Female only gyms are gaining traction in Dublin in line with the new trend across the fitness world in recent years.
From the rise in popularity of fitness influencers on social media to the discomfort felt by a lot of women, particularly in the wake of the #metoo movement, female-only workout spaces are more relevant now than ever before.
Thecity.ie spoke to Tricia Mooney who owns Devine Fitness which offers a range of fitness classes for women.
“When I first started, my first class was a mix of all my friends, sisters and [their] friends and by chance [everyone] was female. I named these boot camp classes ‘Bikini Body’ as they were all women,” said Mooney. “I then decided because there’s no [fitness classes] around for just women that I would do that and it worked.”
Having completed a personal training course while working full-time, Mooney soon focused on setting up Devine Fitness as her full time career in 2012. She was able to identify a market for women hoping to work out in an environment free of intimidation and, as a single mother of a 17-year-old daughter, she recognised the importance of women supporting women to achieve their goals.
“I have women come to me all the time saying they just felt uncomfortable in their gym and that ladies only is brilliant because there’s no awkwardness or uncomfortable feelings while training and we have such a laugh,” said Mooney.
Alice McIntyre, 22, is a UCD student who chooses to workout at a female only gym instead of availing of her university’s facilities.
She explained her choice to thecity.ie: “I find the female only gym really good. With only females there, I think the atmosphere is more inviting. There’s no feeling of intimidation that you would normally get in a gym with males.”
McIntyre continued, “Because of that, I find [myself] motivated to push myself without fear of looking silly, or doing something wrong. I don’t feel self-conscious as I would if there were males in the gym.”
While there have been many debates in countries such as the U.S. regarding female only workout spaces or hours in public gyms and pools, McIntyre believes “there’s a sense of being empowered with all females working hard and getting stronger too.”
Speaking in relation to critics, Mooney said: “Each to their own opinion, there will always be people who think female-only workout paces are discriminatory.”
The main objective of Devine Fitness is not to create a gender divide in the world of fitness but to focus on “women getting fit, getting strong, having a laugh, meeting new people and growing [their] confidence,” said Mooney. “It’s therapeutic, it’s a place of security.”