There are pros and cons to women-only workout facilities.
For most people, the idea of working out at all is a daunting thought. It takes time, dedication, bravery, and willpower. Actually going to a fitness center to exercise also comes with a slew of psychological components like fear of looking stupid, concern about being judged, and dealing with the accountability of your fitness goals. So its not hard to understand why some women would prefer to work out in women-only gyms.
But, as with anything, there are pros and cons.
Less gymtimidation. One of the biggest hurdles we face at the gym is being intimidated by other people, either based on the way we look, the way they look, or our general knowledge of working out. Women’s gyms are slightly less intimidating because the male component is removed, so we only have to worry about being intimidated of other women.
Less judgment. We are a lot less likely to be judged by women who are going on a fitness journey that is similar to ours.
Tailored programs. Women’s only gyms focus on programs that work with a woman’s particular physique and physical makeup. Tailoring programs to one sex only allows for a wider range of options within that particular demographic.
Smaller size. Working out at a huge warehouse gym can be intimidating on it’s own. Women’s gyms are generally smaller and more comfortable than their unisex counterparts.
Fewer members. Cutting out half the population allows women-only gyms to take fewer members, so you are more likely to get on a particular machine you want to use, and less likely to feel crowded.
Better support. Smaller sizes and fewer members allows women-only gyms to offer more in terms of support and understanding, from both the staff and the women around you.
Networking. You never know who you are going to meet at the gym, but when everyone there is a woman, it means you automatically have one thing in common. This can lead to good networking opportunities you might not otherwise have.
More judgment. I know I just said that ‘less judgment’ was a PRO, but lets not forget that women can be just as judgmental as men. Competition is also a factor with women, so just keep in mind that not every woman at the women-only gym will want to be your best friend.
Discrimination. Many people think women-only gyms are discriminatory, so if you join one, be aware you may be called to explain your decision to people at one point or another. I personally think that as long as people are staying healthy, they should be able to work out wherever they please, but labeling anything by sex or gender is very tricky, especially in these political times.
More class options. Women-only gyms tend to offer classes that are tailored for women, so you might see a lot of yoga and pilates options, and less opportunities to push a semi-truck tire up a hill. I fully support you pushing a semi-truck tire up a hill (as long as you are in good health), but you may only be able to find that option at a unisex gym.
Less men. I say this as a con, because if we are being honest about it, the gym is a good place to meet a potential partner (whether that is romantic, sexual, or fitness related). Meeting a man at the gym is worlds better than meeting one at a bar (just in terms of life goals and hobbies in general), so if meeting a man at the gym is even remotely on your radar, a women-only gym might not be the right choice for you.