YMCAfit launches programmes to help break down barriers for women

Based on a recent survey of women within the industry, YMCAfit has created a range of initiatives to improve access for women into fitness and a fitness career.
7 March 2022
Women learning with YMCAfit

YMCAfit, part of leading health and education charity Central YMCA, has today announced a range of programmes and courses to help improve access for women to fitness and a fitness career, including a women’s only Personal Trainer course. Using feedback from a recent survey of women who have graduated from courses over the last 5 years, the UK's leader in face-to-face fitness education has implemented changes that will improve fitness and break down barriers into the fitness industry for women. The survey highlighted that:

  • 73% felt that women might face more barriers to career progression than men in the fitness industry.
  • More than 67% felt that unhelpful gender stereotyping negatively impacted women in fitness.
  • 46% felt there was negative unconscious bias from decision-makers that impacted women's careers in fitness.
  • 84% wanted fitness professionals to have a deeper understanding of female anatomy and physiology and changes through life.
  • 65% thought that lack of self-belief or confidence negatively impacted career progression for women in the fitness industry.

In light of data from the survey, YMCAfit has launched a women-only Level 3 Diploma in Gym Instructing and Personal Training and will be creating innovative workshops to educate fitness professionals of all genders on how to make fitness more accessible for women throughout all stages of their lives. In addition, they will be working collaboratively with awarding bodies to share the results from the survey to encourage other training providers to increase women’s health content on their fitness courses.

Erica Smith, Head of YMCAfit said:
“We have been hearing from a number of women that they wouldn’t feel comfortable in a male-dominated PT course or even a mixed environment, so we have created a space to empower these women and help them thrive in their careers.

We believe women deserve fitness professionals who better understand women. Women have different experiences to men because of periods, childbirth, menopause, differing pressures from their families, society, and the media, including gender ideals and stereotypes. This has an impact on their fitness and training, both biologically and psychologically, and we want to address this.”

Various women sat in a YMCAfit class


Hannah Whibberley, a YMCAfit tutor who will be teaching on the new course, said:
“It is important to make education more accessible to all women who might be interested in getting into the fitness industry. By running women-only courses, we will be able to encourage more women to join the industry who may not be able to otherwise. To get more women into fitness we need to have a greater number of female instructors, and this course will help achieve that.”

The Women’s Only Level 3 Personal Training course will provide women with everything they need to be a world-class personal trainer, all the content in the usual course, as well as offering additional skills and training to help women thrive in the fitness industry including Ante/postnatal and Older Adults content, which would normally be an extra cost.  

The first women’s only course will start on 4th July 2022 in London and has a 10% discount if booked before 4th May 2022. The Advanced Learner Loan is available on this and a number of YMCAfit courses. This Government-backed initiative allows students to pay for their course in a flexible way and payback once they are established in their careers. 

Visit YMCAfit's website for more information on their new women-only course.