This semester, the personal training department at the Tempe Sun Devil Fitness Complex and Live Well @ ASU have been offering Women's Only Training Hours — a dedicated women's space providing free workouts, help from personal trainers, discussions about women's wellness and exercise workshops.
The Women's Only Training Hours are held in the Adaptive Training Zone at the Tempe SDFC on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. There is workout equipment free for use during the sessions, like weights, TRX equipment and an open space for workouts with guidance from personal trainers if needed.
"The mission of our women's only workout is to create an inclusive environment and to give back students the skills, knowledge and build a community that individuals feel confident working out," said Ashley Campbell, a program coordinator at the Tempe SDFC and creator of the Women’s Only Training Hours.
Campbell said anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome to join the Women's Only Training Hours.
"The feedback that we have gathered is that our ladies feel safe, supported and more confident in women's only," Campbell said.
Carly Todd, a senior studying digital and integrated marketing communications, is one of the personal trainers who run the Women's Only Training Hours.
"It's very intimidating to go into the weight room that's very crowded and often dominated by men, so we provide a safe space for women to get into their fitness journey. Surrounded by other women makes it a lot more comfortable and fun," Todd said.
Many women have utilized the space to ask questions about how to use different workout machines, Todd said.
"That would never happen in the normal weight room," she said.
The space also creates a more comfortable exercise environment for women who are just starting their workout journey.
"Some girls will come in, and they wear big baggy shirts because they don't want people looking at them," Naomi Stietzel, a freshman studying exploratory health and life sciences, said. "Certain people have certain comfort levels."
Stietzel has never dealt with uncomfortable situations at the gym. However, she has had many friends who have experienced situations that have caused them not to want to go back to the gym.
"A lot of girls are intimidated about coming to the gym," Stietzel said.
Though Stietzel has not attended the Women's Training Only Hours, she encourages other students to go, especially beginners and women who are interested in a more welcoming environment.
Aniyah Spann, a freshman studying psychology, said she went to work out at Planet Fitness, where a man approached her and told her that her workout was ineffective for women and squats would be better for her. Spann felt uncomfortable, left, and never went back to that gym.
With the Women's Only Training Hours, Spann said there is less pressure, judgment, and intimidation, allowing her to wear what she wants and confidently "do my own thing."
"I feel as though other people in the gym don't respect everyone having a starting point," Spann said. "It's like a lot of, 'oh, you're doing this wrong' or 'your form's wrong' or 'this is wrong,' but at the ATZ, everyone is so in tune with their own thing."
Edited by Jasmine Kabiri, David Rodish, Sophia Balasubramanian and Greta Forslund.
Kylie Saba is a reporter for the Community and Culture desk at the State Press. She embraces ASU life and is ready to report life as it happens.