Monday, February 11, 2008

Weighty Questions

Today, at the gym, I did a front squat and maxed out at 145lbs. Even I am amazed. I am pretty strong, and always have been, but it makes me feel very accomplished to achieve something that seems so impossible. I also ran 1.5 miles, did around 40 push ups, 40 squats, 20 lunges, a bunch of push presses, and worked on doing a "clean" which is a really difficult move. All in all, according to my Polar heart rate monitor, I burned 908 calories in 48minutes. Not too shabby. So, why post it here?

Back to tznius. I go to a gym that does group personal training. 4-5 people share a trainer and we do lots of different exercises using free weights, rowing machines, rope climbing, running, etc. Recently, I started wearing a skirt to the gym. I wear a pair of close fitting pants and then put this loose cotton skirt on top of them. I wear a long sleeve, loose t-shirt and tennis shoes. I have been looking for skirts that are better options, and all I can find are these running skirts that are quite short but better than pants, maybe. But, even so, I doubt that what I am doing is really acceptable. Although my trainer is a female, men are sometimes in my group and they are frequently often in the gym. The people who go are mostly older than I am, married and with an established career, and I have never felt that anyone was there being distracted by un-tznius thoughts. However, how do I know?

But here's my issue. How can I get exercise and be tznius? I know some FFB girls who run in pants, even on the sidewalk. I know some women who have treadmills and rowing machines in their homes. From experience, I know that I need to have someone who pushes me to work out. Usually, this has been in the form of paying money (even though I have had something available at school), and having a trainer (who calls if I do not show). So, staying in my house wouldn't work. Also, the type of workout which is most effective, and enjoyable, is not safe to do by myself. If I attend a women's only gym, I still risk that men will come in to get their wives, as janitors, lost and confused, etc.

I know that women, even dressed tznius, are not really supposed to dance in front of men. However, exercise is for health and dancing is for fun. Does that matter? If I somehow find a way to have a skirt that covers my knees, is my gym class acceptable? If someone needs to go through physical therapy similar to exercise, are they allowed to have men present? At what point is something necessary enough for health that a heter is given? If someone has been instructed to exercise by a doctor is it more important than someone who knows they should exercise just to remain healthy? Does it matter if everyone at the gym is not-Jewish?

1 comment:

Aunt EM said...

I'm wonder the same thing...scouring the internet for "Frum Runners" or the like. I'm not yet converted, but working on Halachic conversion. Just had my first meeting w/ local Rabbi last week.
I run. I love it. It is healthy. But I wonder if I will have to give up exercise in name of Tznius?
Glad you least I know there is someone else out there with same concerns...