Help Me Understand – Tales from the Gym Part 2

So my gym has facilities that are co-ed, and separate. If you are male and want to work out with just men – there’s a room for that with ample machines and weights. If you are female and want to work out in front of just women – you can – with machines and weights. If it doesn’t bother you either way and you want to work out in a huge room with the best selection of machines, and a track etc – there is the huge co-ed work out floor.

If you are so frum (religious) that you won’t even wear work out gear, if you are so frum that you are on the treadmill in your white shirt and Shabbat pants and dress shoes, if you are so frum that you work out with your payes and tzitzit flying and cannot even begin to imagine putting on a pair of sneakers – why are you working out in the co-ed room? Why are you not in the men’s only room? If you are so frum that you have to work out in a long skirt and a sheitel (yes, I have seen it), if you are so frum that you cannot wear sneakers with your long skirt, but are wearing crocs on the treadmill because they are more kosher than sneakers, if you are so frum that if a man who is not married to you spoke to you you’d run the other way – why are you not working out with all the other women?

Seriously folks – this makes no sense to me. I respect everyone’s right to work out and get healthy. I just don’t understand the mind set that doesn’t allow the change of clothing for work out purposes at all, yet seems to permit working out in full view of the opposite sex, some of whom are not modestly attired, when there are facilities to do so in a single sex venue.

Can someone explain this inconsistency to me??

8 responses to “Help Me Understand – Tales from the Gym Part 2

  1. thanks, this is an interesting post. but the truth is I don’t really get it. I understand why a frum man wouldn’t want to be around women who aren’t modest. But why shouldn’t a frum woman who is modestly dressed work out in the same room with men? I don’t see the problem with it. why is it any different to be on a treadmill than to walk down the street with men? (I personally go to a gym for only women, and wouldn’t feel comfortable in a mixed gym. But I wonder if it’s really a halachic issue?)

    am interested to hear your thoughts, just joined your blog and am enjoying it a lot!

    • Welcome! you said “why shouldn’t a frum woman who is modestly dressed work out in the same room with men?” If you are a woman who dresses modestly even to work out, shouldn’t it bother you to have a man watch you on the treadmill, sweating up a storm, chest bouncing? Is it ok for women to have the ability to ogle the men as they work out in their immodest gear? Is it not a two way street?

  2. Hadassah, I am confused b/c I don’t understand how going to a co-ed gym should be considered acceptable for you as a frum woman to do but yet unacceptable for other frum women & men to do (especially when they are dressing according to the tznius (modesty) standards that they always adhere to)…

    • My point is this Batya – I would think that those that dress with street clothes to work out would be more comfortable in the single sex exercise rooms rather than the co-ed just from a point of view of their modesty standards. If they are that modest that they don’t wear work out gear – why are they working out, all hot and sweaty and bouncy, in front of the opposite sex? Does it not seem to be a contradiction?

      • Clearly they have their reasons for working out in the co-ed gym just as you do. Perhaps it’s b/c there’s more equipment to choose from in the larger room or whatever. I think they have their reasons for choosing that room & you have yours but I’m sure you wouldn’t like for them to judge you for dressing in work out gear that you wear which they may feel is less “tzniusdik” or whatever so I don’t think it’s fair for you to judge them. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again: live & let live :)!!

  3. lady lock and load

    I totally agree with Batya. The post sounded very judgemental of these frum people and what they are wearing to work out in and where they work out. You wrote “if you are so frum” SIX times, trying to drive home the point that if you are so frum, why are you in the coed work out room? I say MYOB. To each his own. You’re in a public gym, not a shul.

    P.S. Just wait till ya see what I work out in, toots! And no, I do not allow any pics! 😉

  4. I’ve seen this too and wondered the same. I think it’s natural to be curious because seeing it is like cognitive dissonance – I don’t think it’s judgmental to question something you don’t understand…

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