We next approached Jonathan Tustain of STARDIO.
“For multiple reasons, us guys leave the group ex sessions for the ladies. We are either too scared about getting the choreography wrong, don’t feel they can give us the gains, fear being the only dude in the room or our egos shout ‘We don’t need group or instructor support!’.
I will stop using ‘we’ now because I am a huge group ex advocate. I lost almost 30kg, maintained ‘athletic’ resting heart rate and have a 12% body fat percentage; results exclusively achieved through group ex. I also made new friends and feel socially nourished from the connections classes offer. I want more men to enjoy the same benefits! If men are happy on the gym floor that’s great! But how many men, who will never set foot inside a gym, due to the perception that it is boring, could benefit from joining us? For them, group ex could be the perfect gateway to an active lifestyle, and with a WHO study suggesting 1 in 4 men are not getting enough physical activity, any increase can only be good for society.
I get frustrated with my male friends, both gym and non-gym goers, who won’t give classes a chance. I managed to ‘drag’ a friend to an intense BODYCOMBAT class. Mid-jab he leant over and said ‘This is actually really fun’. See! If more men tried it, they might actually like it!
My local F45 franchisee estimates 35% of his members are male, but for regular choreographed classes it is rare that classes will consist of more than 20% male participants. This creates a vicious circle. As classes attract more women, less men feel it is for them, and less men join. Type ‘group ex’ into Google Images right now . . . how many men do you see?
It is the concept of ‘working out together’ that puts many men off; many don’t go for the social aspect, they switch off, focus and zone in on their personal goals. Many other barriers are simply myths waiting to be smashed.
We need a nationwide campaign, sort of a male equivalent to the This Girl Can campaign, with male-focussed classes, forming progressive challenges with lots of variety, less choreography and with male instructor role models who can prove the amazing results classes can achieve.”