Read these 18 Women Only Gyms Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Womens Fitness tips and hundreds of other topics.
Circuit training can provide a challenging workout if you change up the routine regularly. Well-designed circuit training workouts vary the order and intensity of exercises and keep the body guessing as to what comes next. This is a very effective way to train.
Another terrific thing about circuit training is that it can be done by people of all different fitness levels. The individual exercises can be adapted to increase or decrease the difficulty level, and weights can be adjusted based on strength. It is a good form of training for both the novice and advanced person alike.
Circuit training routines can be developed for all different types of fitness goals as well. There are ones designed to increase strength and ones to increase endurance. There are also some routines that work on both. You can adjust the time you spend doing the exercise and the time spent resting to either raise or lower the intensity level.
Some "boot camps" feature circuit training as the main exercise system, but then vary the exercises daily. Many gyms for women have circuit training classes or equipment, and it continues to be a popular method of training in health clubs throughout the country. Even some personal trainers have adapted the circuit training idea for their clients.
There are several pieces of cardiovascular equipment that you will typically run into at a health club. As you use them, you will generally find ones that you naturally gravitate toward. In the meantime, here are a few that turn up in almost every gym:
With over 10,000 locations, Curves is one of the world's largest franchises. Their business model is based on a 30-minute circuit for women, as wells as a women's weight management program. According the Curves website, this plan:
The company known as Shapes for Women is the manufacturer of the hydraulic equipment used in facilities that offer circuit training for women. A typical Shapes for Women package includes the following machines:
Shapes for Women is often confused with Shapes Total Fitness for Women, which is a Florida-based chain that focuses on classes that feature specific exercises for women. The company also has a Shapes Fitness Academy, which is a total training program for women who would like to become women's health and fitness instructors.
With the growing popularity of all-women's gyms, you may be wondering if you should join one. For the novice or significantly overweight exerciser, an all female gym can offer a refuge from embarrassment. Some women also believe that in a women-only fitness center, women are more supportive and less competitive. Exceptionally busy women tend to enjoy the circuit-style gyms, which allow them to get in and out in 30 minutes.
Women whose religions do not allow them to show their bodies around men often tend to join women's fitness centers. Others join for social purposes. Women's health clubs also tend to have fitness equipment that has a more user-friendly design for the female body. These gyms may also offer services such as babysitting, prenatal classes and special classes for women with osteoporosis.
While these are all excellent reasons to join a women's health club, the counter arguments against joining should be taken into consideration. Consider this: If it women only fitness centers are acceptable, is it also OK to once again have all male fitness centers, golf courses, etc.? If so, if these all male centers once again become the prime spots for corporate networking, how will that affect women in the corporate world? Although religious women and former rape victims may have a valid reason for joining a women's fitness center, some gyms, such as Healthworks Fitness for Women in Boston, hire a considerable number of male personal trainers and group exercise instructors. You should also consider whether the exercises for women that are featured at the franchises offering circuit training will remain challenging enough to be effective in the long run. Also since the programs are exactly the same, there is a higher tendency for boredom and burnout.
Keep in mind that many all-female gyms are staffed by women who have limited experience in the fitness industry. This can be a problematic if you have any serious health issues.
Shoulder stretches and strengtheners are important exercises for women because many of us harbor so much tension in our shoulders. And if you spend most of your sitting in front of a computer, you are likely to develop a hunched posture that makes you look and feel tired.
But fortunately there are plenty of exercises to help you sculpt your shoulder and combat “computer hunch.”
Try this simple exercise for starters, the Single-Arm Lateral Raise:
The increasing prevalence and popularity of women's-only gyms has made a significant difference in women's health. Chains of women's gyms, such as Curves and Liberty Fitness, promote themselves as being more welcoming to women of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels than a coed gym full of iron-pumping guys or skinny girls.
Despite the widespread awareness of the benefits of fitness and the health risks associated with overweight and obesity, many women shy away from a traditional coed gym because they feel intimidated. Women's gyms make women's health a priority, and most of these facilities have certified fitness professionals available to motivate and guide you through a 30-minute workout.
Most doctors recommend a minimum of three 30-minute workouts each week to maintain a basic level of fitness that provides noticeable health benefits compared to an inactive lifestyle.
Many women have a tough time fitting fitness in to their schedules, and women's gyms have responded by designing a 30-minute workout of circuit training for women that combines cardio training, strength training and stretching. The fitness training staff at women's gyms will interview you to assess your health and fitness goals and then show you how to use their equipment in a customized 30-minute workout. Many of these facilities feature machines with hydraulic weights, which can be easier to manage than bulkier free weights and pulley-style machines.
The circuit training programs can be adapted for all fitness levels, from beginner to advanced, so you can adjust your goals as you meet them. In addition, the welcoming environment of women's gyms may motivate you to work out more often, so you are more likely to get that elusive three workouts per week.
Back in the 1960s, there was an abundance of women-only gyms. Even the co-ed gyms of the time, such as Jack La Lanne, featured "men's nights" and "ladies nights." At the time, these women's centers were usually pretty small. Some did not even have showers, because the idea of women sweating during exercise was considered "unfeminine." The names of these women's fitness clubs reflected the philosophy of the times. For example, names such as "Elaine Powers Figure Salon" were popular. These clubs also featured some rather humorous equipment, such as vibrating belts to "vibrate the fat away," and rolling machine to "roll the fat away."
Within the same time frame, there were a number of "men only" gyms, such as the New York Athletic Club. CEOs and other upper level executives often used these fitness centers for corporate networking. However, with the rise of the feminist movement, many women entered the corporate marketplace. There was justifiable concern that since many of the mega business deals were done at these fitness clubs, women were at a disadvantage. After all, if they were not allowed to literally "swim with the sharks," how would they advance their careers? Eventually, due to pressure from the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other organizations, these clubs were liberated.
