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Best Gyms for Women in 2023: 8 Safe Spaces to Get Fit

The ideal gym for women offers a non-intimidating, supportive environment with female-focused services. Look for features like women-only spaces, classes designed for women's fitness needs, and personalized coaching options.

Gyms
10 min readAugust 3rd, 2023
JBGWritten By Jessica Braun Gervais

OVERVIEW

The last few years have seen a rise in women-only or women-centered gyms, offering female and female-identifying individuals a safe, comfortable, and empowering space to focus on their workouts and wellness.

Best Gyms for Women


Benefits of Gyms for Women

Women-focused gyms provide a supportive and comfortable environment for females to work out without the intimidation or unwanted attention many individuals experience in traditional fitness studios. Women-centered gyms also tend to have an all-female or predominantly female workforce as front desk staff, instructors, and in leadership positions.

While some women-centered gyms are exclusively for women, many are inclusive of all genders, including cis males. It’s also a misconception that women-center gyms only focus on cardio or stretching, when in fact, many studios include free weights and strength training, just like you’d find in a traditional co-ed gym.

What separates women-focused gyms is the dedication to a safer, less intimidating environment with a more holistic approach to health and wellness.

Less intimidation

Gym intimation affects all genders, but it seems to impact women more than men. According to a survey conducted by Fitrated, a platform for gym equipment reviews, nearly 65 percent of women say they avoid the gym because they feel intimidated and judged, compared to only 36 percent of men.

Women-centered gyms focus on community to create a welcoming environment where members feel comfortable and confident in their workouts. Many female-focused gyms offer group training or instructor-led classes to encourage members to leave their comfort zones and try new exercises. Group classes also allow members to meet like-minded individuals and build rapport with individuals on similar fitness journeys.

Safer environment

A recent 2021 report from Run Repeat says 56 percent of women experience harassment at gyms, which is more than 2.5 times that of male gym goers. Most of the incidents from the study include unwanted attention, comments, or contact, primarily from male gym-goers.

Because so many women-centered gyms are focused on community, they often cultivate an inherently safer environment for all genders. Many also have strict no-tolerance policies to prevent harassment before it starts.

Holistic approach to health and wellness

Traditional co-ed gyms are often a space for individuals to work out without much guidance or interaction from others. Even if fitness instructors are on the premises, many do not openly interact with members outside of group sessions or paid personal training.

In many women-focused gyms, the workout or physical fitness aspect comes with a more holistic approach to fitness. Some studios offer nutrient consulting, personal training, daycare services, smaller group sessions, or female-focused seminars to help members understand all aspects of health and wellness.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Gym as a Woman

Gyms can call themselves women-centered, but that doesn’t automatically mean they support women in their gym. As you search for gyms, find somewhere with diverse workouts that you’ll enjoy with an inclusive environment run by women, for women.

Workout Diversity

Ensure the gym offers enough variety to keep your workouts fun and interesting. Many women-centered gyms are boutique-style studios catering to specific exercises such as yoga, HIIT, or cardio boxing. Try complimentary classes, 4-packs, or a one-month non-commitment membership to try a few spots to find which is suitable for you.

Staff

If a gym is women-focused, there should be women working there. And not just women working the front desk but female-identifying trainers and women in management. This isn’t to say that gyms run by men can’t be excellent places for women, but it’s helpful to have female leaders at your gym who understand potential barriers and triggers for women.

Members

Visit gyms during peak hours to get an idea of who is attending. If you see women, introduce yourself and ask them questions about the gym’s culture to get a sense of the environment and workouts. If you walk in and don’t see other women, that’s a red flag.

Inclusivity

All women deserve a safe space to meet their fitness goals. Most women-only gyms welcome all women, whether cis, trans, or non-binary. If you’re unsure if transgender and non-binary folks are welcome, you can check the bottom of a gym’s homepage on their website for a disclaimer that says all services are welcome regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.

No-tolerance Harassment Policy

One of the primary reasons women seek female-only gyms is because of harassment at other gyms. Ask gyms about their harassment policy. Do they have a strict no-tolerance policy, and what precautions are they taking to ensure everyone’s safety?

Our Recommendations: Best Gyms for Women

Are you looking for a supportive environment with killer workouts? Below are our choices of best gyms for women.

Individual Reviews
Starts at $99.99/mo

Yoga Six

Best Yoga Studio

  • Beginners welcome
  • On demand classes
  • Locally owned

Yoga Six – Best Yoga Studio

Yoga Six is a franchise of yoga studios offering six yoga-inspired class types for yogis of all experience levels. You can enjoy a more traditional vinyasa yoga session to improve flexibility and mobility or build strength with one of their sculpt classes. While not a women-only gym, female and female-identifying individuals primarily make up the membership at Yoga Six, and the studio emphasizes the inclusion and acceptance of everyone.

