Why These Women Love Ripple Effect
RECF has been open for about a year. This is a natural milestone for any business to do a self-evaluation and see what’s working, what’s not, and what to do next. For us, this included looking into the demographics of our members to see where the common threads are. Who are we best serving? And how?
One thing that stood out to us right away looking at our membership at some of the most basic levels, is that our membership is made up of about 80% women.
Our Barbell Club classes, and any day that we program heavy lifting, are our best attended days. And often, the vast majority of the class participants are women. In a historically male-dominated corner of fitness like weightlifting, this is definitely not the norm!
So naturally we wanted to hear from our female members: What is it about RECF that made you feel comfortable here? What about our gym do you think resonates well with women?
Here’s some of the main themes, and some direct quotes from members.
The “Top” athletes aren’t our focus in programming. Scaling & modifying workouts is normal and expected here.
“I appreciate how the scaling options are framed as a choice for stimulus rather than a “punishment” of limitations.”
“At crossfit gyms in the past, I typically had to ask the coaches for scaling options (something I dreaded doing, being awkward in large group settings). It was technically always available, but only if you knew to ask. I really appreciated that you walk through the scaling options upfront, which never puts a specific person on the spot. Approachable scaling, along with the small class sizes, take the gym from an intimidating experience to a very welcoming environment – something that women don’t always find in this male-dominated world.”
We don’t use the typical “Rx & Scaled” labels for workouts, nor do we typically set specific weights for women vs. men. The workout is the workout, and we help every member modify it to fit their needs regardless of gender.
“One thing I’ve thought about previously in noting this trend is that along with disrupting the “Rx/Scaled” classification in your programming, you also don’t have a “men’s” or “women’s” category. You program workouts simply as workouts, inviting members to pick their speed for the day without requiring us to fit ourselves into a box. This certainly makes it easier to feel welcome as a woman and not as a weaker or shorter or lesser version of human than prescriptive, gendered workout loads imply.”
“I just want to lift weights and feel welcome when I do that. I have issues with some of the CrossFit-style gendered workouts and how that automatically makes me feel a certain way about what I’m doing in the gym.”
We celebrate all types of wins and personal bests for all our members, not just the best athletes.
“The open and encouraging environment of learning and just doing your best (not comparing yourself to others) was what kept me coming back in the beginning. And that I wasn’t the only one using the (many, many) scaling options!”
“I like that we don’t have a competitive vibe – that was always my impression of CrossFit – it was all PRs and competing/comparing against others…vs having a community to support you to focus on what you want for yourself…there is a demand and place for different formats, but I find our environment is what I need to motivate me”
“People (at RECF) aren’t trying to turn training into a toxic competition.”
“Celebrating and getting excited about everyone’s firsts and personal bests throughout our fitness journey instead of just the guys who can deadlift 500 and do ring MU means a lot.”
Of course we know that not every woman (or man) is looking for the same thing in fitness. That’s the beauty of the fitness scene in the Twin Cities — there really is something for everyone. But from talking to the women that landed at RECF, many have bounced around from gym to gym, not quite finding a place where they really fit in. They want to lift weights, but they don’t want to be surrounded by shirtless sweaty bros grunting and chest bumping and expecting to be the center of attention. They don’t want to feel like their workouts aren’t as good as others, if they have to modify something. They don’t want to have to be stressed out or embarrassed about scaling a workout to suit their needs. They want to learn the movements, without condescension and mansplaining from coaches. They want guidance, accountability, and community, without judgement. If that sounds like you (regardless of your gender!), give us a call and let’s get you plugged in to your new fitness family here at Ripple Effect.