Women-only gyms: work up a sweat without worrying about stares

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The concept has been around since the early 2000s but is struggling to find its place, sports halls reserved for women, however, are regaining ground in Normandy. A new gym opens in Alençon in l’Orne to allow training without worrying about appearance. Franchises struggle to stay open in this niche: 100% female gyms are not necessarily successful. Curves has closed its rooms in Petit-Quevilly or Hérouville-st-Clair, the same scene as Lady Fitness in Rouen or Lady Mooving in Bayeux. But some structures still resist and attract. New concepts are also emerging. After a career as a management assistant in a company, Fatima Fanouillet decided to pass her BPJEPS diploma in order to teach group classes and specialize in bodybuilding and weightlifting. Small originality, it is the women who will teach. It’s an option that ensures it allows licensees to get the most out of a sport without worrying about the male gaze. His room, FF Studio, will open its doors in Alençon a l’Orne. “The idea came to me when I had my children, 30 kilos for pregnancy! When I went back to the gym, I heard the stares and the criticism.” I said to myself “I don’t want this ever again, I put myself in the head of those who live it all the time!” Fátima Fanouillet – manager of FF Studio d’Alençon At 38 years old, Fátima has been doing sports training with associations and companies for 8 years. • © Fatima Fanouillet This manager has invested more than 250,000 euros in this new room that opens its doors on September 19, 2022. The sports trainer will teach classes in muscle strengthening, fitness, stretching, Zumba and in the next 3 years, she hopes to be able to invest in machines to install a real weight room. He already receives calls from motivated women, but there are those on social networks who criticize his approach, he explains without complexities. It was the feminists who explained to me that with this room we are going backwards, it is not defending women’s rights. I don’t see how I go against our rights, it’s something that comes! Lady Fitness is a gym that resists! Opened 22 years ago by a businesswoman, Corinne Fleury, this 100% female structure has found its rhythm. Between 500 and 600 members are loyal to these courses adapted to their specific needs. “The classes are tailor-made, we don’t quite have the same needs as men. For example, push-ups, for women it’s more difficult, on the other hand: we’ll work more on the glutes.” There are many women who do not want to be disturbed, others who need to be quiet, less guarded! A sports club is a meeting place like any other, but for some women it is embarrassing. You have to dare to sweat, move your hips to a Zumba tune…some women do better without a male gaze around them. Corinne Fleury Creator and manager of Lady Fitness A gym reserved for women • ©Bérangère Dunglas / France Télévisions The recipe for the success of this independent gym is also the installation of a broader concept of beauty and cocoon. There are massage services, beauty treatments, hairdressing, sessions with an osteopath. For the entrepreneur, it’s a great way to stand out and continue to do well where other franchises have already closed their doors. Another alternative to better include all women, some clubs offer a dedicated room. This is the case of L’Arène, located in the metropolitan area of ​​Rouen. Since 2019, this independent structure has made available to women a 400 m2 room in its Petit-Quevilly club “We have organized ourselves this way, because there is demand, especially from women of Muslim culture, for whom the mixing is complicated.” This 100% female room is equipped with the same machines as the mixed room, except for the free weights as the floor is not suitable. There are guided machines, and cardio. Women use more machines to work the lower body, rather than building the upper body. There really is a demand for these rooms! Anthony Carpentier – manager of the Arène Proving that the formula works, this company also offers a room for women in its new club located in Rouen and open for the start of the 2022 academic year.
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