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Claire Moore tells her story of opening a female-only gym.

“Why would you open a female-only gym? You are losing 50% of clients before you even start!” I lost track of the number of times I heard that said in the last seven years. But there was more to it than the money.

Back in 2014 The This Girl Can campaign launched. Of the 9.4million women aged 14 to 40 that Sport England targeted as part of the This Girl Can campaign, 7.1million – 75 per cent – would like to exercise more but research conducted by Sport England has identified three core factors holding them back.
  1. Fear of judgement: whether that’s about how they look, whether they’re any good at it, or feeling guilty about spending time on themselves.
  2. Fear among mothers of being judged for spending too much time on themselves. Worrying that others will deem they are putting themselves first
  3. Fear over ability, whether they were good enough, too good and therefore unfeminine, stopping them.

You can read the full research HERE

I didn’t become a PT until I was 37 and, by that age, I was my ideal client. I was overweight, fed up and frustrated, with no idea of what I needed to do to finally feel better.

I trained as a PT out of my own desperation to learn and understand. Regular gyms intimidated me, the term ‘boot camp’ terrified the life out of me, and I was absolutely sick of starting a new diet every Monday morning. So, I started learning and the more I learned, the more fascinated I became about how amazing our bodies are and what we can do to help them be in the best possible shape.

I knew there were other women out there who must have experienced the same frustrations and disappointment as I had and I was determined to help them. A year later, I opened B&A.

My own experience showed me there was more to results than just diet and exercise. Lord knows I had been round that block enough times. So, I flipped the idea of a regular gym membership on its head and created our gym and programmes with the number one priority of mindset. I knew once we helped women learn to love themselves, then the nutrition and exercise would be easy.

Every plan is personal and fully explained. As women, we have spent years and small fortunes following random plans found online, in magazines or from chit chat in the staff room, with absolutely no idea why we are doing what we are doing.

My mission is to educate women so they can make informed decisions about small, enjoyable changes that become new habits and lead to healthier lifestyles. We do this through intuitive eating, a 28-day mindset programme and our weekly Healthy Lifestyle Club. As well as the gym floor, we have a classroom and there is as much emphasis on working on your head as there is on working on your squats.

Our tagline is ‘the gym that sorts your head out’ and that is exactly what our clients need. After years – if not decades – of bouncing from diet to diet, our members just want to sort it once and for all and they need a community of others who understand them. By being with like-minded women, we have created a safe environment where women of all ages, sizes and abilities can thrive without feeling judged.

Our clients are super-busy, pretty stressed and totally overwhelmed by all the information out there: they just want clarity, support and connection. We train in groups of three (it was four before COVID-19), so the sessions are not only a great workout but they are also therapy. It’s an opportunity to talk about what is going on in their lives, unload all that chatter in their heads, forget about their to-do lists and have a laugh with other women …

… all while losing weight, toning up and getting fitter!

We do measurements and progress photos but, for me, I know it is working when a client arrives with a new haircut or says she slept all night, or announces she has started dating or had the energy and confidence to take the grandkids swimming. When we can see their sparkle coming back, that is when we know we haven’t just changed someone, we have transformed them – and you can’t beat that feeling.

Author bio

Claire Moore is the founder of Believe & Achieve UK Women’s Gym in Sheffield. Established in 2013 it is the Gym that sorts your head out and is dedicated to helping women feel comfortable in a gym environment while receiving full support in exercise, nutrition and mind set to get the results they desire.