She thinks she’s fat. She hates it. She is insecure. There is no way a female like her will step into a gym crammed with raucous gym-bros chest-bumping each other -- the fear is too overpowering.
But many females all over the world feel the same way about the gym. In fact, a new study found that one in four women suffer from ‘gymtimidation’ and therefore don’t go to the gym.
Many females feel out of place when surrounded by testosterone-oozing males in the gym. The result is that ‘gymtimidation’ obstructs them from acquiring the health benefits they need.
However, this is not the case for Maryam Durani, a brave woman living in Kandahar, Afghanistan, who has endured death threats, suicide bombings, and an assassination attempt.
In 2019, Durani opened Kandahar’s first women’s club which provides a gym, a classroom for Islamic and English classes, and a seamstress who sells clothes for women. Tucked away in a windowless basement, this woman's club is vilified by the many extremists in Kandahar.
Women are frequently stoned, verbally harassed, and kicked when they exit the gym because according to the extremists, the club is a “house of prostitution where whores exercise to make themselves more appealing to men.”
As one woman puts it, “My father and brothers said they would kill me if I went to a health club.”
In certain cultures and locations, though family members don’t threaten them if they go to the gym, teenage girls may still suffer from ‘gymtimidation’.
Recently, many institutions around the world have made changes to address ‘gymtimidation’ by blocking out times for only females to go to the gym.
Not only does this reduce ‘gymtimidation’, but it helps build the health benefits females need, just like men.
For the macho men in the gym, be aware of ‘gymtimidation’ because it is real. Don’t threaten to kill a girl if they go to the gym. And lastly, for both sexes, push yourself at the gym to get those gains!