Why Penance Gym is Appealing to Women, Part 3 – Direction

At Penance, our female clients outnumber our male clients almost 3-to-1.

And if you asked each woman what she gets from training in our gym, you would get a lot of answers that also have a common theme running through them.

We solve a problem for them.

There are 4 major problems that we solve – time, direction, inclusion, and independence. These are not small problems. Women come to us listing these problems as the barriers preventing them from reaching their goals. 

Not all women began as girls who played sports. For those that did, they learned to love how their body moved and what it was capable of. But that doesn’t mean that they were taught how to exercise properly to build strength or prevent injury. 

And for the girls who weren’t active, who may have disliked sweating or discomfort, who may have been clumsy or unsure of how to move their body in space, they can feel even more physically awkward around their peers.

These girls grow up to become women with multiple joint surgeries, or body problems, or who believe that fitness just “isn’t for them”. They believe that since they didn’t learn it when they were younger, they can’t do it now that they’re older.

Something finally happens in their life to make them realize that they have to learn it now. Their bodies don’t respond to the same routine, their waistline increases, the number on the scale keeps creeping up, an important trip or family event is coming up and they just don’t want to show up looking like they do.

But the thought of appearing stupid or embarrassing themselves keeps them in a panicked state of inaction. For the women who were previously active, they kick themselves believing that “they should be able to do this on their own”, but they’re not making progress. For the women who were never active, it’s a whole ‘nother story.

This is where we help.

We teach each woman exactly what she needs to know to be successful. We explain the importance of doing each movement and how it directly affects her life outside of the gym. We demonstrate how we want each movement performed. Once she begins performing the movement herself, we provide immediate performance-based feedback so she understands what she’s doing correctly and how to fix improper movement. And then we repeatedly practice the movements so she gains competence in her ability and increases her confidence in what her body is capable of.

But there is a lesser known form of direction that we also provide our clients.

A lot of our teaching is helping women with the mental and emotional work of undertaking change. 

We help to undo restrictive thought processes so they can make way for positive ones. Change happens in the mind first. That old saying “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” is true for a reason. A woman’s thought process helps to define her reality. And negative thoughts prevent women from making progress.

We help to give women permission to use their bodies. For one reason or another, some women just don’t like to “take up too much space”, or “be in the way”. In order for functional fitness to be effective, women HAVE to use their bodies. They have to stick their bottoms out. They have to stand with their feet wide apart. They have to spread their knees and splay their arms at all angles. Functional movement helps to prevent injuries, so the body needs to be trained in a wide variety of positions. 

We help them learn that habits like rest and recovery improve performance in the gym. (And teaching a woman to rest is one of the HARDEST lessons to teach her.) During active fitness, their bodies are exposed to stress. But the body needs the appropriate amount of downtime to recover from that stress. We build in specific rest periods for most workouts, but for others, we want them to practice deciding how much rest they should take before continuing with their workouts. Rest and recovery are deliberate actions that are necessary to ensure progress.

We help to provide women with a space so they can work on themselves one small step at a time.

Progress is a process. If it was easy to flip a switch and achieve the results you want, there would be no Penance Gym. But change doesn’t happen overnight. Some days, she’ll be in a space to push her body hard during her workouts. Some days, she needs to protect her energy and just move her body. Each of these days are a step forward. Plateau’s in physical development are GOING to happen. And when they do, these are great opportunities to work on adjusting mindset and personal expectations.

Not every woman WANTS to feel like a b@d@ss in the gym. She just wants to feel good about herself. The workout is the means to AN end to help make that happen. But women spend a lot of time in their minds and their hearts. And in order to help each woman reach her goals, we know we have to help them develop those areas as well.

If these women sound a little bit like you, send us a message or click that “Free Intro” button. Tell us what you’ve been struggling with and what goals you’re trying to achieve. We’d love to help you get there.