Women Leading the Way: The Power of Female Fitness Trends

Issue 6 - July 2023

Published On


Women Leading the Way: The Power of Female Fitness Trends

Women are the driving force behind many fitness trends and facets that shape our business today. A recent UK study found that 78.4% of the respondents who attended group exercise classes were women. And women's-only gyms are trending on TikTok with 48.7 million views and counting. Women are passionate about their health and the industry is taking notice.

Historically, women haven't always been readily included in fitness and sports. Women first entered the Olympic games in 1900 (in Paris, ironically, where next summer’s games will be held!). And women weren’t allowed to enter a marathon race until 1972. Title IX was introduced shortly thereafter. Sports bras didn’t exist until 1977!

Fortunately, in 2023 the pendulum has swung in favor of the female demographic. Female fitness is booming and this is just the start.

A Look at Women’s Fitness Today

Niche studio concepts have been designed with women in mind. Think barre, Pilates, yoga dance. Though genderless activities, it’s undeniable that these spaces tend to have a female-leaning design (both aesthetically and conceptually), and tend to be more inclusive.

Remember when SoulCycle had Jonathan Adler grapefruit candles in every studio, so it smelled like a luxurious day spa? Even the term boutique itself is reminiscent of fashion and shopping, historically seen as a feminine hobby or activity.

And though it’s certainly true that femininity can’t be boiled down to shopping, dance, and scented candles, the intentions behind these business choices are fairly obvious and proven effective through the resulting demographics. For instance, 70-percent of SoulCycle’s audience is female, and one report in Australia even showed that 90-percent of Pilates participants were female.

Anyone can participate in a reformer Pilates class, but some brands and businesses want to deliver female-specific offerings. This type of programming is deliberately and exclusively designed for women’s needs, like FIT4MOM: the San Diego-based brand “offers pre and postnatal health, wellness, and fitness programs for every stage of motherhood.”

FIT4MOM also hits the nail on the head when it comes to a central theme for women’s fitness: camaraderie and community. While these are universally valuable, there’s an undeniable link here for women. A Brazilian study reported that “in general, women have larger and more varied social networks with more friends and more social support than men.”

Does this one finding equate to a comprehensive truth? Of course not. But it certainly could be tapping into something when it comes to group fitness and studio/health club dynamics.

This concept could translate to fitness via the social, community-centric facets of boutique studios and female-led programming. The desire for companionship and community is matched by the desire for physical activity and both can be delivered through the right health club or program.

Women's Fitness By the Numbers

According to the IHRSA Global Report last year, women comprise the majority share of gym memberships in most regions, making up about 57% of gym-goers globally.

From 2010 to 2019, women’s memberships at health and fitness clubs increased by over 32%, compared to men’s 23.2. In that time period, revenue in the US health club industry increased by about 75%, jumping from 20.3 billion to 35.03 billion dollars. This makes sense, as women are the primary purchasers of many households and they spend more on wellness activities.

What’s Next for Women’s Fitness (and Women’s Health)

While women are instrumental in the fitness industry, research around women's health and fitness is seriously lacking.

“For far too long, women have been overlooked and underrepresented in crucial performance and medical research,” said Shannon Fable, Senior Director of Education and Digital Programming at Exos. “It's time to change the narrative and embrace the immense opportunities that lie within understanding their physiology.”

This is where some businesses are starting to close the gap — and Exos is an excellent example of that. “Exos is launching a new qualification called The Exos Women’s Performance Specialist (XWPS for short),” shares Fable. This program comprises four courses spanning a woman’s life stages from puberty all the way through (and beyond) menopause. “Our first installment is Optimizing Performance Through the Menstrual Cycle, [and] will be available in September, with the second course being delivered in October.”

“Put simply … [this type of program is] long overdue. Now is the perfect time to empower dedicated practitioners with the knowledge and tools to address the unique needs of women across their distinct life stages. By carefully considering the variables specific to women, we can unlock a wealth of untapped potential and create a more inclusive and effective approach to performance training.”

If you’d like to contribute to the advancement of women’s health and closing the gender gap, The Exos Female Physiology Questionnaire Study can be found here: https://pages.teamexos.com/female-physiology-questionnaire

Fable says that your insights will “play a crucial role in bridging the gap between men and women in the field of human performance.” And as an added incentive, your contribution will score you a 20-percent off discount at Vuori.

When Women Succeed, We All Succeed

Female fitness is driving revenue for the sector, boosting the economy, and most importantly, creating a healthier, happier society. And it’s just the beginning! With so much to be explored (hello, new women’s performance programming!), we’re on the precipice of something truly extraordinary.


Industry Happenings:

Upcoming Events:

  1. National Wellness Conference (NWC), July 19-21, 2023, Cincinnati, Ohio
  2. Atlanta MANIA® Fitness Pro Convention, July 21-23, 2023, Atlanta, Georgia
  3. The Fit Expo, August 5-6, 2023, Anaheim, California
  4. canfitpro, August 16-20, 2023, Toronto, Canada
  5. Dallas MANIA Fitness Pro Convention and Health & Fitness Business Summit, August 25-27,2023, Dallas, Texas
  6. World Spinning® Experience, September 7-10, 2023, Miami, Florida. Save $50 with code InspireWSX50
  7. Pilates Empowerment Summit, September 14-17, 2023, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Save $50 with code InspirePES50


Upcoming Workshops:

  1. Peak Pilates: 20+ workshops in July
  2. Spinning®: 15+ workshops in July
  3. TRX®: 4 workshops in July
  4. Eleiko: 1 workshop in July
  5. Mike Boyle's CFSC:1 workshop in July
  6. Oxygen Advantage®: 1 workshop in July
  7. UJam: 1 workshop in July


Industry News:


Thanks for Reading!

This newsletter was brought to you by Kathie Davis, Peter Davis, Ravi Sharma, Dominique Astorino, and the Inspire360 team.


A Note from Peter & Kathie

The industry is changing rapidly and we are here to help you sift through all the noise and get to the good stuff. Every month, we'll bring you trending topics and the inside scoop that we believe is paramount for fitness professionals to know.

Keep Inspiring,

Peter & Kathie Davis

Want to get this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up to receive the Inspire360 Global Fitness Newsletter here.