Pros
  • There are classes available for all levels
  • On-demand classes are available
  • Locally owned and operated
Cons
  • Memberships don’t allow you to take classes at other Yoga Six studios

What customers say: Most Yoga Six studios have primarily positive reviews, with members highlighting how welcoming and knowledgeable the staff and instructors are. Other members say they enjoy the variety of classes and how instructors utilize music and lighting to drive the session.

Starts at $100/mo

Pure Barre

Best Low-Impact Workout

  • Beginners welcome
  • On-demand classes
  • Locally owned

Pure Barre – Best Low-impact Workout

Pure Barre offers group classes focusing on low-impact, small movements that strengthen and tone the body. Members can choose from different class types, some of which may utilize resistance bands, sliders, or ankle weights. If you’re new to barre, Pure Barre offers a complimentary foundations class where you can learn the basic movements and get a feel for how the classes run.

Pros
  • Low-impact works great for all fitness levels
  • Complimentary first class
  • On-demand classes are available
  • Locally owned and operated
Cons
  • Limited classes each day with limited spots that can fill up depending on your studio location

What customers say: Members at Pure Barre studios say they love the positive energy that greets them as soon as they walk through the doors. Many reviews also say that individuals value the low-impact workout and see results in their strength and mobility.

Starts at $125/mo

I Love Kickboxing

Best Cardio Workout

  • Tailored workout
  • Inclusive environment
  • Group classes

I Love Kickboxing (ILKB) – Best Cardio Workout

ILKB is a cardio kickboxing gym, meaning it’s a boxing-inspired workout without the contact of traditional kickboxing. They teach a signature cardio kickboxing class that starts with a warmup and stretching before members work a few rounds on the bag. After bag rounds, members do a cardio or strength finisher and finish with a cool down. The company emphasizes culture and describes itself as an all-inclusive, judgment-free gym.

Pros
  • Most first-time memberships come with a free pair of gloves
  • Classes offer a mix of cardio and strength
  • Most classes are 90 percent female
Cons
  • There’s only one class structure
  • Memberships are only valid at single locations

What customers say: According to reviews, members love the challenging workouts and a judgment-free environment with instructors who push them to their potential. People also report feeling strong and more confident in the gym during this kickboxing-inspired workout.

Starts at $89/mo

Kaia Fit

Best Community

  • Community-focused
  • Inclusive environment
  • Online programs

Kaia Fit – Best Community

Kaia Fit is more than a workout. It’s a year-round program to help women achieve their health and wellness goals. Each program includes three 6-week BRIK Bootcamps, cross training, barre, dance, running, TRX, cycling, and power yoga. Programs come with various modifications and progressions to meet women where there are. In addition to intense muscle confusion workouts, Kaia fit offers consistent support from certified fitness professionals, nutritional guidance, and a sense of community.

Pros
  • Online programs are available
  • They offer a variety of workouts, including barre, yoga, cycling, and dance
  • Exercises are perfect for all fitness levels
Cons
  • All physical locations are on the west coast

What customers say: Women from the Kaia Fit community say they enjoy how creative and exciting the workouts are. Participants also say Kais Fit helps them get out of their comfort zone and provides results to their physical body, energy levels, and improved mood.

Starts at $39/mo

Curves

Best for Senior Women

  • Female-focused
  • Body composition scan
  • Free monthly coaching

Curves – Best for Senior Women

Curves is an affordable women-only studio with 30 years of experience in women’s fitness. Each Curves workout is a 30-minute full-body circuit combining strength training, aerobic exercises, and stretching. Low and high-impact workouts are available with plenty of modifications, making it an excellent option for women of all ages and fitness levels.

Beyond a killer workout, Curves emphasizes community, allowing members to be a part of a non-intimidating gym surrounded by like-minded women in a small group setting led by supportive female coaches. Curves also offers a nutrition and weight management program at an additional price.

Pros
  • In-club memberships give you access to monthly one-on-one coaching sessions
  • On-demand classes are available
  • The first workout is free
  • Workouts are for women of all ages and fitness levels
Cons
  • Nutrition and weight management program costs extra

What customers say: Members say they enjoy the coachs’ positivity and motivation, with many instructors reaching out if individuals miss a few days to help them stay on track. People also note how clean the gyms are and like the variety of machines.

Starts at $70/mo

Air

Most Unique Workout

  • Aerial workout
  • Family-friendly
  • Private classes available

AIR – Most Unique Workout

AIR is the nation’s leading aerial fitness training method. There are four class types: a foundations class for beginners, a 30-min ab blast, a mid-level flow class incorporating core work while providing a deep stretch using the hammock, and an advanced aerial class for long-time members.

