Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student


A Closer Look at the Women of Conditioning

Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, the dedicated students of the Conditioning and Speed physical education course pull themselves out of bed and head over to the Anderson Athletic Center’s weight room for the 6:15 a.m. start time. The course consists of about 70 students. A majority of them are members of the Football team, for which the course is mandatory. However, the remainder of the students are voluntary participants, seven of which are female.

According to assistant coach Ryan McElwain, the common goal of the course which is “to increase your overall fitness level as well as awareness” and improve overall “physical and mental health.”

McElwain said that all participants of the course take part in the same activities, regardless of gender. He added that throughout the course he himself does not “motivate the women differently” and that motivation “varies by individual, not by gender.”

Female students Claire McCarthy ’16 and Simone Arora ’15 confirmed McElwain’s statement.

“[The coaches are] very encouraging at whatever level any of us are at,” McCarthy said.

“The coaches really push us in a positive way,” Arora explained.

Coach McElwain reflected on the impact the women have had on the football players.

“The women are inspirational for the football players. They are willing to come and want to get in shape,” he said.

McCarthy said her reasoning for taking the course was that she “missed having a team and being held accountable.”

“I’m doing it for me, not for anyone else,” McCarthy added.

She explained that, although in the beginning she felt a bit uncomfortable and intimated by the football players, she has come to understand that she is not working against them, but working with them.

McCarthy said she has begun to feel more empowered.

“I am using my body in a very physical way. I am proving to myself that I am strong,” she said.

Arora added that her reason for taking the course was that she “wanted to learn something new from people that really know what they’re talking about.”

She said this has definitely become one of her favorite courses she has taken at K.

Fellow student Lauren Zehnder ’17 explained that during the course she has not necessarily become more empowered because she never felt powerless.

“But I definitely feel more confident,” Zehnder said.  She added that she is really enjoying the course and hopes to take it again next year.

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A Closer Look at the Women of Conditioning