An honest account of a female owning a gym in a male-dominated industry.
Our Emma Kirke spoke to our January Genetic Warrior - Nikky Ricks about the pros and cons of being a female gym owner in a male-dominated industry. Here is what she had to say...
“Since I was a child I have loved training.
"At the age of 8, I was hopelessly clumsy. So much so, my dad decided to enrol me in a gymnastics group to try and cure me. The result was that, although I wasn’t cured of being clumsy, I knew which way up I was when I fell over.
"Fast forward 15 years and 3 different sports later and I was firmly hooked on training.
"I had a dream… Isn’t that how it goes? Well, as cheesy as it sounds I did.
"For many years I have taught, coached and trained in various gyms and fitness centres with various results being the end goal in mind but somehow, they never quite fit with what I wanted.
"Many commercial centres were too restrictive with what they would allow in either equipment or coaching. I began to get increasingly frustrated with having my knowledge and skills reigned in to “fit in” with the commercial mass market concept.
"I needed a place of my own. Somewhere I could grow as both an athlete and coach hence my clients could also.
"So, without getting too involved In the nitty-gritty of finding premises and setting up a business, finally Waugh Machines gym was born.
"I won't lie, without the huge support of my fiancé, it would never have happened. I am, if nothing else, vehemently stubborn and I was going to see my dream created if it killed me.
"So what exactly is it like being a female gym owner in a male-dominated industry?
"Where do I even start?
"I guess I am lucky in the sense that I had a client base and a good reputation before I opened Waugh machines, however, even now many potential male clients will baulk at having a female PT.
"Often when people first walk into the gym, if myself and my fiancé Paul are together at reception they will talk to Paul, with the assumption that he is the owner. Technically they are correct, he is “one“ of the owners. But then so am I. Why is it then, that they gravitate to the man rather than the woman?
"Then there is the question of PT’s, coaching and teaching group training. In this my experience and qualifications have been proven for over 20 years and yet if a male wants a coaching session he doesn’t see these qualifications just merely baulk at having a female coach. Many a time Paul has even said “she’s way tougher than I am and her knowledge is greater” but still they will decline to have a female PT.
"I have often contemplated why that is?
"In direct contrast, I have had male clients that have positively boasted about having a female coach. The contradictions are mind-boggling.
"There are many positives about being a female owner of a gym though. I have many female clients who would never set foot in a commercial centre. They will, however, come to Waugh Machines. They know they will be listened to, treated with respect and know full well anyone treating them with disrespect will be advised to mind their manners or get out. Many of the guys are comfortable here because they don’t feel they have to conform to the typical male gym masculinity stereotype. They come in and train with good form because they are expected to. If they don’t they get told to drop the weight and leave the ego behind. The women in Waugh machines are not impressed by big weights. They are more likely to laugh if they see you lifting like a wally.
"The other positive is that being female people talk to me. I have almost become an agony aunt over the years. I have heard just about everything I think. Including confessions to cheat meals that haven’t even been eaten. We have many people here who’ve had mental health issues both in the past and in the present. Members at our gym are encouraged to listen and support each other. I have the biggest bunch of dysfunctional misfits known to man under one roof and they all get along. There is no judgement.
"This is I feel one of the many benefits of being a female gym owner. The women feel comfortable training and are not daunted by the big fellas (and trust me we have some big fellas in here) and ironically the men just the same. So whilst bodybuilding/powerlifting/strongman gyms are still owned predominantly by men. I feel women have a distinct advantage."
Nikky chooses to use our products for herself and tells me the Sustain is incredibly popular with her gym members too.
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