All workouts allow you to play in the aerial hammocks while strengthening your core and toning your physique by fusing elements of conditions, Pilates, and HIIT. Not only is AIR women-centered, but it’s also family-friendly, with classes and programs for kids. You can also book a private group class for special events, parties, or team building.

Pros
  • Unique workout for all levels
  • Different class types focused on strength and stretching
  • Family-friendly with kids’ classes
  • Private classes available
Cons
  • Currently only in AZ, CA, CP, IL, NJ, NC, OK.

What customers say: Aerial fitness is unique, which can make it intimidating at first, but members say the intimidation fades away the moment you enter the studio. Reviews from various studios say the staff is supportive and kind, going above and beyond to give first-timers a welcoming experience.

Starts at $100/mo

Blush Boot Camp

Best Boot Camp

  • Female-focused
  • Weekly workouts
  • Free daycare

Blush Fitness – Best Boot Camp

Blush Boot Camp is a gym working to empower women through fitness. Their boot camp programs focus on strengthening the body and mind. The gym fosters a community to create a safe space for women to work out comfortably. Blush launches new workouts every seven days to keep boot camp fun, so you never do the same training twice. In addition to enjoyable and challenging exercises, Blush coaches meets with members individually each month to discuss health and wellness goals and help devise a plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Pros
  • Workouts change weekly
  • Free daycare while you work out
  • Free nutritional support and mindset coaching
Cons
  • Primarily in KS & MO but expanding (new studios in CO, TX, IA, NE, FL

What customers say: Many women attending Blush Boot Camps say they no longer feel like working out is a chore but something they look forward to doing. Other members say Blush has changed their view on fitness and the energy from instructors and other members makes hitting fitness goals less daunting.

Starts at $10/mo

Planet Fitness

Best Open Gym

  • Great guest pass program
  • Affordable
  • Many open 24/7

Planet Fitness – Best Open Gym

Planet Fitness advertises itself as a judgment-free gym. The gym works to create an environment that makes everyone feel confident and comfortable working out. If you want guidance on how to use a machine or what helps construct a workout, all members have access to free personal training and the PF 30-minute express circuit.

If you’re a PF Black Card member, you can gain access to any Planet Fitness location and bring a free guest every time you work out. PF Black Card members also enjoy various gym perks like massage chairs, hydromassage, tanning, and discounted drinks. If you’re not into a group fitness setting but enjoy an open gym setting with treadmills, bikes, free weights, and machines, Planet Fitness is worth checking out.

Pros
  • Various affordable membership options
  • All memberships include free fitness training with a certified trainer
  • Free guest pass & premium amenities with PF Black membership
Cons
  • Not a strong culture of motivation or accountability

What customers say: Planet Fitness is more of a co-ed space, but members say they find it less intimidating than other traditional gyms. People enjoy the wide range of machines and equipment and say most locations are clean and have a great staff.

GymStarting PriceGuest PassesGroup ClassesWomen OnlyLGBTQ Friendly
YogaSix$30 per class or $99 per monthNoYesNoYes
Pure Barre$22 per class or $100 per monthFirst Class FreeYesNoYes
I Love Kickboxing$125.99 per monthNoYesNoYes
Kaia Fit$89 per monthFirst Week FreeYesYesYes
Curves$39 per monthFirst Workout is FreeYesYesYes
Air$30 per class or $70 per monthNoYesNoYes
Blush Fitness$15-20 per class or $100+ per monthNoYesYesYes
Planet Fitness$10 per monthYesYesNoYes

What to Expect at Gyms for Women

If you’re used to a traditional co-ed gym, you’ll likely notice a few differences when you enter a gym for women.

  • The space: Gyms for women tend to have more of a boutique feel. The physical space may be smaller, but you can expect it to be clean and less hectic. Many women find women-only gyms cleaner, brighter, and quieter than co-ed spaces.
  • The workouts: Gyms geared toward women often focus on group training, although many will have open gym hours for you to use for solo workouts. Group workouts will vary depending on the gym, but they’re not easier or less effective than a co-ed gym. Many women find women-center studio workouts to lead to better results because instructors are more approachable and work with members to customize exercises and meet women where they are on their fitness journey.
  • The culture: Many gyms for women have a strong emphasis on community. You can expect a welcoming staff with interactive trainers who will provide guidance and instruction for your workouts. It’s also common for the community of members to be more welcoming, and many women find female-only gyms to be a great place to network and meet like-minded individuals.

Bottomline

Gyms don’t have to be intimidating, and all women deserve a safe place to reach their fitness goals free of judgment and unwanted attention. Joining a women-centered gym gives females and female-identifying individuals a trusting community and guidance from women instructors and leaders for a more holistic approach to health and wellness.

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