In 2015, 65% of total turnover in the European health and fitness industry was being generated by just five EU nations: the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
But is this really any wonder?
Over the last decade, the market for personal sports coaching and working out in gyms has grown significantly, to the point where there are now hardly any British towns without leisure centres and sports facilities.
And whereas gyms have become increasingly popular with men over the last 15 or so years, it’s women that were the first consumer group to gain dedicated gyms and health clubs, which began to appear in the 1990s.
About Women's Health
Like with many products and services, the health and fitness industry has used aesthetics and an emphasis on women’s wellbeing in their marketing to attract ladies of leisure to their gyms. But why suddenly start to target the gender and what is the use of singling women out?
Well, the female body goes through a number of very big changes in a woman's lifetime and its needs change throughout that journey.
While men's bodies can undergo changes as they age, women's bodies are faced with a number of challenges such as puberty, childbirth and menopause. Furthermore, there are far more regular screening checks for women organised by the NHS, including cervical screening and mammograms.
As such, it only seems right that women and men are treated and advised differently when it comes to their physical and mental health.
Female-only health centres focus on women’s health and relaxation with training programs to help them reach their particular fitness goals and become healthier, as well as single-sex Pilates classes and exercise programs designed for exercising during pregnancy to name just a few of the services available.
Have a read of this article to learn more about the world of female-only fitness and find a women-only gym London, Women only gym Birmingham and elsewhere.
Discover various fitness classes near me here.
How Women Only Gym Came into Existence
Rooted in jazz dancing, aerobics – a style of gymnastic exercise choreographed to music – was developed in the 1960s, before evolving into other categories of dance workouts such as Zumba.
In its essence, aerobics was about maintaining your physical fitness levels as part of your general wellbeing.
The 1970s saw aerobics capture the population, which was the beginning of the rise of the workout.
At this time, attending and working out at a gym was considered to be quite a feminine pastime, and so, it was rare to find men in fitness clubs.
As the years went by, throughout the 80s and 90s, the practice of going to the gym only continued to grow in popularity among both sexes.
Working out at a dedicated facility offered people a new opportunity to exercise without having to go too far from their homes. For this reason, going to the gym became the exercise option for city folk.
And with pressure on women to be toned in all areas and have a flat tummy, they became the main targets of health and fitness organisations.
Today, the fitness industry is largely made up of franchises, each one with its own selling point – and of course, offering single-sex options is one of them.
The effect of advertising in the fitness industry is represented in gym membership figures: 34% of women work out, compared to 28% of men.
With these figures showing just how well gyms are doing thanks to their female clientele, more and more lady-specific classes and gyms are popping up all over the country.
‘Legs, Bums and Tums’, ‘body sculpt’, Zumba, and yoga are just a few examples of classes targeted at female athletes.
If you live in Manchester, simply google "personal trainer manchester" to find a female private fitness coach.
5 Reasons to Choose a Gym for Women Only
Some women are so put-off by mixed gyms that they simply stop working out.
Is this overdramatic, or do they have good reason to feel disgusted?
Joining a womens-only gym can remove the stress from working out, and this is just one of many benefits.
So, if you’re wondering about what makes female gyms such a good choice for some people, or you’re just curious, here are 5 great reasons to join a ladies-only gym.
1. Adapted Workout Equipment
In many mixed gyms, the size of the machines is ‘standard’, so that in theory, most men and women will be able to use the equipment.
However, a lot of women struggle with the ‘standard’ sizes, which are usually too large for their physiology, and so workouts aren’t as comfortable as they could be.
In addition, the type of strength training exercise may not be suitable for a woman’s build, so adapted classes can tailor workouts for the feminine physical makeup, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.
2. Avoid Unwanted Attention
Every woman who has ever worked out in public knows that too many men see lycra as an invitation to wolf-whistle and cat-call.
Sadly, this also goes on in mixed gyms - but in a different way.
Since the gym environment is enclosed by four walls, some single men choose to approach women, interrupting their workout sessions, in an attempt to chat them up.
For ladies who have experienced this kind of unwanted attention, female-only gyms can be a solution.
3. Befriend Like-Minded Women
Taking part in a group fitness class such as step or body pump in a women’s gym will give you an opportunity to chat to other women who may be working towards the same objectives.
Because you’ll be interacting with women from various backgrounds, this is a fabulous way to network and make new friends who could offer you new opportunities.
4. Make Steady Progress
Taking part in sporting activities with other women can be seen as a way to progress together, at the same rate as the rest of your group.
Due to the physical differences between men and women, it is much more difficult to achieve this homogeneity as part of a mixed group.
