All Girls CrossFit Class Proposed

Cleveland considers this option to increase the number of girls participating in CrossFit

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All Girls CrossFit Class Proposed

Sophomore Jordyn Hoff works out in co-ed crossfit class.

Sophomore Jordyn Hoff works out in co-ed crossfit class.

Clarion photo Lily Tewfik

Sophomore Jordyn Hoff works out in co-ed crossfit class.

Clarion photo Lily Tewfik

Clarion photo Lily Tewfik

Sophomore Jordyn Hoff works out in co-ed crossfit class.

By Lily Tewfik, Reporter

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One of today’s most popular workout trends, CrossFit, has become a staple at Cleveland, and with so many strong, empowering female athletes in the community, the classes should be filled with girls itching to join the craze. However, the uneven boy-to-girl ratio is an issue that puzzles, and frustrates, many.

Miranda Weaver, CrossFit instructor, wants to fix the problem by adding an all girls class to the schedule next year in the hope of alleviating the nervousness that some girls may feel about joining CrossFit.

“The CrossFit classes at Cleveland are about 80 percent male, and that number needs to change. Girls need strength training in their lives and it is unacceptable that only 20 percent of the CrossFit students at Cleveland are female,” said Weaver.

This all girls class hasn’t been widely broadcasted to the student population, but according to Weaver, the students that she has mentioned it to are very excited about the possibility.

However, Lanie Neher, senior, has conflicting feelings about the possibility of an all girls class.

“CrossFit is meant to be a community of people who work out together to achieve a common goal. Gender divided CrossFit classes would bring a different community. I enjoy working with other female athletes because they are my biggest supporters and competition at the same time. We work together because we have similar strengths and push each other to be better. But, that doesn’t mean male athletes don’t push me to be better too,” said Neher.

Neher agrees that the current male-to-female ratio is an issue that needs to be addressed, and is excited about the possibility that the proposed class “would highlight that women can CrossFit at a high level and be competitive,” but feels very strongly that an all-boys class would not be beneficial to the community. She is also concerned that the sense of teamwork and community that has built up between genders would be lost. Neher thinks that instead of breaking up into gendered classes, there should instead be more encouragement for girls to join CrossFit.

Weaver, however, has no plans to institute an all boys class. The co-ed class will continue to be an option, but the all girls class will be there to try and reach a certain population within the school that is reluctant to join the co-ed classes.

Even with her hesitations, Neher admits that an all girls class may have been beneficial to herself in her sophomore year.

“As a sophomore, I was often nervous in my CrossFit class because the junior and senior boys were really intimidating. So I didn’t work as hard as I could have. But by my junior year I began to actually enjoy working out and worked well with my male friends. Maybe it was because I was an upperclassman. Now, as a senior, I couldn’t see CrossFit without my male friends. I am now confident enough in my skills that I am comfortable working in a co-ed class. Perhaps sophomore year I would have benefitted from an all-girls class, but now I want to be surrounded by great athletes of all genders,” said Neher.

Weaver wishes to do just this. She wants an all girls class to “help some of our female students at Cleveland feel more confident in the weight room without any added social stress and pressure.” She hopes that with this class, girls can feel less intimidated by the weight room and gain the courage to sign up for the co-ed classes the next year.

According to Neher, Weaver has already worked hard to be accommodating to female athletes at Cleveland, and she applauds Weaver’s efforts to be more inclusive and supporting of women athletes in CrossFit. Neher feels especially so with students coming from Speed and Strength Training (SST) their freshman year, which she believes can breed macho behavior in boys, preventing girls from wanting to sign up for CrossFit.

“Given it is co-ed, there is a gender dynamic where the boys tend to dominate. Mrs. Weaver has done a great job in the CrossFit classes the past two years allowing girls to have their own leaderboard and showing us that girls can be strong,” said Neher.

Maeve Conway, senior, agreed with Neher about the issues presented with freshmen in SST. Conway is a mentor in a SST class and said that the class is usually split 50/50 between girls and boys, but once the students reach CrossFit, the number of girls drops significantly. She believes that the program should be tackling the problem at the freshman level, possibly by making an all girls class for freshmen, rather than older students.

Conway added that she always asks the girls in her classes if they plan on joining CrossFit next year. The most common answer as to why girls aren’t taking CrossFit for the next year has to do with availability in their schedule.

“It’s also a lot more girls that do full IB. I try to make sure I talk to all the girls in my freshman class to see if they’re doing CrossFit, and a lot of the time they just can’t fit it into their schedule,” said Conway.

Conway said that after thinking about the possibility of an all girls class, she has mixed reactions.

“At first, I wasn’t really for it, and then I thought a little bit more about it and I have two opinions. One is as girls we can totally handle ourselves with guys, we have no issues, but on the other hand, I’ve talked to some people, and they’re sort of intimidated by it. So, I think it would be pretty cool to try it out, but I would want to be very careful about it — we would be doing the exact same thing that the guys would be doing. Nothing would be different, it would just be an all girls, very cool, empowering class, all together and it’d be a lot of fun,” said Conway.

Camille Christensen, junior, said she feels comfortable in the co-ed classes, and thinks that an all girls class is the not the right approach.

“I believe that if issues are being had, said perpetrators should be dealt with and educated instead of segregating gender,” said Christensen.

Christensen doesn’t think that the class is very necessary, and believes that it would be nuisance to organize an all girls class with the already small number of girls in CrossFit anyway.

Another reason Christensen is hesitant about the idea of an all girls class is that, according to her, the environment between each classes is drastically different.

“The CrossFit environment really depends on the class you are looking at. I am a CrossFitter in seventh period, and a mentor in fifth, and the environment in both of those classes are much different due to the participating students, as have been all the different CrossFit classes I’ve been in at Cleveland,” said Christensen.

Christensen said she would rather the situation continue as it is now, and agreed with Neher that Weaver has done a good job creating an accepting environment to exercise in.

Even still, Weaver wants to continue creating the most accepting environment she can.

“I think an all girls CrossFit class could help some of our females at Cleveland feel more confident in the weight room without any added social stress or pressure,” said Weaver.

Overall, Weaver believes this class is the right move in the goal of getting more girls fit, and is working with Principal Ayesha Freeman to make it a reality. Weaver also added that gender-fluid and non-binary students would be welcome to join whichever class they felt comfortable in.

Even with many mixed reactions to this potential class, the general consensus among CrossFit students is that the number of girls in the classes is an issue that needs to be fixed, and soon.

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