Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm curious - for those of you who go to gyms in France - do you find French women particularly uncoordinated? Because I frequently go to the exercise classes at my gym and I can never get over how difficult it seems to be for the françaises. Most have trouble following the sequences, keeping time or doing more than one movement at once. It's like they have very little control over or awareness of their bodies. And I'm wondering if this is because the majority of French women don't play any sort of sport when they're younger?

I don't know about in other countries, but in the US (or at least in Ksam's America), it's quite common for young women/teens to play at least one sport. I guess it helps that most American high schools offer a wide selection of athletic activities, which really isn't the case in France (and even less so for women). But I just find it so odd though - here French women have this reputation for being graceful and comfortable in their skin, but put them in gym clothes and they flop around like wet fish!

17 Comments:

Blogger DiaryofWhy said...

I KNEW I was supposed to have been French! I could never follow any of those exercise/dance routines, on video or whatever. And I DID play sports when I was younger - softball, basketball, track. I guess I am just missing the exer-dance gene. :)

February 13, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

Hey! I'm the least coordinated person EVER in a gym. But I can look like I'm walking on water in 4 inch heels. :P

February 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger shannon said...

I played sports when I was younger, but I am VERY uncoordinated! I can never follow any of those kinds of exercise routines, and I usually end up tripping over my own two feet at some point. Hmm... maybe I should join a class with French women...

February 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hmm, no, I don't remember that being the case. Though maybe Americans just have more experience with aerobic routines from an earlier age.

February 13, 2010 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

lol that's so funny! I've only taken Yoga classes in Paris but I can only imagine! I remember taking Jazzercise and Step and all kinds of aerobics in school when I was a kid. I can't imagine that they were offering much of that in France :)

February 13, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

That, combined with different notions about personal space, can be frustrating for me. No matter how carefully I choose my spot, some lady always ends up running into me.

February 13, 2010 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Global Librarian said...

Hey! Maybe I wouldn't feel so out of place in France? I tend to avoid gym classes because I have an unfortunate habit of constantly doing the wrong thing and bumping into other people.

February 13, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Blogger Dedene said...

In my experience, at the Gymnase Club (Porte Maillot) many years ago, the women didn't move much at all because they were wearing makeup and didn't want to sweat.

More recently, I can say that many françaises are very uncomfortable doing anything physical, they do not sweat, and they don't take showers after gym classes.

February 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Cécy said...

We do have sports in school. There is a mandatory 2h of sports in school until you graduate from high school.
It usually involves basket-ball, football, climbing, swimming, running, volley-ball and hand-ball.

Now I went once in my life to a gym class: steps. I sucked, big time, no coordination whatsoever on my side. The ladies around me did seem to know what they were doing though. Maybe it's more the type of sports we do...

February 14, 2010 at 1:21 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I still do sports but CANNOT take one of those classes. In Italy, only very coordinated women take the classes and are amazing at following the steps. I took one once. Never again!

I guess in France it's okay to not be coordinated and still take the classes. Maybe I should considering moving.

February 14, 2010 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hi Sam,

I've been going to my gym for over 3 years now and I have been to classes and the French women (an men) have absolutely no problem following alone-- maybe the odd one here and there-- but that's normal!
Plus, the instructors for step and aerobics are pretty advanced in terms of choreography - so when I used to go... I was usually the one who couldn't get a few of the steps from time to time-- even though I have had YEARS of experience in both step and aerobics!
There are women of all ages at my gym.. and they're all pretty coordinated-- and slim-- the people at my gym are all really nice and I always make new friends there and I really love it!

February 14, 2010 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

P.S. Whenever you are a new student or you tend to have a more difficult time, anyways... as you don't know the "routine" of the steps in class...
When I used to work out in the states with step and aerobics and had a new instructor-- it always took me a few times to get used to that person...
NOTE: There were always a few tricky moves that I NEVER seemed to get, no matter how long I was going there-- I'm not very coordinated! I guess that's what I REALLY love about spinning.. You don't have to go anywhere but on your bike!!!

February 14, 2010 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Sev said...

I know we (french) don't do as much sport as americans however I don't agree when you say girls tend not to practice sport. I think all my friends (girls and boys) used to practice a sport when younger, that's what wednesdays afternnoons are for...(no school on wednesdays). Anyway, you can suscribe to many clubs and practice, tennis, gym, dance, baket, judo as kids, maybe it's more like a leisure and not a serious/competition sport for many but still...

February 15, 2010 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger jonnifer said...

I go to a ballet-style gym class and the women there put me and my anglophone coworkers to shame. I think they must be former dancers. At run races and triathlons there's a mix of totally lame and really good - not unlike US races, except that the proportion of women is noticeably smaller.

If you want to see literal flopping like fish (uncoordinated ones) go to a pool! It's not just the women though, it's everyone!!

February 15, 2010 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Mouse said...

Can one be both coordinated and chic? That's the question!

February 15, 2010 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Ksam said...

These comments are hilarious - I guess it is definitely not just a French problem! Maybe my gym just tends to attract more of the clumsies since it's for women only??

February 15, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Shakesrear said...

Perhaps it's because academics are so emphasized in France? I know for my daughter, I need to make the tough decision each school vacation whether to put her in sports or something academic (like English!). I try to favor sports because she definitely doesn't do enough during school time. And it's only going to get worse when homework starts coming in.

And I don't agree with the comment that sports are more for leisure in France. What I've noticed is that the sports clubs start competitions very early and the pressure to perform is high. Apparently the clubs are subsidized based on their win ratios, so they have to emphasize competition.

I have a feeling that it's more that the French are less encouraged to move freely and are more used to having precise, choreographed movements. This is a nation with total faith and reliance on leadership.

February 18, 2010 at 10:59 AM  

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