A new gym in Springfield, Ohio may be on the cutting edge of what women are needing. A gym of their own.
Premier Fitness opened on December 26, 2011 in a former gym’s location. The gym re-branded, went under new ownership, all previous members kept their membership and most things stayed the same. However one major change has been making news. The club contains a new women-only section.
“We really target ladies who wouldn’t go to a fitness environment due to the stigma of what it means to be fit,” said new owner, Wade Gates. “Over the years a lot has been done to make the environment friendly to women who would be intimidated.”
The women’s room is a fitness center within a fitness center. The room has equipment designed for smaller frames and different types of weights, but “The main thing is it’s just an area (women) can go where they aren’t sweating next to guys,” Gates said.
Some may think Wade’s comments are unfounded or demeaning to women, but a lot of women really do care about working out next to men. “It’s really nice to be separate from the men’s, it’s not so embarrassing,” said Christina Butts, who has been a member for a month.
These actions just echo some of the other statistics about gyms. The national franchise Curves has over 4 million members and has opened over 7,000 locations in less than 10 years- and is open only to women. The need for women-only gyms is huge. Furthermore, the obese are feeling similar insecurities when it comes to working out in a mainstream gym. According to a 2009 report in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, most overweight people feel embarrassed and intimidated about exercising around younger and fitter people. Chicago just opened the first of several Downsize Fitness gyms. The gym is only open to those needing to lose 50 pounds or more- trim members are not allowed.
There is clearly a need for speciality gyms or a major overhaul in how mainstream co-ed gyms conduct business. Women clearly want a separate place to get fit where they don’t feel intimidated. Perhaps the gym within a gym concept will be a new middle ground.