Women and girls who feel intimidated lifting weights or exercising next to a man can feel at home at Ahwatukee CrossFit.

CrossFit is an exercise program designed to teach people how to use functional movements and high intensity to reach the best results. The workouts are constantly varied to keep participants engaged and working hard. CrossFit gyms are instructor led with small class sizes so it's like each participant has a personal trainer.

Ahwatukee CrossFit is the only CrossFit gym designed just for women. After having success in Chandler with Tribal CrossFit in Chandler, Rebecca Parent, co-owner and trainer, began to notice many women were not reaching their potential.

"The girls would come in and see the guys, and they're lifting more weight, and it was kind of testosterone fest, so to speak," Parent said. "A lot of people automatically walk in and think they can't do it before they even try. The basis for this is it's all women and it's supported by women."

The gym works by appointment only to keep classes small and coaching personalized. Workouts are quick and high intensity to potentially get good results in under a half hour. They begin with a warm-up, practice lifting, lift of the week to learn something new, and then the workout of the day, or WOD.

Ahwatukee CrossFit doesn't only cater to older women. Parent has decided to offer an after-school workout for high school-aged girls as well.

"They have all the classes for the boys with football and basketball but they don't have any weight training classes for the girls," Parent said. "I know they offer them in the schools but I do have clients that weren't getting the quality training that they needed. It's an un-intimidating environment for them and I'm seeing more confidence."

Though the program was created to help young women in sports, it is open to young women ages 14 to 19, who just want a good workout. The girls class is open Monday through Thursday from 3:45 to 5 p.m., but the girls are not obligated to stay the entire time.

The gym also works with a dietitian to teach nutrition. They run on the belief that abs are made in the kitchen.

With so much going on Parent just hopes to bring change to young girls.

"Girls should give it a chance to gain confidence, better body image and feel good about themselves. They're going to increase their strength and some of them, I hate to say, need to lose weight," Parent said. "Parents invest money in $100 jeans, why not spend $95 and your kid can come to 16 classes a month with a personal trainer. It's silly not to."

For November the gym is offering a special of $75 for the first month of training to women and girls. For more information on Ahwatukee CrossFit, visit ahwatukeecrossfit.com or call (480) 818-6781.

Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.

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