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Saturday, April 20, 2024

LGBT-friendly fitness groups begin this quarter at the ARC

The clanging of barbells, pounding of treadmills and smell of exercise can sometimes make even the most fitness-conscious people reluctant to work out. But what about students who don’t feel the magnetic pull to the ARC to begin with?

“The space at the gym can be intimidating for anyone, especially LGBT people,” said Liz Montegary, a fitness trainer and graduate student in cultural studies. “It’s a place with very rigid gender roles – where men are expected to do things to get their body to look a certain way and women are supposed to do other things to get their body to look another way.”

Circuit Party, one the classes offered by Fitness and Wellness’ new Small Group Training program, aims to create a comfortable environment to introduce LGBT students to the gym. Taught by Montegary, the class is specifically for LGBT identified and LGBT-friendly students of all fitness levels.

“I’m very excited about creating an explicitly queer fitness base on campus,” Montegary said. “To my knowledge, there is no existing fitness program for queer and trans-identified people.”

Each class will consist of circuits of resistance exercises and cardio intervals, and will build on the fitness acquired from the previous class. The cumulative goal for the 10-week class is for participants to become comfortable at the ARC while learning the basics of strength training.

“My hope is to create a really inclusive, friendly environment where people who might feel unwelcome at the gym can get introduced to different approaches to fitness and incorporate that in to their own lives,” Montegary said.

New for Spring 2010, the Small Group Training program is the offspring of buddy training classes, where students can work out with a friend. Four participants is the minimum necessary to create a small group, while the maximum ranges from 10 to 15, depending on the course’s location, said Elisabeth Sherratt, associate director of Fitness and Wellness.

“It’s for people who want the price of group training but might not have a buddy with the same fitness goals,” she said. “Sometimes fitness professionals make assumptions about the gender of their clients and what they want their bodies to look like.”

Small Group Training classes are different from physical education classes because they are tailored to the groups’ specific athletic goals and taught by personal trainers, rather than assistant coaches of sports teams, Sherrat said.

Classes cost between $65 and $85, and also include pre- and post- body composition tests, which measure the percentage of muscle and fat on the body.

A normal personal training session at the ARC is valued at $35, and a body composition test at $20, according to the Campus Recreation website.

“The test serves as a benchmark of the results throughout the program, and it’s a $40 value to have that included in the class price,” Sherratt said.

Registration for Small Group Training opened Monday, and runs through Apr. 10.

MIKE DORSEY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


  1. I’m sorry, but as someone who is gay, I find this class ridiculous. There’s no existing program like this anywhere because it’s a dumb idea! I’ve never felt awkward at the gym and I don’t know why anyone of any orientation, race, gender, etc. would. Basically, what I’m saying is that the ARC has generalized their perception of the gay community to believe that we are so afraid of the gym (which we’re not) that we need our own special class. I could argue that skinny Asian guys feel self-conscious at the gym — will they get their own class too?


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