In the past decade, women's health clubs have made a comeback. Many have appeared in the form of franchises that focus on circuit training for women. Others are full-service gyms that are independently owned and operated. Why the sudden reappearance? It's hard to say. Some of the franchises were actually started as a conservative reaction to what fundamentalists see as "an increasingly immoral society." The owners of these franchises believe that women should not be exposing their workout-clad bodies in public, when men are present. Rumors, which have yet to be substantiated, suggest that portions of the franchise fees from these women's fitness centers are donated to anti-choice organizations.
Ironically, feminists who once opposed the all-male fitness centers developed many of the other women's health clubs. These women's fitness clubs often have added perks, such as babysitting, prenatal exercise classes and exercise equipment that is specifically designed for women. They may also have extensive spas services.
Circuit training can be an extremely effective way to work out, as long as you know how to do the exercises properly. Be sure you are getting the most out of your workout by employing the following smart tips:
You may want to visit a gym before signing up -- it can be the best way to tell if it is the right place for you. There are many ways to go about this, but here are a few ideas you can use to get inside and see things for yourself:
Gyms for women are popping up everywhere these days. The concept has taken off as more and more women have gravitated toward the low-pressure format and comfortable atmosphere. Many women enjoy the idea of working out in a place where there are only women.
Some all-women gyms are extremely basic, offering circuit training equipment and not much else. These facilities are designed for women who are looking for a quick, basic workout routine that will hit the major muscle groups while helping them improve cardiovascular fitness as well. They are ideal for those looking for an inexpensive place to work out with no frills.
Other gyms that cater to women are more comprehensive in their offerings. Some hold fitness classes geared for women, including salsa dance or even belly dancing. Others may have a fancy locker room area, complete with a sauna and steam room.
There are also gyms that fall somewhere in-between no frills and high end. Deciding which one is right for you will depend on what features you are looking for. Do a little comparison shopping and pick the place that most closely matches your needs. You may also want to inquire about special deals, promotions or packages before signing on at any one facility.
Most women's fitness clubs focus on a group exercise schedule that features the best exercises for women. These often include "Butts and Guts" classes, Body Sculpting, Stability Ball classes and Pilates. You can also expect to see many yoga classes on the schedule, as well as a variety and dance inspired workout sessions, such as Balletcore, Belly Dancing and others. If you are pregnant, a women's fitness center will probably be the best place to find prenatal exercise classes that are scheduled at a convenient time.
If you are not pregnant, and if you are not a fan of pre-choreographed exercise sessions, you will probably enjoy cycling workouts.
Once you have decided to join an all female gym, there are some important criteria for choosing one that best suits your purposes. Here are some things to consider when choosing an all-women's gym:
One of the advantages of an all-female gym is the fact that the equipment will be specially designed for a women's body. For example, at coed gyms, it may be difficult to find the correct seat settings for shorter women. While some coed gyms feature the abductor/adductor machines for the inner and outer thighs, as well as the "butt-buster" machines for the gluteals, you are more likely to find these machines at an all women's fitness center.Additionally, many women claim that women are more likely than men to wipe the sweat off the equipment after use.
You have probably noticed that many of the women's health clubs feature circuit training for women. These circuits feature a series of exercises for women that are performed in a rapid sequence. In most cases, the groups of 6 to 10 strength exercises are performed for a specified number of repetitions or for a prescribed period of time prior to moving on to the next exercise. Before you go through the circuit, you will usually have an aerobic warm-up. By moving through the strength training exercises as quickly as possible, you heart rate stays elevated throughout the entire workout.
There are many reasons why circuit training is particularly beneficial for the reconditioned female exerciser.
When it comes to exercise fitness centers, costs can add up quickly. It can be a good idea to decide on a budget for exercise and any related expenses prior to looking for a facility to join.
If you are tight on funds, see if there are any places you may be able to cut back a bit in order to make a gym membership possible. Sometimes all you need is a slight budget adjustment in order to free up some funds for fitness. Also, check into low-frills facilities, such as some of the all-women gyms. Many tend to offer rates that are fairly inexpensive.
Comparison shopping is another way to find a gym that matches your budget needs. Call around for prices, ask friends for information and keep an eye open for special membership deals. Some places offer the same specials each year, while others vary them based on membership availability. If you have a job outside the home, you may also want to check fitness centers around your place of employment to see what their rates are as well.
Keep an eye out for hidden costs. Some places charge an annual membership fee in addition to monthly dues. Some may not include exercise classes in the cost of membership. Make sure you know what the package entails before signing up as a member, just to be on the safe side.
What is the right type of fitness exercise program for your lifestyle? This answer depends in part on what you enjoy and also what your personality is like.
Do you like to be social? Exercise classes may be the perfect solution. You can team up with a girlfriend and take a Pilates class, or make friends at the gym when you get there. There can be a sense of camaraderie in a class setting which makes it fun for those who enjoy being around other people in this type of atmosphere.
Are you a private person? Perhaps a gym that has a membership made up entirely of women may be a good choice. Also, if you prefer, you can opt to work out during hours where there are not many people around at the facility. Try going at different times to see what the crowd is like, or ask an employee when the slow times are.
Those who like to get their workout in quickly might be completely satisfied with a 30-minute circuit training program. These are offered by many health clubs and have become a popular choice for those who are pressed for time. Proximity to your home may be another factor here as well.
On the other hand, if you are someone who really loves to spend time at the health club you may want to hold out for one with a more "spa-like" setting. Some facilities even offer extras such as massage and other spa services.
No matter what your particular taste is, if you find the right match you will be more likely to use the facility. Take a little time to think about where you would fit best and make the choice that is right for you.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|