'Women Only' Gym Movement

Is creating a space that is safe and inclusive of women actually separating them from experiences and knowledge they need?

Curves, Fernwood and even new female designated areas of gyms and special classes titled women only are just the tip of the 'women's only' fitness movement.

The premise behind women’s only gyms came from the power and strength that women provide to other women. It also came about because many women didn’t and still don’t feel accepted or safe and included in a regular gym environment.

With both male and female presences in a gym, you create balance and harmony. Once females start to believe they are not welcome in these spaces and move to a women only environment, not only will existing inequalities advance but the disparity between men and women will increase instead of improving. 

What needs to be done?

Encourage women and men around you to go into a gym environment for their own health goals.

Stop worrying about what others think and how they perceive us. If we get into the gym and are spending our precious time looking around and wondering how silly we must look or how unfit we are, then we are simply not going to achieve our goals in the best way possible. Turn the peripherals off and take the time in the gym to focus on you and you alone.

Let people know if you feel uncomfortable so action can be taken. As hard as it is, sometimes people are just inappropriate and may make you feel uncomfortable as a man or woman. It is up to you to report this and prevent it from happening again. Keep your gym a safe haven for all genders.

Lastly, remember that you are there to get fit and feel good, mentally and physically. Find a friend or buddy that can help keep you accountable. Have fun and most importantly ensure you feel comfortable in your environment, you do not need to go it alone!

Personal trainers are also available in most gyms to assist with your training and be your go-to when feeling overwhelmed or insecure.

Intimidation: Many women or inexperienced men feel threatened or intimidated when entering a gym environment. It could be the excessive testosterone in the air or simply the stereotypes that surround gyms. Remove the stigma and get in there with your head held high! 

Weights areas: Women often find this particular section intimidating and with the lack of comfort and knowledge in these spaces about what to do, women feel isolated and looked at. Again, to combat this, remove your worries, get a buddy and embrace your right to be in that space as much as the person next to you.

Social element:

Enjoy the social aspect of a gender shared gym, this way you may learn more from your male neighbour about techniques or even watch them perform a new exercise you want to try. It is beneficial in many ways, also getting out of your bubble and creating conversation with both genders is a wonderful way to boost confidence.

Make note:

The same goes for men. Men only clubs and gyms should also be rethinking their purpose and weigh up the pros and cons accordingly.