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The Benefits of a Women-only Gym

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GoddessFit wants to create a body-positive culture for women at gyms.

By Shelby Woods, Photos courtesy of GoddessFitGoddessFit is a women-only studio where personal trainers focus on women’s overall health, teaching body positivity and proper nutrition while offering individualized workouts for each body type. But at a women-only gym like GoddessFit, women receive so much more than just a solid workout. They form relationships with their trainers and with each other, giving them a unique community they wouldn’t have at a regular gym.

Members of GoddessFit are often members of co-ed gyms too, as the pull toward women-only gyms seems to be less about intimidation at regular gyms and more about the specialized attention they receive at a women-only gym. In a regular gym, there isn’t the same sense of female empowerment.

Rebecca Bingham, a personal trainer at GoddessFit, believes women are drawn to women-only gyms because they’re geared specifically toward women’s bodies.

“Our bodies really are different, and being women, we know that,” Bingham says.

Veronica Ethridge, GoddessFit’s program director and personal trainer believes “it’s about specializing and working with women, not about excluding men.”

Exercise science has focused on the male body and then applied it to women, Ethridge says. At GoddessFit, women of all ages and body types can expand their fitness goals without feeling the intimidation of attending a regular gym.

Because Austin is regarded as a progressive city, Ethridge chose the locale to pursue a career in women’s health. She worked for Premiere Ladies Fitness before GoddessFit and is a fitness instructor at the all-girls Scottish Rite Dormitory at the University of Texas. For her, fitness isn’t just about sport, but about helping her clients feel good. This includes at-home care, stress-reduction techniques and muscle activation.

Most women who walk through the doors of GoddessFit experience some sort of body dysmorphia, according to Bingham.

“It doesn’t matter how thin they are, they always think they can lose 10 pounds,” Bingham says.

Ethridge agrees, saying her focus when working with clients is to redirect their focus from having the “perfect” body to improving quality of life. In a culture that idolizes a specific body type, Ethridge tries to show women their overall health is much more important than looking a certain way.

“We can’t change the culture by ourselves,” Bingham says, “just one woman at a time.”

Besides offering women a way to focus on health without being judged, GoddessFit and other women-centric gyms also provide a place to connect and grow together, celebrating bodies in a way that often isn’t available in a regular gym

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