Single Sex Fitness Centers Draw Controversy

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

The first men's only fitness club in the area has people talking about legal discrimination.

Cut's Fitness For Men co-manager Kenneth Kaiser doesn't want his gym to stand out for being the only men-only fitness center in the area. "Most people come here because they're looking for a quick workout. That's why they come here. It's not a male-female kind of thing."

A 2003 law makes single sex fitness clubs legal in Wisconsin.
But Representative Terese Berceau (D-Madison) says the word fitness is vague. "I don't know how long we'll hold on to that narrow definition of fitness because why wouldn't golfing be considered fitness?"

Berceau says it's the next step off the slippery slope towards the separate but unequal sexism of decades past. "This could lead to country clubs or golf clubs deciding that now it's a men's only club or men get better hours again."

Kaiser says he's doesn't see a controversy. "To be honest I'm not sure what it's all about. There's been female clubs for a number of years without any issue. The first male club comes in and we all of a sudden have a controversy?"

Denny Sweeney says works out at Cuts for the convenience and the price, so he doesn't get all worked up about the question of sexism. "That's a political question. The law currently says it's fine. There's a place down the corner that's all women. I know there are people that go there because it's not intimidating. I think there's people that come here because it's not intimidating as well."

That place down the corner is Contours Express. Owner Teri Hottmann says it's similar to the Curves franchise in that it allows women a pressure free environment. " We advertise that we're exclusively women. If a man really wants to join we do allow that. We've never had one because our equipment is set up for women."

Kaiser says Cuts has a similar policy. "The policy here is women can join. That's the corporate policy. With that said we have some issues with showers, changing rooms, the equipment is designed for men, the workout is designed for men."

Single sex fitness is very popular. Curves for Women is a nationwide chain, and Cuts Fitness for Men has 170 locations around the country.
Kaiser says there are plans for 2 more Cuts around Madison.

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