Belfast Telegraph

New equality measures weigh heavy down at the gym

By Robert McNeil

Women are becoming more like men every day, and I'm not convinced this is a good thing. Still, it's right and fair that we should all be equal. Up to a point.

How then to take news that staff in sports clubs could soon be prosecuted for warning women not to lift heavy weights? Well, the way to take this is to sigh insouciantly. Surely this measure, contained in new equality laws, is making a mountain out of a dumbbell.

In a gym, folk find their own level and don't lift what's beyond them, as a matter of common sense. If they put their back out trying, then tough. They won't do it again. For women, aesthetic as well as safety considerations must be taken into account. If women want to lift weights, that's their prerogative. I've been lifting weights for years and now have biceps that are almost as big as Madonna's. If they can't turn me into a hulk, I don't think they'll have that much effect on women.

Another casualty of the legislation could be women-only nights or classes at gyms. I once asked to attend a class in something like Bodyinflate, Bodyknacker, or some such, and was told it was women-only. “It's to encourage women from ethnic minorities,” the lass on reception said. “Oh right, fair enough,” I said, being a reasonable chap. “Do you get many coming?” I asked. “None,” she replied.

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