5. Build Your Dream Physique
Every year when Summer comes around, women everywhere are preoccupied with the same thoughts: how do I achieve and maintain my beach body?
Well, if you’re after a flat tummy in time for July, you’ll have to sweat!
Between them, women can swap advice on weight loss and body confidence, whilst supporting each other and learning to better understand themselves.
Female-Only Fitness Facilities in the UK
Whatever your fitness goals and favourite exercises, it’s now more likely than ever that there will be a female-only gym with the right equipment and facilities to suit your preferences – here are just a few of the available options. Like in mixed options, gym membership prices will vary.
Gymophobics is a ladies-only franchise with a focus on encouraging women to work out - even if they hate it – to fulfil their weight loss and fitness objectives.
The Gymophobics approach is a holistic one, meaning that all aspects of its members’ lives are taken into account when setting up their training program, including diet and cardiovascular strength.
Gymophobics is all about improving members’ lifestyles to help them achieve their goals, and their fitness instructors also act as mentors to motivate members and keep them on track. For this reason, Gymophobics is about a lot more than going to the gym, and each personal trainer assigns home exercises and walks to their members according to their needs.
Training sessions are carried out on appointment and last 30 minutes each, and membership is just £1 per day – adding up to around £30 per month – a low price for a personalised regime.
Gymophobics has over 40 franchises with many a personal trainer up and down the country to choose from – so it’s likely there’s one just around the corner!
With two centres in Essex, Go30 offers a fun and friendly space for women to exercise.
Like Gymophobics, its training is based on 30-minute circuit of exercises, and its instructors offer a full body analysis and fitness assesment which they can use to create a personalised training program based on your physiology and strength.
Membership also includes a nutrition consultation with an accredited fitness professional, access to group exercise classes and complimentary tea and coffee – all for under £1 per day! Cheap gym memberships don't always mean bad service anymore.
Each class is graded by its level of difficulty, so you can choose the one that is right for your ability without feeling self-conscious about being judged.
· Ladies-Only Classes
If there isn’t a gym exclusively for ladies near you, it’s likely that your nearest mixed gym will hold ladies-only classes for women to exercise in a more relaxed, pressure-free environment.
The aim of these classes is to get women to banish their fears of coming to the gym and welcome them to exercise with like-minded women while they build up their confidence in a friendly environment.
Understandably, some people (particularly men) question the ethics of reserving sessions for women, however, the most important point about single-sex gyms is that being pro-women has nothing to do with being anti-men.
The fact is, traditional gyms and health clubs often intimidate newbies to the world of fitness, and since women are more likely to lack self-esteem when it comes to exercising in a public environment, ladies-only classes offer a supportive and positive atmosphere for women to work on their fitness.
So, given the numerous benefits to choosing a ladies-only gym, including the fact that they are fantastic for gym novices, could they be for you? If not, there are many exercise and fitness options out there - get your own exercise equipment or consider an online personal trainer with Superprof.
Finding Female Personal Trainers
Some men prefer to work out with men, while some women prefer to work out with other females.
Having such a preference for a workout buddy could simply be because a woman feels intimidated by training with a man, she feels they don't understand her body like a woman can, perhaps her partner feels threatened, or maybe she just enjoys the company of females over males. It isn't and shouldn't be made into an issue.
What's more, with personal training, you spend a lot of time together and get up close and personal so it's important to feel totally comfortable with your trainer. In addition, you may need to discuss intimate matters with your trainer to help them better understand how you are feeling on the day.
This could include periods, the aftermath of childbirth and other health concerns. While a man is just as qualified to deal with such concerns, some women may prefer discussing certain matters with women who have gone through the same experiences.
To assist those who wish to find a personal trainer, a number of websites and directories have been set up:
Motivate PT is a company which connects you to the best personal trainers in and around London. Featured in Women's Health magazine, the team of men and women work together to make the process of hiring your personal trainer simple and enjoyable.
As you will see below, the company offers the option to search for female-only candidates when conducting your PT search.
"Would you prefer to train with a female trainer? Here’s where we can help! If you are like many women who feel more comfortable with a female personal trainer, then this is something we are able to accommodate. It is a common request and one which we get asked about a lot. Having someone who you can connect with and can relate to will help you to achieve your goals far quicker. Many women feel that a female trainer will understand their bodies better and the stages that they are going through, from pregnancy to menopause to the most common issue of weight gain. After all, the female body is built very differently to a mans.
There are many male trainers out there that in reality can help you just as much as a female, however, you may not feel as confident in your session. Therefore, we will go through a matching process and will find you a trainer who will work for you and your individual needs. All of our personal trainers are highly qualified and all have a Level 3 Certificate. Our trainers bring their equipment to you. This enables you to start your new fitness journey in the comfort of your own home, in the office or a park. We work around you and your schedule so, therefore, fitness is accessible to anyone.
