Kristina Maury graduated summa cum laude from Howard University in 2007, earning a B.A. in broadcast journalism. She is a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2011. In her free time she enjoys sampling new dishes, finding time for fitness, and blogging for Diet.com.

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Fitness U.

by Kristina Maury, Collegiate Correspondent

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I’ll be the first to admit, my gym’s testosterone-laden weight area is a bit intimidating and before I started personal training sessions, I’d avoid the weight equipment altogether.

I’ve often wondered if I would get a better workout in a female-only facility.

Harvard University had to address a related issue when a group of six Muslim women, with the support of the Harvard College Women's Center, asked the university for special women-only hours. The group of women didn’t feel comfortable exercising among men due to religious and cultural reasons.

In response to their request, Harvard University banned men from one of its gyms for a few hours a week. Now, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays and between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays, men are not allowed to use the gym’s facilitates and the gym is staffed by female employees doing those hours.

It was certainly a controversial move on the school’s part and many students feel that the restriction on gym usage is unfair. Others don’t mind, deeming it a matter of tolerance and respect. What do you think?

Grade C: I admire Harvard’s responsiveness to its students’ unique needs but I think this should only be a temporary solution. It would be great if Harvard created a smaller, female-only facility. Until then, I’ll have to deal with male undergraduates who take up space in the law school gym on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

ABOUT ME: In undergrad, my idea of exercise included dancing in clubs into the wee hours and walking to and from classes. As for my diet, breakfast consisted of Red Bulls and 3 a.m. IHOP visits, lunch was generally non-existent and pizza was a late-night staple. Now that I'm in grad school, I've come to realize the important roles that health and fitness play when it comes to academic success. I'm no longer "allergic" to sweat and I make an effort to fit the gym into my hectic schedule. Although I'm still no stranger to Red Bull, my new and improved lifestyle is helping me to make the grade.

@ 7:48am ET on February 11, 2009
Wouldn't it have been easier to make one section a women's only area - my gym has a women's only section and it works well for those that feel they need it! To be honest I prefer the larger co-ed area because the women's only sections can get a little 'catty' if you know what I mean.
I applaud Harvard on their attempt to address it but they need to work toward a section that can be women only - just my opinion! Patty

@ 2:40pm ET on May 6, 2009
So if they had a women only area, would they then have to get a men only area? only seems fair.



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