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The intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of the two opposite sexes towards working out. My observational research was conducted at the University of Saskatchewan PAC gym. I decided to go on a Friday evening since it was the beginning of the weekend. Upon entering the gym, there were four different major sections. The back of the gym consisted of free weights and deadlift weights. Mirrors were placed on the walls in the back where the free weights were located. Cardio equipment was at the front of the gym which consisted of ellipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills. There was a big room where there was a bunch of core exercise equipment and there was a Zumba session going on. I decided to do my observation while working out so that I could blend in with the rest of the people who were working out and tried not to be creepy.

The observation was a success and I got to learn a lot and experiment with the theories that we learned in our health studies class and apply them to a real-life situation between the male and the female’s workout sessions. The first thing I noticed was the separation of the sexes between the sections of the gym. Out of the twenty-five or so females occupying the gym on that afternoon, the majority of them were located at the front section of the gym which is the cardio section. They all seemed to be evenly distributed among the three different types of machines. From the health studies perspective, society often compares attractiveness with being skinny for women. The physical characteristics of females in the cardio section would concur with this theory. I considered that most females would not feel feminine enough using the free weights because the free weight section was occupied by lots of males. It is possible that the girls may not have felt comfortable in an area surrounded by so many men. I also observed the weighing scale, it was obvious that the guys were interested in gaining weight. They seemed to have the idea the bigger the better. Whenever the girls would step on the scale they were mostly alone and shy.

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Most girls seemed to be much more insecure about their weight as it must be a more sensitive issue for them. It was really interesting with the idea that there is a huge difference in what most men and women aspire to look like. Generally, males want to gain muscle mass and strength while most females just want to lose fat. There are, however, variations between genders of both sexes. What felt good during the observation was the etiquette and respect that everyone showed to each other for example, people would clean up their equipment after use, and others would help their friends on the squatting bar and with their bench press workouts. It felt like it was a family union because of how everyone related to everyone with their workout session. The challenge I faced while doing my observation was that it can often be very impersonal because there was not enough room or time to socialize. Although some people come to the gym with close primary groups to socialize and make their gym experience more enjoyable and that was one of the experiences that I would try to improve to make my observation more fun. Overall, I would consider the gym a social aggregate. People go to the gym for different reasons, for example, health reasons, and other people go to the gym to achieve a certain level of physical fitness.

Most of my observations were about the social construction of gender between men and women in the gym environment. Partly because of their interpretation of their aspiring self-image and the motivation they had to achieve their body goals and also partly because of a lack of confidence they might feel when associating their characteristic with that of the opposite sex. Based on the data from my observation, one of my health questions was, does working out guarantee someone more extension to life, or according to research done, why do women live longer than men the gym ratio during my observation was that there were many males than females doing their exercise. As a health service user, my insights from my health observation that I applied to my real-life experience outside research was that a little bit of exercise can make you feel happier, it can also help with weight loss, increase in bones and muscle strength and it also reduces your risk of chronic diseases and also improves your sleep quality.

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Participant Observation at a Gym Essay.
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