As pioneers of low-cost fitness and breaking down the barriers to exercise, The Gym Group is backing the Government’s ‘Be Real’ campaign for body confidence by encouraging more women to take up strength training and challenging outdated attitudes to working out with weights.
Statistics released by the Government’s ‘Be Real’ campaign highlighted that 87% of girls aged 11-21 think that women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability and women’s body satisfaction does not improve as they move toward and into midlife.
As more positive role models are putting super waifs in the shade by promoting beautifully strong, healthy bodies, the latest research from The Gym Group underlines this positive national trend in changing attitudes. Figures show that more women are taking over the free weight areas and are enjoying the benefits associated with strength training traditionally dominated by their male counterparts.
Jim Graham, The Gym’s Chief Operating Officer, comments: “Over the past three years we have been closely monitoring usage levels across our gym floors and have observed a significant increase in the number of women wanting to become beautifully strong as oppose to just ‘thin’. As a result, we are in the process of re-addressing our gym provision, dedicating a higher percentage of the gym floor to resistance kit and free weights than ever before.”
This trend is supported by results released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in their recent ‘Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016’ report which lists free weights as a top five fitness trend prediction for 2016.
In a survey of more than 2,000 female members of The Gym questioned across the UK last month, an overwhelming 93% said they now incorporate resistance training, including free weights and strength equipment, as part of their regular workout routine with impressive 65% of them lift up to three times a week. To underline its rise in popularity, just over three quarters of respondents (76%) said they had increased their resistance training in the last 12 – 18 months and just shy of half (49%) quoted free weights as their favourite piece of gym equipment.
“We put this change in gym behaviour down to a couple of factors”, continued Graham. “Firstly, more and more women being inspired by female athletes sporting beautifully sculptured physiques. When questioned, over half (31%) of female members wanted a body like Jess Ennis-Hill, compared to only 10% who aspired to have a body like Kate Moss.
“Secondly, we have worked hard to make our free weight areas less intimidating and more welcoming to beginners and novice gym users, especially women, by increasing the lighting, expanding the range of weights available and increasing the size of the area so people don’t feel they are encroaching on the space of others.”
[Top 10 reasons to become beautifully strong 1. Increases lean muscle mass to achieve a toned, svelte physique 2. Improves flexibility 3. It boosts metabolism and burns fat 4. Increases skeletal strength and reduces risk of osteoporosis 5. Helps reduce risk of injury, back pain and arthritis 6. Improves posture 7. Reduces risk of heart disease 8. Boosts confidence and mental well-being 9. Improves balance and co-ordination 10. It’s never too late to start and strength improvements can be made at any age]
The Gym Group is currently holding trial Women & Weights sessions at selected sites including The Gym in Nottingham, Manchester and Birmingham. To find out more about becoming #beautifullystrong visit www.thegymgroup.com<http://www.thegymgroup.com>
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By Mike Valverde