Whether it’s weights, cardio or group fitness classes, there’s something at the gym to suit every age and ability level.

There’s so much you can do at the gym to improve your health, build power and strength, and feel the benefits of a great workout. Here are some tips to find a gym for you, and how to get started.

On this page we look at:

  • This Girl Can Ambassador Amy’s story about overcoming a feeling of embarrassment when she first started at the gym
  • Starting at the gym for beginners
  • Finding a women’s gym near you
  • How to join a gym

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Amy felt embarrassed going to the gym at first, but soon realised she had a choice

Amy, 37, loved dancing and basketball as a girl. But as she got older she felt embarrassed exercising. After a health scare, she hit the gym but was so embarrassed she wore tights under baggy tracksuit pants – even in the middle of summer. “Everyone has self-doubt,” she says. “It’s just whether you allow it to grow, which is a choice you make”.

Starting at the gym for beginners

Gyms can be very welcoming and supportive places for women to get active in a way that suits them. Each gym and fitness club is different, but most offer a range of options to work up a sweat, and meet a community of women who are in the same boat as you.

Many gyms offer a timetable of gym classes each week, all with a different focus. Some can be low-impact with stretching and yoga moves, others can focus on cardio by using a stationary bike or other equipment, and others can include weights to improve your strength.

Gym classes are set up for beginners, unless the class is described otherwise. They’re popular with many women as they’re a social way to enjoy going to the gym, t with all the equipment provided, and you get lots of support from friendly trainers to show you how to do each movement.

Gyms have plenty of equipment that you can use when it suits you (with no classes), and a personal trainer can set up a personalised program and walk you through using the machines.

Finding a women’s gym near you

Gyms can be a matter of what feels right, so it might take a few visits to find the best gym near you. Here are some tips for a successful search.

Check out the gym online

A good starting point is to search online for gyms in your area, and see what their facilities are as well as what gym classes for women they offer. Don’t know where to begin? YMCA Victoria and Belgravia Leisure have gyms across Victoria.

Women’s only gyms in Melbourne and regional Victoria

Some gyms have female only areas, however there are also a range of female only gyms in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Gyms for women have a focus on providing a welcoming, inclusive and non-judgmental experience from the moment you walk in the door.

It’s all about you

Finding the right gym or facility near you is all about preference. Head in, check it out, try a class or two and see if it feels good.

How to join a gym

Gyms offer a number of different membership types. You can go online to see timetables and facilities, but sometimes it’s best to walk in and have a look at the place yourself.

Most gyms will offer a tour which will show you what they can offer, and what the vibe is like. Some gyms might feel a bit too intense for what you’re looking for, and others might not have the equipment or classes you’d like to try.

You can usually have a trial at a gym when you first start. This is a good opportunity to get a feel for it so you can make a decision on whether you’d like to go again. If you do, you can sign up for weekly, monthly or annual memberships. Most offer casual rates too, which means you can pay per visit.

Remember that if you try a gym and don’t feel it’s right for you, that’s totally fine. You can try another one in your area – they aren’t all the same.

Finding your new women’s gym community

  • Visit the website mentioned on this page: YMCA Victoria and Belgravia Leisure.
  • Google it! Check out the female gyms near you, mark a few down on a list and go and visit them all. If the first one isn’t for you, that’s okay. It’s part of the process! Sometimes it can take one or two to find a supportive, welcoming gym for women that you feel comfortable at.
  • Find a Supporter in your neighbourhood, to see if a women’s gym has registered online to support This Girl Can – Victoria.
  • Ask other women about going to the gym – chat to your friends, family or colleagues about doing an activity together, or post a question to our Facebook page where there’s a super supportive community of women who can help you out.

Can’t get out right now?

If you can’t make it to the gym or can’t start having a look at them right now, that’s okay. There are many ways to get started at home.

You can find some great workouts on Get Get Active @ Home. They’re fun, can be easy or intense depending on what you’re looking for, and a great way to get some movement in your day without leaving the front door. You can also get some home gym equipment too.

Learn more about This Girl Can – Victoria and how it’s helping women feel good by getting activity in a way that suits them.

Why try one activity when you can try a few? If you’d like to have a go at something else, here are some you can have a shot at and see how you feel.