UBC Undergraduate Research

An Assessment of UBC Women’s Only Fitness Hours Group 11 Project F Keshavarzi, Sheida; Lee, Amanda; Teply, Rachel; Tome, Vanessa; Tyrer, Jacqueline


The University of British Columbia (UBC) Recreation aims to provide equity for students who self-identify as a woman by providing Women’s Only Fitness Hours (WOFH). These predetermined hours each week allow self-identifying women to enjoy private exercising times in the ARC Lower-Level Studio. In collaboration with campus partners such as UBC Rec and UBC’s Social Ecological Economic Development Studies (SEEDS), the study aimed to analyze UBC’s WOFH. After conducting an in-depth literature review on barriers to women in co-ed gyms and past SEEDS research on WOFH, it was clear barriers such as confidence, gender coding, and education were apparent. As well, there was an overall lack of awareness of UBC’s WOFH. For this reason, the purpose of this study was to 1) assess student awareness of UBC’s WOFH and how this can be improved, and 2) propose strategies to educate program participants about common gym FAQs and specific equipment use. The study used an online Qualtrics survey and a mixed-methods approach, collecting quantitative and qualitative data from a total of 81 participants. After data collection concluded, the authors used thematic analysis and measures of central tendency to interpret the results. The quantitative data was summarized using bar graphs, while the qualitative data was summarized through tables. Out of the 81 survey responders, 77 met the survey criteria based on the exclusion criteria which was limited to those who self-identified as women, were current UBC students, and were not varsity athletes. While the survey was open to students of all education levels at UBC, an overwhelming majority of survey responses came from undergraduate students (95%). Regarding the awareness of WOFH, the results indicated that 64% of participants were unaware of WOFH and that 36% were aware of WOFH but did not attend. 41% of participants said they were not confident using gym equipment and 67% agreed that more knowledge about the gym and its equipment would increase their likelihood of participation. Based on the findings regarding the experience of the 9% of survey participants who had attended WOFH, many were comfortable with the space provided, however, others mentioned the need for a larger space with more equipment options. The attendees had valuable insight towards recommendations which included low-cost personal training options, increasing the number of hours WOFH provides, and including group-based fitness class options. Based on these findings, four recommendations were created to improve WOFH. First, increasing posts on UBC Rec’s social media platforms and more posters throughout campus were recommended to increase student awareness. Second, to improve knowledge of equipment, instructional videos through QR machines and basic workout videos and posters on the UBC Rec website were proposed. Next, to combat the concern of finances, the program can provide affordable memberships for those who strictly use WOFH. Finally, UBC’s WOFH can increase their hours by providing more available days and hours to increase attendance. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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