Gender Wars at the Gym

It used to be that when you said the words “gym,” “workout,” and especially “weight room,” you could practically sniff the testosterone in the air. And the mental picture? Beads of masculine sweat dropping onto filthy mats and the kind of tight muscle tees that only people on HGH favor today.

That was then (the dark ages) and this is now. When it comes to specific fitness activities, today women frequently outnumber men. Women are more likely than men to engage in fitness activities for at least 100 days per year, and many of them are doing it at women’s-only fitness clubs. And professionally, women continue to gain high-profile access to traditionally male sports, as when women’s boxing was added to the 2012 Olympic Games this past August.

But before women claim victory, they have to take a breather. In a given day, men are more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation. And—as every woman knows—life remains unfair. It’s easier for men to see the payoff from their gym habit, since men are more likely than women to lose weight due to exercise. And if a man and a woman shed equal pounds, there’s a good chance he slimmed down with a less-intense workout.

As we start off on a new year, fueled by our resolution to be slim and fit, Book of Odds decided to find out who’s really dominating the gym. The table below examines the top 20 fitness activities, based on participation of at least one time per year. While men might be more active day-to-day, women take the lead in 11 of 20 overall fitness categories and 8 of 11 cardio activities!

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