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How Adwoa Aboah’s Gurls Talk is helping women get strong this International Women’s Day

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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And this is how you can sign up to their free event.      

They call it ‘gymtimidation’.

That’s the word for the fear that many women feel of going to the gym. According to research from 2017, some 65% of American women avoid working out because they are afraid of being judged. Only 36% of men felt the same way. In the UK, the stats are similar: 75% of women feel intimidated going to the gym, a statistic which means that two million fewer women work out regularly than men. 

This fear stems from a few different places. Women often feel anxious about being judged as not ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ enough to be working out, they might be worried about the quality of their exercise gear, or concerned about being body shamed. They’re all factors that drive women away from gyms and from working out.

fitness workout woman

Many women feel intimidated by the gym

Adwoa Aboah’s online community Gurls Talk wants to change all that. The network for young women to talk openly about sex, mental health, body image and more is partnering with fitness studio 1RebelUK to “get gurls moving” and dispel some of the fear around gyms this International Women’s Day. 

They are doing this through a free class open to 80 Gurls Talk fans at 1Rebel’s Victoria studio. Each woman who secures a spot will get to take part in 1Rebel’s classic Ride workout – think a spin class but with more of an empowering message – and feel the “fierce female energy and strength” of International Women’s Day. Each participant will also be given a set of nike gear so that they can stay active “whoever you are and whatever your level of fitness,” Gurls Talk said on their Instagram.

The message of the day is inclusivity, strength and empowerment, 1Rebel trainer Sarah Fowkes explains. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to go too hard too soon,” she says. “Everything has a foundation, learning and practising foundational strength exercises will build your confidence and overall strength.”

If you’re feeling gymtimidated, Fowkes suggests roping in a friend that you can exercise with. “Going with your best mates can make classes a little less daunting,” she says. “Sharing is caring.” 

Kim Ngo, Fowkes’ fellow trainer at 1Rebel, agrees. “The world of exercise and fitness can be a super scary place,” Ngo explains. “Especially when magazines and social media are filled with perfect images and videos depicting it as this beautiful place with (what they tell you are) perfect bodies. In reality, it looks nothing like that. It’s sweaty, it’s gritty and a healthy and fit body can actually take on all different shapes and sizes.”

If you’re worried about where to begin, Ngo says it doesn’t matter, as long as you do something

“It can definitely be a battle, but ultimately [working out] is one of the most wonderful and empowering self-love acts you can do for your mind, body and soul,” she says. “The first steps are the hardest, but once you get going you’ll wonder why you didn’t start earlier.”

And there’s no time like International Women’s Day to get started.

1RebelUK and Gurls Talk’ #GETGURLSMOVING workout will take place at 8.30AM at 1Rebel’s Victoria Studio. Tickets are available now.

Images: Getty, unsplash

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer, podcaster and recent Australian transplant in London. You can find her on the internet talking about pop culture, food and travel.

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