This is an actual comment from a YMCA employee as she gave me a tour before I joined. She pointed to the free weight room.
"Oh really? Are women not allowed in here?" I asked.
"No, women are allowed, but it's usually all men. And women don't go in here, because it's.... you know..."
"Too much testosterone?"
Uncomfortable laugh. "Yes. They like using these rooms," she replies as she points to the small rooms to the side with outdated Nautilus-type equipment.
I weight train, about once a week during triathlon season, and twice a week off-season. I notice that weights keep me looking toned and help my overall fitness. In fact, back in Rochester I had a personal trainer, not because I don't know how to lift, but because it was extra incentive to push myself. Back then, I had the time and the money, but Boston is a little more expensive to live in. I sure do miss my trainer Will "Do as I say not as I do" from The Iron Butterfly.
I prefer using free weights as opposed to machines. In other words, I like the stuff in the "men's weight room". And, oddly enough, every time I've been in there, I'm the only woman. I use the free weights, but I also incorporate other items that the macho men wouldn't be caught dead using, like a stability ball or mat.
And I'm sure not going to be intimidated into just using the "Women's weight area".