Hitting the gym consistently can be a daunting task and one that is made even more difficult when the gym-goer feels uncomfortable in their workout space. Studies have shown that one in two Americans feel intimidated at the gym, with over 30% of individuals being intimidated due to working out alongside members of the opposite sex. Let's explore the benefits of female-only gyms.
One in two Americans feel intimidated at the gym, with over 30% of individuals being intimidated due to working out alongside members of the opposite sex.
Six out of ten women report being sexually or verbally harassed by men while working out at the gym.
Pros of joining an all-female gym include less intimidation and harassment, increased community, personalized workouts, and lifestyle support.
Cons of joining an all-female gym include potential discrimination against men and a limited variety in workouts.
Rise in female-only gyms
In addition to the intimidation factor of going to the gym, many women have also reported being sexually or verbally harassed by men while working out. Because of this, we have seen a rise in female-only gyms over the last several years. Social media confirms this trend with over 18 million views last year on TikTok using the hashtag #womenonlygyms and over 35,000 people actively searching for “women only gyms” on Google every month.
Benefits of women-only gyms
There are a number of reasons women keep choosing female-only gyms over traditional workout places.
Less "Gymtimidation" and harassment
Intimidation at the gym, also called “gymtimidation,” is experienced by over half of all gym-goers. Specifically, two out of every five women actively avoid going to the gym because of intimidation and harassment.
Studies have also shown that six out of ten women report being sexually harassed by men while working out at the gym. This harassment comes in many forms with the most common examples being that men made patronizing or sexual comments or flirted when it was unwanted. A benefit of female-only gyms is that men are not allowed to join, which would limit the amount of harassment experienced by gym members.
By attending an all-female gym, members already have something in common. Though not all women are the same, there is a good chance of meeting another woman at the gym with shared interests and goals. Gyms can be a great place to meet new friends, especially for women who are busy with household or professional obligations that would otherwise not likely have the time.
A major benefit to an all-female gym is that workouts will be tailored to the female physique. Though fitness goals and workouts can be similar between men and women, there are some key differences in muscle and body fat composition that may slightly alter workout plans between the two sexes. With an all-female gym, workout classes, and equipment are more targeted to the female body, resulting in workouts that are more personalized and allow for the easier achievement of fitness goals.
Fitness levels and goals change with each age and stage of life and so do schedules. Women are often juggling multiple responsibilities both at home and in their professional lives, which often doesn’t leave enough time for self-care and fitness. All-female gyms tend to cater to this balancing act by offering benefits such as early morning workout options and on-site childcare, which may not be offered at a traditional gym.
Drawbacks of all-female gyms
Although all-female gyms are safe and offer a nice community around, there are definitely some cons to it which should be considered before purchasing a membership card.
One con of attending an all-female gym is the potentially associated discrimination. Not allowing men to attend, some people may say that this is a form of discrimination. Because of this, members of all-female gyms may have a difficult time explaining their reasons for joining this kind of gym to others.
Though all-female gyms tend to offer classes and equipment tailored to the female body, some focus on offering stereotypical female gym activities including lighter weights, high-intensity cardio options, and a lot of yoga and pilates. While many women do enjoy these activities, some women prefer to lift heavy weights and engage in other workout styles. There are many all-female gyms that offer a variety of workout options, but they may be more difficult to find.
While no men is a benefit to all-female gyms, for some women, this may actually be a con. There are some women (and men) that are looking to meet members of the opposite sex while at the gym. Just as you might meet a potential romantic partner at a coffee shop or bookstore, some people find their significant other at the gym. If this is something you are interested in or you already have a male significant other that you like to work out with, an all-female gym may not be the right choice for you.
Ultimately, joining an all-female gym versus a traditional gym comes down to personal preferences. Women who are intimidated by working out near men or who would like to meet female friends may enjoy an all-female gym. On the other hand, women who are not intimidated by working out near men or who wish to participate in a wider variety of workout types may prefer a traditional gym setting.
- Bryant University. Gender Discrepancy in the Weight Room.