led club hopes to tear down stereotypes that women only do cardiovascular exercises and group fitness classes, said Eileen Armani, a sophomore nursing major and the club’s secretary. 

Hearing gender stereotypes at the gym, like snide remarks that women are not as athletic as men, can have a negative effect on a woman’s athletic performance, according to a 2014 study in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise. When gender differences were not discussed, the study found that men and women performed equally.    

“Usually, when I tell men I can lift more than them, they give me a look like, ‘Yeah, right,’” Pierson said. “Then they see me do it and think it’s pretty cool.”

As a sport, CrossFit focuses on improving performance more than looks and considers all members “athletes” rather than categorizing them in groups by gender, weight or age, according to BoxRox, a competitive fitness magazine for people who do CrossFit. 

Both Pierson and Armani are active members at CrossFit Fairmount, where Armani was named the gym’s April Athlete of the Month. 

They are in conversations with the owners at CrossFit Fairmount about using the space to train in the fall and are currently figuring out schedules and the cost of a student discount, Pierson said.

CrossFit gyms are notoriously expensive — topping $150 a month compared to other gyms with rates of $10-20, according to Investopedia, a news outlet focusing on financial concepts. So the club is advocating for as cheap a price as possible, Pierson added.

“They’re definitely working with us,” she said of the owner and coaches at CrossFit Fairmount. “They’re super excited as well. But at the same time, they’re running a business.” 

The club will meet at 5:30 p.m on Thursday outside Pearson Hall for another run to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

“It really is a community,” Armani said. “Any accomplishment, no matter how big or how small, everyone celebrates it.”

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