The majority of the clients we work with are female. They are a mixture of mums, professionals and senior women. We, therefore, try to hire a wide range of female personal trainers who have different personality types, skill sets, and approaches."
Superprof is a yet another platform which can connect you to personal trainers in both London and further afield (worldwide, even!) and strives to align your competences and desires with the site's listed sports coaches and PTs
Our website's certified personal trainer profiles include:
- Trainer certification credentials and qualifications level
- feedback and ratings from other clients the listed coaches have trained
- cost per hour of work, listed on the top right hand of each fitness coach's page (first hour is usually free)
- Geolocation: where the coach is in relation to you, and if s/he would come to your home
Personal fitness training coaches in the UK generally charge £19 per hour, regardless of whether they are male or female. On the website, you can tailor your search using a range of different criteria, including narrowing down your search to male or female candidates if you so wish. This means that you can easily and simply run a search for female personal trainers near me.
What's more, if your selected coach offers classes or holds small group sessions, you might be able to negotiate a cost for you and your girlfriends training together.
There are a thousand ways to reach your fitness goals through an accredited fitness program or with a personal fitness trainer. You only need to be motivated and build a good rapport with your fitness instructor!
The Best Female Fitness Accounts on Social Media
Social media isn't looking like it's about to slow down anytime soon. Now that it is an intrinsic part of our everyday lives, many have realised how we can use the many platforms that make up our social networks to better our lifestyles.
On social media, all areas are represented - interior decor, fashion, parenting - health - and as digital marketing campaign teams and online businesses across the world are seizing the opportunities that come about thanks to responses to and engagements with social media, influencers (or 'everyday celebrities') are being born.
The up and coming people known as ‘influencers’ build brands for themselves as their community grows. Not only do these brand images help influencers and bloggers to maintain a presence across various media outlets, but they also contribute to their overall success whenever their content goes viral. Many influencers will work with companies to advertise relevant products and get paid for endorsing them.
It is estimated that social media is used by 3 billion people – an unsurprisingly large figure. These 3 billion people all have interests that they keep up with an online personal trainer, such as sport, for instance.
So, what are the best accounts, blogs and influencers to follow if you’re looking for tips and tricks on women's fitness?
Fitness Influencers on Instagram For Women
One of Instagram’s most famous influencers goes by @aliceliveing. Sharing her workout techniques, gym routines and healthy meals with her 640,000 followers, her social media success has seen her develop and sell her own range of fitness clothing in Primark stores. When she’s not lifting weights, Alice works as a personal trainer and also writes for Women’s Health magazine, which gives her credibility in her market. And if that’s not enough, she’s also published three books of her own! This fitness guru’s engaging content is great for anyone just starting out in their journey to a healthier body and looking for advice from someone with the right expertise.
With a cool 10.1 million followers, this Aussie is known all over the world for her bitesize workouts as well as the full-on workouts available to download through her app, Sweat. She rose to fame with her Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) which helped her grow her platform.
Her Instagram content mainly focuses on providing #Fitspo (fitness inspiration) by showcasing the body transformations of those who have followed her programme, as well as workout demonstrations and ideas for healthy eating. It is rumoured that she is currently expecting a baby so we can expect a number of pregnancy and post-pregnancy workouts from Kayla in the coming months!
Bethany Tomlinson, or @beth_fitnessuk as she is known on Instagram, is a typical fitness blogger who showcases her workout routines and shares her results to motivate and inspire others in their fitness journeys.
And she doesn’t just film a few of her gym exercises, either. If you’re new to the gym or feel lost when it comes to planning your routines, @beth_fitnessuk writes her workout step-by-step in the captions of her posts. The guided workouts along with the demonstration videos are great for letting her 286,000 followers know how to properly execute their workouts.
Zanna van Dijk
Last but not least, how could we not mention @zannavandijk? Influencer and entrepreneur Zanna’s Instagram is an eclectic mix of fitness tips, food and travelling, but it’s always centred around wellbeing. In addition to her main Instagram account, she also runs a business that manufactures swimwear from recycled plastic and another fitness account called @thegirlgains, both of which she is the founder.
Although currently more of a socialite than a fitness expert, Louise Thompson, star of the E4 reality show Made in Chelsea, has launched her own health and wellbeing website called Live Like Louise. If you follow Louise already on Instagram via @louise.thompson, you'll already know that she is a fitness fanatic and works hard with her PT fiance on maintaining a healthy diet too, so it is no wonder that the duo has put together some tips for her followers. The website features workout programmes, Macros Consultation, and other daily fitness tips.