Gym Culture

I basically live two lives. Life number one is based in Austin, Texas, where I am currently completing my masters, and the other life, number two, is when I return to Bahrain to visit family and friends.  My two lives are drastically different from one another, and in a way, mirror my mixed heritage, half Saudi-American, a combination that has never truly allowed me to fit in anywhere. My internal selves are constantly at war with one another, but over the years have found peace and compromise.  One arena the two can agree on is at the gym or during Crossfit, where their clashing ideals no longer attempt to overpower the other, and I can sweat, run, and play without a disruption.

I workout like a beast in Austin and Bahrain, and plan on keeping up my regiment anywhere I go. Yet I have noticed something disturbing about the gyms in Bahrain that I have visited, women are afraid to lift, and are usually found on a cardio machine hardly moving.  When I say lift, you immediately picture a man don’t you? Or at least a meathead with bulging biceps and a really bad tan. But the lift I am talking about is with decent weight, one that will challenge your body to work hard and adapt, make you stronger and leaner, and even prevent osteoporosis! When I worked as a personal trainer in Austin, most of my clients, who were mainly women, wanted the same thing, tone tone tone! I told them that weights were the way to go! Many saw great results and did not bulk up and transform into men with forearms as big as my thigh.

But here, in Bahrain, women don’t want to pick up weight, they want to get on the elliptical or bike, and I don’t mean spinning, I mean the lazy kind where you sit back and basically do minimal amounts of work. Come one ladies! Enough is enough! It is time to really start working out and end this fear of the dreaded weight room. For those women who do lift many claim that men stare, and I reply back “let them stare.”  Hell, I get stared at non-stop when I’m weight room,  the men can’t believe their eyes, a girl is in here lifting real weights?! I take pride in my body, it is tall, strong and lean and I refuse to submit to this cultural norm of separation in the gym.  Even during Crossfit, most ladies won’t add weight to their bar or jump on a higher box because they are either scared, or don’t think they can go any heavier. Yes you can! Women hold so much strength and courage, yet it has been muzzled by the hand of fear and this needs to end! Bahrain is in dire need of a fitness revolution, one that will hopefully erupt across the gyms in Bahrain and create strong toned women! I plan on dethroning cardio queens and rallying ladies to lift and become powerful dumbbell divas. Image




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