no-men-allowed sign

Okay, so here’s another heated subject that I’d like to get your thoughts on. It’s time for another Angry Issue!

As you may know, fitness centers like Curves and Lucille Roberts cater ONLY to a female clientele. And in some co-ed gyms, there are women-only sections where men aren’t allowed to enter. I know several friends and clients – both male and female – who find this discriminatory. But what do you think?

I know some women will argue that men gawk and stare at them or make inappropriate comments at the gym. But can’t that happen anywhere? Why don’t we have women only supermarkets and retail stores? Honestly, if I were a member of a facility that had a female only area, I’d be a bit upset. Why? Because I’d be paying the same membership fees, but I wouldn’t have access to all of the equipment.

In my first job as a trainer, 20 years ago, my club did have two machine circuits – one for men and one for women. The main reason was that the equipment was manufactured to different sizes based on gender, and of course the women’s circuit contained the infamous inner and outer thigh machines. But both men and women were allowed to use both circuits. How would you feel if you joined a gym, paid dues, and then were told you couldn’t use certain equipment or go into select rooms?

In this day and age I’m just not sure why women would want to join a same sex gym. I know it comes down to personal preference, but I’m not sure what benefit it provides? I mean what’s the upside?

That said I do know that many women don’t like to visit the weight room. We all know the cliché of the sweaty, male dominated free weights section with big bodybuilders telling off-color jokes and treating the space like a frat house. But personally I just think avoiding the space only adds to the problem.

Plus as you know I’m a big believer in men and women training the same way. Exercise is exercise – it knows no gender. I train all of my clients the same way, using the same modalities, with slight differences on focus. So I’m a big believer that gyms should be open spaces available to everyone.

But what do you think? How do you feel about gender specific gym or ‘women only’ areas within gyms? Do they offend you? Or do you think they’re necessary? Fire away…