Hanging With the Boys

opposite-sex-585My husband offers boot camps in the park twice a week and occasionally I will go with him to cheer for and encourage folks. I’ve written about the benefits of such behaviors before, and it still stands as truth in my book. I’m inspired and encouraged by those who attend. Each time I learn something new, and my last boot camp session was no different.

Mark separated folks into three different groups. One group consisted of two fellas (a father and son) and the mom/wife, Susan. I watched her beast it out (without many breaks) during the workout. She looked frustrated as heck, but she looked anything but weak or less-than when it came to keeping up with the boys. In fact, I noticed a marked increase in her strength and fitness levels. I asked if she was doing okay and while she agreed it was frustrating trying to keep with dudes who were faster than she was, she liked the challenge. She was having fun and getting faster and stronger in the process and it got me thinking …

A long time ago I flew to Vancouver and listened to the Winter Olympians talk about how they trained with the fellas and how it made them better. Ellery Hollingsworth particularly caught my attention because she thrived off of snowboarding with her brothers growing up. I stress the word thrived. She’s this awesome athlete, and she had no qualms about admitting that she had to train with the big boys in order to improve and grow awesome.

As a self-proclaimed feminist I cringe a little thinking about the physiology of men and women and how guys are just stronger buggers than we are. They may be able to bench more (on the average), BUT it’s an even playing field when it comes to the amount of heart our genders each have. Playing with the boys, lifting with the boys and working out with the boys keeps us challenged, and if being challenged leads to growing stronger, so be it!

Susan definitely was my shero for the week. She awakened in me a new need to challenge myself. Now when my husband asks me to go running with him or lift with him, I won’t moan and groan. I will rise to the challenge and grunt with the big boys and girls equally.

What about you? Do you like mixing it up and working out with the fellas, women? Care to share how working out with the opposite sex made you better/faster/stronger? —Tish

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  1. Dan says:

    My GF regularly works out with me either at the gym or in the park. I love the company and she is so competitive, I know she loves the challenge. I do get worried sometimes when her competitiveness gets in the way of working out safely. To all the girlfriends out there I would say “go for it”, your man will love your more for it.

  2. Erica says:

    I find this post very interesting. I work out with my boyfriend. He has ran a few marathons while I have run a few half marathons and done some mud runs. Arguably, we are both in great shape. However, on the occasions when we work out together, he gets frustrated and we end up doing our own things in the gym because he feels he is LESS in shape than me. I worked out with several WOMEN who are all much more fit than I am and never have felt more proud of myself for keeping up with them.

    I think it is less about “playing with guys” as it is about pushing yourself to work out with people who may be at a higher fitness level than you. Overcoming that fear of looking stupid or holding the group back speaks volumes about yourself. Accepting a challenge and putting your body through something it isn’t normally used to is key to achieving a new limit!

  3. Hollis says:

    If playing with the boys encourages and challenges you, go for it!

    Qualms, hmmm, I’m impressed, I don’t believe I’ve ever used that word in any paper I’ve written,,,,,,see you encouraged me in this article, two-fold!

  4. My husband and I have been working out together for many years! We motivate each other to keep pushing hard and not let our mind tell our body we can’t finish boot camp or what ever we’re doing that day. I have seen my body get stronger keeping up with him and he enjoys having a partner to work out with. Married 28 years and plan to keep this up until we can’t. ?