From Fonda to Fierce- The Evolution of Women in Fitness

By Kandice 0

Why are there more females in the gym today, than ever before?

Buns of Steel! 8 Minute Abs! Body Break! Now that I have your attention like those old school infomercials, let’s take a closer look at why these trends were the go-to workouts for women 10-20 years ago and what has changed leading more women to enter gyms like The Garage Gym and stand out among the men.

Jane fonda image low impact workout

We’ve all done it. We’ve wanted that slim, model body; those long legs, that thigh gap, those toned arms.  This is what led most women’s workout goals 20 years ago. It’s no coincidence that those 80’s singlets worn by Jane Fonda had high cut hips and made her legs go on for days!! Women simply wanted to be thin.  Trends at the time revolved around home workout videos, jazzercise and step aerobics classes.  Designed to be high cardio, body weight workouts, that would lean you out.

As time went on, trends changed.  In the ’90s, workouts shifted to Tae Bo, spinning and Zumba. Still a lot of home workout videos. Some dance-based workouts that were fun and more challenging.  Yet still lacked something…. weights.

In the 2000s, exercise seemed to make a bigger change with workouts from the likes of Jillian Michaels and emerging gyms like Crossfit. Women began to embrace adding weights to their workouts and found confidence hitting up their local Globo gym and doing more than just the stair master. 

Finally, here we are in 2019, where powerlifting, weight training and high-intensity interval training is the norm!

So what changed?

The simple answer is – mindset!

thor winking

Women decided that while it’s okay to be thin and toned, it’s also okay to have muscle and be a little thick in the right places.  

Women began to embrace being strong and learned that lifting weights will not make you look bulky or manly.  They realized that muscle burns more calories than fat, so lifting weights will actually help you lean out quicker! They read articles on how lifting weights can help curb loss of bone density as we age and how it can prevent injury in day-to-day life.  

Women have also embraced being challenged.  Stepping into a gym full of dudes and being able to deadlift, squat and bench press is empowering.

Women have allowed their confidence to shine through. They stepped outside the private mirrored aerobics rooms and are walking onto the gym floor like they own the place!

garage gym female working out

On the other side, men have also embraced their female counterparts and welcomed them into workouts with open arms. Although there will always be the gym creeper, there are also genuinely great guys who are willing to help and are damn proud when you pull a personal best!

The changes over the decades have been huge for women in the gym. Going from home workout videos to the confines of the group workout room, to stepping into the rack. But the changes in women’s’ mindsets is really what has made the biggest difference.

So ladies, continue to hold your head high and walk onto that gym floor like you belong there because you do! Keep grabbing those weights and trying new exercises you were afraid of before. Ask questions and for a spot when you need it. You are strong as hell.


author: Kandice

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