This year for the first time the College is offering a weight-training class that is geared specifically towards women called “Strong Women.”

The class, called “Strong Women,” focuses on weight and circuit training and is held in the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness basement. Local trainer Ida Messerman developed the class and teaches it on Tuesdays at noon.

“I thought it would give an opportunity for women who want to get involved in weight training or want to get familiar with the gym to come to the class and be comfortable with other women,” Messerman said.

“It also helps to have a professional that can lead them and make sure they are doing the exercises properly and having fun as well as giving them the kickstart to be motivated to come into the gym,” she continued.

The class caters to all different levels of fitness due to the circuit training structure in which participants rotate through different stations.

Messerman said that on the first day of the class there were two people who had never before exercised in Buck.

Fanta Traore ’20 chose to go to the class because she was an athlete in high school and wanted to get involved in some of the fitness programs Bowdoin offers.

“Coming into the class, I was questioning whether or not I’d like it but it turns out that Bowdoin chose a great program in which women can go into the gym between their classes to get a workout in,” she said.

“I like the setting of the Buck basement because you are in your own environment and are able to get in the zone,” Traore added.

The class is limited to 15 people. Messerman wanted to keep the class size small, due not only to the space restriction and to make sure that the participants receive personal feedback.

“Once you start adding more people, it makes it harder to keep track of everybody and how everybody’s doing especially with the different fitness levels that are in there,” Messerman said. “You have to accommodate to all different fitness levels. That was the tricky part there. I have to keep the numbers small to make sure the exercise can be done easily but to also make it more challenging if need be.”

Jeffrey Maher, Director of Health Services, supports the idea of a female-orientated weight training class because it puts an emphasis on strength, as opposed to solely on aerobics.

“To see a program develop that focuses more on strength brings back some of that good balance that people miss,” said Maher.

Messerman enjoys teaching the class and hopes that more women continue to attend.

“A big part of my job is to help people feel confident in doing what they are doing at the gym so that they keep coming back,” Messerman said.

“My hope is that I’ll see the same faces from class to class and that that will give them the strength to say, ‘I feel better, I’m comfortable, and I can take this to another level,’” she added.