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TOPIC: Ladies: All Female or Co-Ed Gym?

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August 12, 2012 3:03 PM
I've had both experiences, and I wondered which you were more comfortable with?

I joined an all female gym years ago because I was too self conscious to workout in front of guys. I had been thin most of my life but when I joined, I was over 200 lbs. with severe body image issues which stemmed from my thin days. I actually left the gym because I felt as though I was under tremendous pressure to keep up with the women who were more in shape than I was at the time. Also the ownership changed and it was all about pushing people to take classes classes classes!! It made me stay home more than go.

I am now at a co-ed gym and other than a few initial snickering comments, I feel much more comfortable. Is it weird? Is it because I've been belly dancing for four years and am much more comfortable in my own body (overweight as it is)? There are still women who are in much better physically aesthetic shape than I am, but there doesn't seem to be the same issue. And the guys that are there regularly are actually quite motivating and encouraging. I staggered off towards the locker room the other night, red faced, sweat pouring down my face and neck, hair plastered to my head, shirt stuck to me, and this guy just held up his hand for a high five and said, "You worked it hard today, lady! Great job!" I was totally surprised but pleasantly so.

So ladies? What's your preference? What have been your experiences?
August 12, 2012 3:09 PM
I'm so much more confident since losing inches/toning up. I could never imagine going to a Ladies only gym. No eye candy there. Okay so thats not the only reason. I like the support the guys give to. In my case its just head nods or smiles but it seems to be more than I get from the women. I like to spend just as much time lifting weights as I do on cardio.
This week I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the free weight section with the boys. First time since I started this 7.5 months ago. I picked up my little 20lbs for some curls. There was one guy snickering and two guys glared at him. Another guy picked up the 25 and came over and stood right beside me and started doing curls in tempo with me. He just smiled. It was nice to be sorta welcomed in the boys domain. I've only seen 1 girl go over there. I know personally sometimes I see their size and it intimidates me. As scary as they look, they have turned out to be anything but.
August 12, 2012 3:16 PM
I'm part of a co-ed gym right now and I feel a little..eh going near the men's domain (weights, machines), but I like biking and soon to go on the row machine, but I'm always self-conscious about trying out new machines in front of people in general.. I don't know why. That's why I like to have my hubby with me lol. If I had a workout buddy, I would feel a lot better and not as insecure. But with the things I do now, I don't feel self-conscious bc I'm comfortable with what I use. I feel stupid when I don't know how to use something.. trying to break that habit and act like I don't care, ha.

Sorry, I hope I made some sense :)
  24507980
August 12, 2012 3:22 PM
I did not enjoy my time in a co-ed gym. My then-husband was sleeping with the gym receptionist and i was getting weird vibes from the trainers. I got hit on by men who did not think it was inappropriate to interrupt me while i was counting up to my 100 crunches. There were stares at my chest area a lot and I was afraid to wait in the parking lot for my then-husband when he had to run back in the gym because he "forgot something at the front desk"

I am so much happier doing outdoors Bootcamp with an all womens group. Although creepy men come to watch us in the park, we girls band together and there is a real camaraderie which I love. Plus, I am in far better shape today than I was in my 20s.
  14065953
August 12, 2012 4:05 PM
I have to say, that I joined a co-ed gym. I was very nervous the first time I walked in , and I hopped onto the treadmill that was in the farthest corner away from everyone. Then I realised that there were SO many people just like me. I have to say, I am not sure wether it is the time of day I go, or what, but most of the people in my gym are just like me. We out number the skinny, buff people by many. And, some of those skinny, buff people have been more than willing to help me with a piece of equipment that I am struggling with. So , it is all good. i would not change now at all :)
  26853494
August 12, 2012 4:09 PM
Co-ed.

I've only ever gone to co-ed gyms.

I may be wrong, but I can't imagine a women's gym having the range of free weights I use. Am I wrong?

I do my workout. I don't get hit on or get any weird vibes.

I've gone to fancy gyms
orange hard body Gold's Gym type gyms
the university gym
and now the YMCA
August 12, 2012 4:12 PM
I've done both too. I just found that the women at the female only gym weren't very friendly. I'd get a lot of nasty stares despite the fact that they were all about as out of shape as I was. Now that I'm in a much larger, (and better) co-ed gym people really don't pay any attention to anyone else. Plus there's a bit more diversity here, a lot more body types and ages and with that comes less judgement. Though I do tend to avoid weights because there are a lot of guys and they're a lot better at me. I'm weak as hell. :(
August 12, 2012 4:13 PM
I used to go to a mixed gym, now I go to an all-male, LOL! (ok, so it's not just men that are allowed there, everyone is, but it may as well be for all the times I've seen a woman there! - About 10 times in over 2 years!!)

