A very small number of the 16, 201 male students on the Tampa campus are participating in Group Fitness, a program provided by Campus Recreation.
The program had 10,182 participants last fall, of which only 9.23 percent were male. According to data provided by Susan Hamilton, the Group Fitness coordinator, 2,842 females attended sessions in October 2011, but only 304 males participated.
So far this spring, 3,178 students have attended the live classes and 90.4 percent were female.
Sophomore Hart Collier said he spends 15 hours a week lifting weights and wouldn’t spend an hour of that time on Group Fitness sessions.
“I’d rather play basketball,” he said. “It’s not manly! You’re not going to see a guy trying to get jacked doing Zumba.”
Kayla Keene, the Pilates and boxing trainer at Campus Recreation, said out of the 50 students who attend her classes, only two to three are males.
“Guys want to work with weights and not a lot of weights are used in fitness classes,” Keene said. “The guys that come think it’s great. But the guys that don’t come are kind of prejudiced towards the classes.”
The Yoga Sculpt class uses weights. Amanda Reddick, a certified Yoga Sculpt trainer, said using 7.5 pounds is tough for guys and once they realize that they keep coming back. There is a 100 percent retention rate among males in her class.
“Guys think they won’t get anything out if it,” she said. “But every guy that I have had are regulars because of how much they’ve liked the class.”
“I’ve done Zumba, Cardio Funk and Cardio Pilates,” said John Hanson, a regular at Group Fitness sessions who alternates weights and cardio daily. “There’s nothing girly about them. They’re just activities in cardio.”
Collier said lifting weights is tougher. “If you gave me two weeks to work towards Zumba, I would be able to progress faster than them if they were to lift for two weeks,” he said.
Hanson disagrees. “It will knock them on their ass, they just don’t know that,” he said. “Cardio Pilates was a lot harder than any weights I’ve ever done.”
The trainers and the male attendees said they will continue to persuade male students to give Group Fitness a chance so they can reap its benefits and end the prejudice.