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Why do men hate aerobics?

“It’s a leadership thing,” one female client says, leaving a fitness studio after a cardio class. “Men hate to be told how to do anything. They always assume that just being a man gives them the right to be a leader. How do you expect them to follow an instructor who tells them how to move and how to work out?”
I’m on my way out after my class, and female studio members are talking amongst each other about the difficulty of the workout they just finished while heading to the showers. No man in sight but myself and the studio staff.
Fitness studios have become very trendy in Egypt. Big gyms usually include a studio among their facilities to attract more clients. Classes are usually attended by those looking for fitness regimes to keep them in shape without bulking up their muscles. And this description fits the female side of society perfectly, given the fact that men are usually into “bulking up”.
“Men really don’t understand the benefits of working out in the studio,” explains the sales manager for the Maadi branch of Samia Allouba fitness centers. “Most of them view the studio activities we provide as intended for women: Aerobic classes are dance routines not worthy of their time or effort.” A female client agrees and adds that men look down on the toning classes, although this kind of fitness training is actually good for them.

“They look at the light weights we use in the classes and dismiss it as too easy,” she explains.

Another problem is that most of the instructors are females themselves. Sarah, a petite young instructor at Samia Allouba, tells the story of a member who initially refused to attend her class because, as a woman, he didn’t feel she could challenge him. He was proven wrong by the end of the class, and admitted that he could not keep up with the energized trainer. 
Men and women in Egypt care in different ways about the way they look. “My husband would rather work out on his elliptical at home while watching football on TV,” a female fitness buff says. “I tried to bring him to one of the classes but he just accused me of making fun of him. Actually I just wanted him to share an activity that I love.”
Karim Strougo, founder of the Step Center in the el-Haram area and well-known fitness instructor, believes fitness classes intimidate men. “Aerobic classes need a high level of coordination that women are more capable of than men,” he says. He insists, however, that the percentage of male attendees in classes now is higher than when he started teaching fitness classes 14 years ago.

“I believe we as instructors helped to bring more men to the studio,” Strougo says, “by modifying our classes and creating new ones that interest them and promise more results than regular exercising in the gym.” Eventually, he adds, some started taking the more “dancy” classes, and are now “actually really good.”
Most men in the gym room declined to give reasons why they would not attend fitness classes. “It’s too obvious why I wouldn’t attend something like that,” one says with no further explanation, while another posits that the classes are meant for women only and he had not known it was possible for him to attend.

Fady, however, insists that he loves attending fitness classes. “They are fun and challenging. I get bored in the gym room and I lose weight rapidly by attending fitness classes.”

Amir, another gym member, agrees, saying that fitness classes were the catalyst in achieving his goal of the celebrated six-pack of abs.
A number of classes offered at both fitness centers are more accessible to men. Aerobics is not always a dance-oriented class, and the exercises can vary significantly: Kickboxing or Fight Do are examples of aerobic classes that offer the same benefits of regular fitness class with a more “manly” theme. Pump and tone classes usually help shape and sculpt the body of the trainee, creating the much-desired bicep curves. Interval training is yet another style of combining toning and cardio to quickly burn those extra layers of fat.

Spinning (indoor cycling) is another workout that both men and women enjoy. Using the spinning-cycles for an hour of workout with a spinning instructor who knows how to manipulate the heart-rate in a healthy way helps to burn fat and adds to one’s sense of accomplishment. And some instructors enhance the overall experience by using imagination techniques in their classes, helping participants to imagine themselves on a journey, through woods or along the seashore, and guiding the class according to the road.

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