Northwest Women’s Show

Saturday I had an interesting day at the Northwest Women’s Show. Dave and Nancy from the CrossFit North gym were there with their Olympia chiropractor friend Wendy, to help her promote her kettlebell classes that she gives on the side. Wendy gave a talk on a small stage to about 20 people. Another gym member and I helped out a little by demonstrating kettlebell exercises at Dave’s prompting. It was fun to feel confident enough to do that instead of too self-conscious or nervous. But it was also disheartening to look, with fitness and exercise in mind, at the people watching us or walking around the show. Most of the women looked completely unaccustomed to exercise and seemed to show in their faces that they couldn’t even imagine getting back in shape. They seemed to find us impossible to relate to–a lot of women glanced at the kettlebells in the booth or at the video and immediately looked away, and others said variations on “I can’t exercise.” One older woman wanted to hold the 24-kg kettlebell to see how heavy it was, and her daughter exclaimed, “Don’t pick that up! Your uterus will fall out!” Another woman saw Dave’s silly T-shirt slogan, “Get Fit or Die Trying,” which is from an in-joke at the gym, and told him “that’s exactly why I don’t exercise.”
I realized it is mutual–I almost can’t relate to people who avoid exercise and gain loads of weight. I caught myself wondering, what do they think about? If they can’t walk 100 feet without getting out of breath, and they’re not interested in learning how to exercise safely, then, have they just resigned themselves to an early death and are fine with that? Maybe this is a case of a problem seeming almost cruelly complicated–which it is–and it is easier to look the other way.
Nancy and I took some time to walk around and look at some of the other booths. A lot of them were promoting faddish stuff like supplements, unlikely weight-loss methods (“Ephedra is Back!”), and rhinestone jewelry. Others were about massage, chiropractors, life coaching, cooking, cleaning, remodeling, and enhancing your sex life. In other words, it was sort of like a shopping mall meets a travelling carnival, setting up for a few days, extracting a bunch of money from visitors, then folding up. I’m not clear on who the target demographic is or if it’s more of a vague plan including anything that the organizers think will attract these creatures called Women. I didn’t see anything that would be sold at REI–skis, snowboards, bikes, hiking boots. Based on what I saw, these Women creatures are obviously not active outdoorspeople. Curves for Women had a booth and a workout machine you could try. I hope they signed up three-quarters of the people who visited the show, because a lot of people need to save their own lives. And I hope Wendy the chiropractor signed up a few would-be kettlebellers.
Wendy’s web site is I can’t find my URL button to link it inside the text for some reason.

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