All-Female Gyms

By  15 Comments

People that exercise can be drawn into two camps: those that do it because they love it, and those that do it because they hate the way they look. Eventually, of course, many people move from the latter to the former, actually developing a love for the gym, or the sport that they have chosen.

Sadly, more and more women are reporting a phenomenon that is being called ‘gymtimidation’ or being so intimidated by someone else at the gym that you end up going home before your workout is finished. That someone is almost always another woman.

Which makes it so strange that more and more all-female and female-only gyms are opening up. Reports used to suggest that women were getting tired of being ogled by the men that they were working out next to, and fed up with being hit on every time they walked towards the changing rooms. Women were claiming their right not to be looked at while exercising, and the female only gym was born. But now, with the rise of gymtimidation, it seems as though women are still conscious about being looked at. Instead of being stared at and objectified as a sexual object, they now fear being stared at and compared physically.

Perhaps it is just down to our natural need to be better, or at least not terrible, compared to other women. Maybe our instincts tell us that in order to gain a man, we need to ‘beat’ other women in looks. But whatever it is, it is not healthy, and is forcing many women to leave the gym altogether. If you are trying to decide whether or not to join an all female gym because you want to escape the sexist comments but are worried about returning home, hating the way that you look, here are our five tips that we think can help you make your gym experience that much better:

1. Take a buddy that you cannot be jealous of.
We all have one: that friend that we are so close to, the idea of being jealous of them is almost laughable. Encourage that friend to come with you, to whatever gym you decide to go to, and you will find it possible to ignore everyone else in the room.

2. Headphones.
If you can’t manage to persuade/bully your friend into joining the gym, then you need to invest in some really good headphones. Look for ones that block out all sound, and then make a playlist of your favourite tracks or even an audiobook. Studies have shown that gym goers that are completely concentrating on both their workout and an exterior source will not be able to take in anything else; so substitute your worrying about what that guy is thinking to whether or not Mr Bingley will propose.

3. Pick a time of day.
A real passion for the gym will make getting up at any time of day easy. Try out different times of the day to see when the gym is most deserted: that can become your work out time.

4. Set yourself a time limit.
If you can feel gymtimidation coming over you, have a look at your watch. Promise yourself that you will leave that piece of equipment in five minutes but only to go to another. Train yourself not to feel afraid, and practise not leaving as soon as you feel uncomfortable, and soon it will not bother you in the slightest.

5. Smile, and then move on.
Sometimes people are rude. Smile at them politely, and then move on. Life is too short to worry about people like that, and you are there to exercise.

15 Comments

  1. Joy Black

    I’ve definitely experienced the whole “gymtimidation” thing but it’s really never been a big deal to me. I for one just focus on myself and don’t really worry about what other people think. That seems to be a big problem these days, caring too much about what other people think! All female gyms? What is the point of that? You’re a woman, it’s only natural for guys to be staring at you.

    • Pricemoon

      I agree. They understand qliauty of life better than any culture I know of. I prefer sitting in a cafe9 to sweating on a treadmill (which I’ve done like 5 times in my life, all in about a 2-month period) any day.

  2. Jamie

    I used to exercise at home and but decided to get gym membership so I’d have a change of setting and access to a wider range of equipment. That was a mistake. I wound up getting a rash from unclean equipment, the grunting and dropping of the weights was migraine inducing, and the gross guys that would stare at womens’ ‘assets’ while they exercised finally scared me away. I’m hoping It was just the wrong gym and the one I’m frequenting now will be a better fit.

  3. Jillian

    I exercise with some of my girlfriends at a local gym.

    We hangout with each other and have fun while working out and staying healthy.

  4. Lidya

    I’ve never felt gymtimidation, mainly because I know I’m there to workout and not judge people – so I assume the same about the rest of the folk there. Does me very well in terms of my sanity and self esteem at the gym.