TBH while I've never experienced an all female gym, I can safely say I would much prefer where I am now, for these reasons:

1) I train with my boyfriend.
2) Female gyms that I've heard of, don't have very decent free weights.
3) I get on better with men. No *****iness, no saying one thing and meaning another, no dirty looks... you get the point.
4) With men around, there is ALWAYS someone stronger than me. I like that, it gives me something to aim for.
5) The men in my gym are pretty damn awesome, it would be a shame to be training without them.
  1283483
August 12, 2012 4:14 PM
Love co-ed workouts. Never underestimate the power of eye candy to get me to put in just a little more effort. Plus, while women and men can both be catty, men tend to act more protectively towards women -- whereas women might think someone is being a byatch, I think they're less inclined to speak up or act on it than a man would. Men are just more used to calling each other dumb@sses without it damaging their friendship forever. :)
August 12, 2012 4:18 PM
QUOTE:

Though I do tend to avoid weights because there are a lot of guys and they're a lot better at me. I'm weak as hell. :(


Don't let that be the reason that is stopping you. Men will (nearly always) be better / stronger than you - unless they're not training very hard, and you're aim is to get super strong!

That doesn't mean they will think negatively of you, or stare, or laugh or anything. In my experience they've been nothing but friendly, and besides, how are you meant to improve if you never start?? I started out weak as hell too, very weak! But I've increased my strength loads since I started and I love it!!
Personally, I find women a lot more judgemental than men, it's so much more of a relaxed atmosphere in my (99.9% male) gym.
  1283483
August 12, 2012 4:20 PM
I go to a co-ed gym because it had the most to offer. The female only gyms in my area must be only for stay at home wives because they aren't open evenings or weekends which is the time I could go! Plus my gym has a pool, classes, racquet ball courts, on top of the longer hours - none of which the women only gym has...
  5637461
August 12, 2012 4:20 PM
I've been a member of both types of gym and for me, I prefer the co-ed gym. Even though it might get a little awkward if I get hit on (rarely has happened) I like the variety of machines and classes that it has to offer. Besides, the time when I normally go, there's a few guys there who could be considered "eye candy" who are nice to look at...
  26457386
August 12, 2012 4:21 PM
I don't go to a gym now as I am poor as hell but I used to go to a boxing gym which was co-ed and I loved it, I was intimidated the first time I went but everyone there was awesome, they were encouraging, even if I modified or if I couldn't run as far as anyone else, or if I needed an extra break when doing suicide drills nobody every snickered and made negative comments. I loved it. I just wish I could still afford to go.
  15566812
August 12, 2012 4:23 PM
I have had TREMENDOUS fitness success in the past year, and I attribute it to my separated gym. (the women's and men's gyms are separate. Also, the pool has split ladies/men days.)

I have joined co-ed gyms in the past and fizzled out after about a month. I know it was due to my "inferiority complex".

I feel more comfortable wearing my running shorts, running skirts, lifting, using the free weights... just so many pluses!
August 12, 2012 4:25 PM
women's gym because of the ameneties, for the price, pool, sauna, whirlpool, steam room and free classes, other than that its about the $$$
August 12, 2012 4:26 PM
Go all female and get a trainer. Get some fitness down, learn some moves and switch to Co-Ed as soon as your ready. The co-ed's tend to have more equipment. But if you can find an all female that has more than everything, why not.


I will always go Co-ed. I like to bring the husband. Good to have a spotter, and someone to talk to!
  11458686
August 12, 2012 4:26 PM
It depends on the gym. I've never been to a ladies only gym so I can't comment on that, but I've had mixed experiences at co-ed gyms. The worst ones are unfortunately always University gyms. I think this is because by and large most of the people there are really young (no offense, young folk!) and that just creates a more uncomfortable atmosphere where everyone is self conscious, everyone stares and everyone is both judging and worried that they're being judged. I find myself really put off by and uncomfortable around a lot of the guys at University gyms. Crowd too many 18-24 year old men into a weight room and they just get into this zone where they're puffing up for each other and trying to claim space, and that makes it awkward to try to step into the weights section as a woman, and probably I imagine as a man who isn't one to do the macho puff up thing, or isn't yet in excellent shape.

In non-Uni gyms though, I've been fine. I find myself always happiest at YMCA's because they tend to have the most diverse crowds, and that creates an atmosphere where people are more comfortable with themselves and less inclined to lear or judge. It's not like everyone else is some physical ideal and then there's chubby ol you feeling awkward. Everyone is in different places and is there for different reasons. They all just do their thing and seems a little bit more confident and comfortable than I've seen elsewhere. I've also been OK at more corporate yuppie gyms even though they aren't my fave. As long as you have a good age mix it's usually more relaxed in my experience. Although with the yuppies you can get a bit of the judgy vibe too. Obviously the Y is the place for me!

