tying tennis shoes
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Gender and Turbo Kick

Victoria, the group fitness instructor, leads a hip rotation movement in the middle of an ab routine she created. I am the only regularly attending male in the primarily female Turbo Kick class of 25-35 participants. I focus on my core muscles while rotating my hips, but I have a little bit of trouble given that my back is tight. “Alright! Really engage your entire core with this one!” Victoria challenges the class.

This is Turbo Kick.

Turbo Kick, created by Beachbody, is a combination of traditional kickboxing and high-intensity interval training to the rhythm of contemporary upbeat music. Turbo Kick has a regimented half hour of cardio revolving around arm, leg and ab exercises followed by a two-minute high-BPM “turbo” time, a 15-minute lower intensity section, specialized leg, arm and core routines, and a warm down stretch to end it all. Despite the predominantly female attendance, Turbo Kick is and has always been a co-ed class.

This same routine is done every class session, but sometimes males other than myself attend the class, and something different happens.

Victoria leads a hip rotation movement in the middle of the same ab routine. A group of guys show up to the class for the first time. They’ve been laughing and half-attempting the routine for the past 45 minutes. The rest of us rotate our hips, and one of the newcomers even lets out an “Ooooooo…” while his friends giggle. “I know that this move feels silly, but it engages your entire core!” Victoria reassures the class.

Why does this happen? Why does a shift in the gender balance change the dynamic so much? Read More

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