    I prefer to exercise alone however – no need for my friends to see me huffing and puffing. A female only gym sounds great tho, mainly because you can avoid the occasional creepers who are “spot checking you” and you feel their eyes bore into your asscheeks. Those are the worst :/

    • Joyel

      Mack gyms are night and day different cliletnee, is the gym clean? What to the dumbbell goes up to? In one gym I workout at they go to 200 in another they go up to 60, which gym do you think have bigger guys? Some gyms have pools, fitness classes, sauna’s, some have child care, internet, etc. Some have the basic equipment that you need. I suggest you pay a one time fee and go to both gyms and compare.

      • Jack

        The question is: do the French NEED to go to the gym?Perhaps those who have aedatpd an American lifestyle with a more sedentary routine, large food portions, and industrialized food will need to go to the gym.But based on my observations, the French are in much better shape than Americans. Every time I travel to France, I marvel at the physical condition of its senior citizens. I definitely notice a big difference between the elderly French and their American counterparts.So my message to the French is: keep doing what you’ve been doing for centuries and spend the afternoon enjoying a nice glass of red wine instead of sweating in a crowded gym.

  5. Dionne Gregory

    To be honest, I suffer far more from gymtimidation regarding other females than the guys.
    There is a feeling of the free weights being the “man corner” but we went right on over and obliterated than impression immediately.

  6. Paloma

    I go to an all-female gym. I don’t feel gymtimidation when I see other women that look great, though. Great looking women have been motivation for me to keep exercising.

  7. Mary

    I have been to both male/ female gyms and also one of the gyms I went to had a specific room for women. There were not many women ever in there though. That place had a t.v. on the treadmill and I would have to use ear buds to be able to hear it so that helped but because there were so few women there I would get nervous whenever someone else came into the room. I really never had a problem with the male/ female gyms. I would watch the t.v. there for motivation. They would usually keep it on an upbeat music channel for everyone to watch. There were usually a ton of people at that gym to I didn’t feel like I stood out so much. The only time I felt uncomfortable is when my boyfriend and I worked out together. He is way more athletic than I am by far. He always tries to push me to do all kinds of exercises that I don’t think I can do so I become uncomfortable and not want to do it. Sometimes I give them a try but he can do every single machine in the place with a whole lot of strength. I prefer to go without him or at least use a separate part of the gym so that I can do my own thing.

  8. Karey

    I think all-female gyms are becoming more popular because of the business opportunity. Either way, females have a tendency to compare, we can’t help it. But we’re all at the gym for a reason…whether it is to improve or to maintain. We should all just be celebrating our health and happiness. I like the idea of putting on a new outfit that makes you feel good, tuning out with some good music and concentrating on you. If you see someone that looks good, then push yourself harder to improve yourself!

  9. Maria

    Thank you for your tips that you have shared. I am constantly worried about going to the gym for the reason that I fear I will be judged. I typically fear this most from the women who also go so the all-female gyms seem redundant to me also. I need to find a friend I can take to the gym with me as you suggested, maybe that will stop my fear.

  10. Jade

    I’ve experienced Gymtimidation but it was all in my own mind. Best way to get over it is to get to know the girls you feel intimidated by.
    When I first started the gym I was 6 stone over weight and felt very inferior to a slim, tanned, blonde, perfect girl. I thought she was fake and all smile until I got to talk to her and she was really nice. Once I knew everyone, there was no more bad feeling.

  11. Kristen Fields

    I like female only gyms. I really don’t like the idea of trying to work out with men. It is intimidating when they are picking up heavy weights and slamming them to the group. It is also very distracting. I feel like I am more free in a female only gym. I don’t worry about other women. I have never felt jealous or self conscious about another woman’s body but I think people who are overweight may feel this way.

    I like the Gym experience tips, they are really good and will help any newbie get the most out of their exercise.

  12. Beth

    I experience this all the time and because of it, I absolutely love all female gyms. I seriously couldn’t do without them!

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