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In March of 2020, all gyms shut down because of COVID. There was a huge stage of adaptation happening in the fitness world. Zoom classes started taking place. Gym switched to online programming and equipment was flying off the shelves. It was chaotic but calm at the same time. Everyone was adjusting to what fitness looked like now, and there were a lot of people who started a fitness routine during this time. The largest factor to that was being able to workout in the comfort of your own home. There was no one to judge you or stare at you.

What if there was a place that was judgement free? What if women+ could have a workout spot and feel comfortable walking in the door. What if women were taught how to weight lift so that they could feel more comfortable in a gym setting? Was there a place like this?

After some research and speaking with community members, I quickly confirmed what I already knew. Nothing like this existed in our community, and I was going to be the one to build it. So I did. End of story. Just kidding. There is a lot to this story, but it mostly revolves around the fact that there is a gap in our community and it needs to be filled.

As a beginner lifter, I hired a personal trainer so she could teach me what to do. I worked with her for 30 minutes a week for 24 weeks. It took me 6 months to even feel remotely comfortable working out on my own. Even when I wasn’t working out with a trainer, I still went to our personal training space, and worked out in that room by myself. I didn’t like being in the big weight room. It was intimidating and people stared at me. I didn’t like it and I don't have any form of social anxiety, so I can only imagine the sinking feeling people with social anxiety get when the mere thought of working out in a gym by themselves crosses their mind.

There were a few things that were important to me as I began dreaming up this business:

  1. Women+ only. Your race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation do not matter.

  2. Education instead of instruction.

  3. Weight based training.

  4. Affordable.

Women+ was the very first value I set for Maiden Resistance. Commercial gyms exist and some even have lifting areas for women. This doesn’t deter creepy men from taking video of women lifting or even coming into the women’s lifting area to comment on a women’s form. The scale of fuckery that exists in commercial gyms is at an all time high. Eliminating the uncomfortable situations women face in the gym was my first priority, and the most obvious solution was to make a women+ only space.

Instruction is a direction or an order, whereas education is information about or training in a particular field. In most fitness classes that you attend, you are shown how to do the workout, you complete it, and then you move on. There is no form of education. It’s “do this, and then that.” Boom. Workout complete. I believe it is important to show women how to weight lift, but also tell them why they are doing each exercise. I wanted to show the exercises in a way that gives the clients a “what,” “how,” and “why.” Clients should leave with a better understanding of the exercises, the proper form to complete the exercise, and a basic knowledge of what muscles the exercises work. Allowing clients to learn as they go and gain confidence is so important in their health journey. If I work myself out of a job because every woman feels confident enough to workout in a commercial gym, then so be it.

Providing women with a space to explore weight based training in a studio setting isn’t something I’ve seen before. I have seen Les Mills classes that are choreographed to music and use a studio sized barbell for all the lifts, but those classes don’t give you one on one attention. The instructor is at the front of the room teaching the class and you are supposed to follow along. As a trainer, I want to make sure that my clients are performing each exercise correctly, which allows them to practice muscle memory. The more the exercises are done correctly, the better. All of Maiden Resistance’s classes include dumbbell work. We also use suspension trainers, barbells, weight plates, and resistance bands to complete workouts. Offering more modalities allows the women to be able to adapt to what equipment their hotel gym has, or even what they have at home.

Lastly, I wanted women to have an option that did not cost them an arm and a leg. Personal training can cost anywhere from $30-$50 for one half hour session. For the community I live in, and the clientele I am targeting, most cannot afford that rate. Because Maiden Resistance is class based and does not offer personal training, it is easier for me to charge less. Creating personalized programs for individuals is very time consuming. Don’t be fooled though. Our class sizes allow me to roam the room and correct form just like a personal trainer would. Clients are given one on one attention during every single class. Being able to do this at an affordable rate and still provide a personal training experience was important to me.

Final Thought

Maiden Resistance was created to fill a gap in the community. Some women do not feel comfortable in a commercial gym or they feel that they do not have enough education to workout on their own. Maiden Resistance provide a comfortable space and teaches women how to weight lift. Our mission is to see every woman lift weights and have them understand that weight lifting is for every woman. To you, my Maiden Friend!

-Coach CoJo

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