Basically, every gym has a different culture and you just have to find one you feel comfortable in. Most gyms offer a trial day or week so you can get a feel for the place before signing up. I highly recommend doing this with all gyms close enough to your house or work that you'd actually go on a regular basis. Then you can choose from their, confident you picked the one that best balances your needs and preferences.
Edited by gibsy On August 12, 2012 4:31 PM
  2892991
August 12, 2012 4:28 PM
I feel a bit out of place at the all womens gym because it seems like no one is working out or sweating as hard as me. Not that it stops me from getting in a good workout.
August 12, 2012 4:29 PM
QUOTE:

I have had TREMENDOUS fitness success in the past year, and I attribute it to my separated gym. (the women's and men's gyms are separate. Also, the pool has split ladies/men days.)

I have joined co-ed gyms in the past and fizzled out after about a month. I know it was due to my "inferiority complex".

I feel more comfortable wearing my running shorts, running skirts, lifting, using the free weights... just so many pluses!


I would like to add to this..;I live in a fairly large city and there are lots of gyms to choose from. I like this particular one for a number of reasons, and honestly, if it was an "all-female" environment, I probably wouldn't have gone. There are more machines and equipement then in the men's side, and just as many free weights. The classes are offered co-ed, there are family times for the pool and... I do enjoy walking PAST the men's gym! lol
Edited by Cheri_Moves On August 12, 2012 4:30 PM
August 12, 2012 4:31 PM
In the past I always used community gyms and loved the wide range of people there: from the big-brawny gym rats to seniors recovering from surgery.

I think that women are so much more critical of each other (probably because we are so much more self-conscious about ourselves).

I have joined an all-women's gym only because it is the only gym in the area that offers classes that fit with my crazy work schedule. I figure it's going to take a while before I feel comfortable with the women there. It DEFINITELY does not feel as friendly as a co-ed gym.
August 12, 2012 4:37 PM
QUOTE:

Co-ed.

I've only ever gone to co-ed gyms.

I may be wrong, but I can't imagine a women's gym having the range of free weights I use. Am I wrong?

I do my workout. I don't get hit on or get any weird vibes.

I've gone to fancy gyms
orange hard body Gold's Gym type gyms
the university gym
and now the YMCA


Actually the women's gym I was a member of did have a good range of machines and weights. There were some serious lifters there. I did find a lot of the women who attended were very judgmental of each other. I'd hear them chatting about the other women in the gym. If one was too muscular, she was obviously on steroids. If this one was overly thin, she had an eating disorder. And I can't even begin to tell you what was said about the overweight ladies (including me).

And some of those were trainers.
August 12, 2012 4:44 PM
QUOTE:

I'm part of a co-ed gym right now and I feel a little..eh going near the men's domain (weights, machines), but I like biking and soon to go on the row machine, but I'm always self-conscious about trying out new machines in front of people in general.. I don't know why. That's why I like to have my hubby with me lol. If I had a workout buddy, I would feel a lot better and not as insecure. But with the things I do now, I don't feel self-conscious bc I'm comfortable with what I use. I feel stupid when I don't know how to use something.. trying to break that habit and act like I don't care, ha.

Sorry, I hope I made some sense :)


You made total sense!

I was afraid of the weights at first. The serious guys are pretty intimidating. I started out on machines about two months into my membership. I haven't made my way into the free weights yet. But I will.

I've always been more self conscious doing ab work though. I think I'm more comfortable now that my abs are a bit stronger (even if they're still buried under fat) from dancing and yoga. I did my first pushups and planks in plain view of some of the guys the other day, and I thank everything for the vinyasa I've been practicing.
August 12, 2012 4:50 PM
I've heard mixed things about female gyms. I've never been to one because the ones around me don't have everything I want and need out of a gym.

The gym I go to is a bit of a yuppie gym but I've never had trouble with the guys... I just tend to avoid them, especially the ones that clearly think they're amazing. If they were all that fantastic they'd be at a gym that was more concerned about lifting rather than a female dominated gym.
  12734640
August 12, 2012 4:50 PM
I preferred Fernwood over my Co-Ed gym. Essendon football players would come in and work out, which while being awesome to look at, would make me really self concious and avoid using equipment near them.

But I don't really like gyms. I prefer to just do my own walking/work out DVDs for free and at home.
August 12, 2012 4:57 PM
I've used both and I greatly prefer the all-females gym. I just feel really uncomfortable working out around men. Yes, some (most) people at the gym can be supportive, but I feel like I haven't yet reached that level of self-confidence to 'not care' about the few negative snickers. I know myself and one negative comment or giggle while I huff and puff and it would be enough to scare me away from the place. I like feeling 'at home' at my gym. I'm lucky enough to have a womens only gym that still has all the amenities, classes and weights that would be offered at a co-ed.

Maybe one day when I feel better in my skin I'll venture into one of my gyms co-ed branches, but for now women's only all the way.
Edited by Savemyshannon On August 12, 2012 4:58 PM
  5318609

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