Happy International Women’s Day!
This year's theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Break The Bias’. This is about focusing on and celebrating female empowerment and the choices women make, whilst breaking the stereotypes that women face daily. As an operator in the health and leisure industry, we are aware of some of the stereotypes women can face in the gym. Whether it be that weightlifting will make you ‘too bulky’, or that you can’t be as strong, we want to get rid of these stereotypes and reinforce that women can do absolutely anything. Women are strong, they can lift weights and they can achieve just as much greatness as men.
With this in mind, we wanted to find out a bit more about why some of our female members train, what their inspiration is and why International Women's Day is important to them. We caught up with Kelly-Jo & Beth, both members at our Middlesbrough Branch. Kelly-Jo is a GB Weightlifter and British record holder, who wanted to share why the gym was important to her forInternational Women’s Day. She had this to say:
“To celebrate International Women’s day, I would just like to share with you how training & the gym make me feel right at home. I used to find the gym quite boring, but finding a passion for weightlifting gave me the hunger to succeed and keep strong and healthy.I am also a new mum and facing lots of new challenges but when I am in the gym it's time for me to be me. It’s important to me that I keep my identity, and not get too lost in the world of being a mum helps me keep sane, as I am sure some new mums will agree.
Working towards my goals of competing in weightlifting empowers me and lifts me, giving me a better mental attitude towards my day."
Beth sees International Women’s Day as an important way to empower herself and stay strong. When asked what her biggest driving factor was towards starting a fitness journey, she said:
"I started my fitness journey when I was 17, I had gained a little bit of weight after starting my first ever job and was already receiving negative comments from my family. I decided to join the gym to slim down and lose weight, but it then became more about looking like Instagram models and super skinny models I would be envious of. Once people started to pay attention, it became more of a task of trying to look perfect for others around me, like my boyfriend at the time or anyone else that might like me. I stopped going to the gym properly when I was 22 due to feeling too depressed and stressed, and fell into a place of ‘flatlining’. I’d just sit and do nothing, not eat or participate in anything, when really, I should have stuck at the gym to make myself feel better. So the first time I joined the gym was always to look better for someone else, it was never really for myself.
My reason for coming to the gym has changed massively since I was 17. Now I realize that the gym does help mentally and physically, in so many ways. Instead of being obsessed with looking perfect, I come to the gym to better my mental and physical health and to improve my discipline and eating habits especially. Instead of around 1200 calories a day, I’ve actually been consuming over 2000 calories over the last week or so, which is something I’m really proud of and I do genuinely feel like I have a lot more energy because of it. I want to be more active and be able to do many things without having to worry about being too tired or not being strong enough. I actually look forward to attending the gym now, whereas it was always a mission in the past, forcing myself to go just to look better for someone else, whereas now I choose to go for me, to improve on my own life.”
Whatever your goals are, remember that you are equally important and worthy. Here's to all the amazing women who train and work with us. Thank you for your continued support. Your strength and determination is inspiring every day of the year!
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