Want to open a female-friendly gym? Here are 3 things you should include

By Salon Gold on May 12th, 2023

From deep, guttural grunting and slamming weights, to hogging equipment and ‘mansplaining’, there are some things men do at the gym that can put women off working out there. These factors, coupled with the more serious issue of sexual harassment, have left women clamouring for safer spaces to exercise.

“Women-only gyms have been receiving a lot of attention on TikTok recently, with the hashtag #WomensOnlyGym at 21 million views and rising”, Glamour Magazine explains. While single-sex or female-friendly gyms won’t tackle the broader problem of harassment and sexual misconduct, they do offer a concrete solution to gymtimidation — fear and apprehension that can be directly linked to working out alongside men.

With these spaces in such demand, running a female-friendly gym can be a profitable and fulfilling venture, so it’s no surprise you’re interested in doing so. However, there’s a lot to consider when opening such an establishment, which is where Fitness Gold can help. As well as prioritising safety, comfort, and community, and cultivating a culture that focuses on holistic fitness rather than merely body image, be sure to include the following three elements for a standout female-friendly gym.

1. Include female-only spaces

The gym is a place where all people should feel safe to focus on getting fit and healthy. However, some male-dominated spaces, such as the weights and resistance section, are notoriously off-putting for women.

But do women even lift? Yes! Gone are the days of ‘bums, legs and tums’. Today’s female gym-goer wants to pump iron just as much as the men do, and for the same reason — it boasts incredible health benefits.

What women don’t want, however, is a shoddy selection of equipment, so if you aim to fill this significant gap in the market, it’s crucial not to compromise on the weights and other gear. Make your space even more female-friendly by stocking it with an impressive range of free weights, ranging from light dumbbells to heavy skullcrushers and everything in-between.

Top tip: be sure to promote your women-only gym area on your social media pages and marketing channels, and clearly signpost it around the premises to spread word about what you offer.

2. Offer women-only classes

Next on our list is, you guessed it, women-only gym classes. In these classes, women can work out in peace and confidence, regardless of their fitness level and appearance (or how much they sweat!). They are also excellent places to go to meet other people who share their values, goals and gender, in a setting that is tailored to their needs.

If you’re not sure what to offer, start with a small variety of classes — you can always add more later. Yoga, weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are the staples of every good fitness centre, but if you have the means and the staff, you may want to offer more specialised classes that are popular right now.

So, what’s trending in the wonderful world of women’s fitness? According to Elle Magazine, crossfit and pilates are making a grand comeback, and gym bunnies can’t get enough of the viral 12-3-30 workout: “a low-impact — but tough — cardio workout that hones in on the muscles in your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back and calf muscles).”

3. Implement zero-harassment policies

Statistics show that 71% of women have been harassed in a gym setting at least once, either by being watched, followed around, or receiving unwanted physical contact.

Unfortunately, it’s possible that your gym will have to deal with harassment allegations at some point, and a zero-harassment policy is the most effective strategy to safeguard your business. 

To create one, you should first define what constitutes harassment. This might include unwanted physical contact, sexual advances, derogatory comments, or any other behaviour that creates an uncomfortable and off-putting environment for other gym members — whether they identify as men, women, or gender non-conforming.

Then, communicate these policies clearly to all gym staff, freelance trainers, maintenance crew, and members. If you’re having trouble writing a policy, consider looking at examples from established studios, like PureGym, that describe the strict actions that will be taken in response to poor behaviour.

Final thoughts

So there you have it: three top tips for establishing a female-friendly gym. Before you set up shop, know that opening a gym is not without its risks. In fact, the likelihood of customer injury in one is higher than in many other public places, and even if you take every precaution, accidents can still happen.

This can cost you a lot of money if a client takes legal action against you, but don’t let this put you off your venture. Having health and fitness insurance can help protect your business when unexpected events like this happen, as you won’t need to pay compensation out of your own pocket. No matter what may come your way, Fitness Gold’s all-inclusive plans will protect your finances. Our policies include public liability, product liability, treatment risk, and financial loss, starting at just £61.00 per year.

For more information, give us a call on 020 8655 0444 or get a quote here.

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