Shy girl workouts: LA-style private gyms are opening in Australia to combat ‘gym intimidation’

Home Lifestyle Shy girl workouts: LA-style private gyms are opening in Australia to combat ‘gym intimidation’
Shy girl workouts: LA-style private gyms are opening in Australia to combat ‘gym intimidation’

If you have ever set foot in a gym, you might know the feeling that goes along with it – that self-conscious, pang of anxiety that goes deeper than “are these leggings actually see-through?”

Gym anxiety is real and it stops a lot of us from actually working out properly.

The issue went viral on TikTok recently, with “shy girl” workouts trending – aimed at busting so-called “gym-timidation”.

The hashtag, #shygirlworkouts, has amassed more than 142.5 million views as of earlier this month, with the focus on simple yet effective exercises – targeting areas such as the chest, legs and arms – that require minimal equipment and can help build your confidence.

Overseas, a string of US-based gyms – led by New York and Los Angeles’ Dogpound (run by celebrity trainer Kirk Myers and co-owned by former Victoria’s Secret Angel, Adriana Lima) – have fuelled the fitness industry’s new take on working out, with smaller, boutique-style gyms that prioritise privacy over rows and rows of treadmills.

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And the private gym trend has made its way to Australia. Andy Brand, co-founder of Melbourne’s Cremorne Club, is taking on the new sector of the fitness market, with a focus on helping people combat feeling anxious and self-conscious while working out.

Brand doesn’t train influencers or celebrities though: the focus is on creative and business-minded individuals, who want to work out in private.

With the approach, Brand specialises in training women, helping them gain confidence.

“I try and make sure they have go-to exercises – simple exercises like lunges, variations of squats, exercises they can do on the spot,” Brand says.

“That will put you at ease a little bit. A lot of gyms aren’t set up to make women feel comfortable – this gym is set up to make people feel comfortable,” he says of his own space in Cremore, a creative hub in inner city Melbourne.

“A lot of people have got too dependent on watching videos of people working out that they get into the gym, they’re confused – and have watched too much Instagram content,” Brand says.

“You do need a balance of machines and free weights to train properly, you can’t just do Instagram workouts all the time – you’ll end up injured.”


A basic weighted lunge and sumo squat (a wide-stance squat) is the perfect way to kick off a “shy girl” workout (read: one that helps build your confidence in the gym), Brand advises.

“And pick up a weighted ‘slam’ ball, it shows that you’re there to work out seriously,” he adds.

“Get a set of dumbbells that you can do multiple exercises with. A band. A barbell. And set yourself up in the gym, where you feel comfortable.”

At Cremorne Club, there are affirmations written onto neon signs (“believe in yourself”) and spray painted on the floor, in Gucci-esque millennial pink (one says “love thyself”, another “magic happens this way”).

Brand says the space is designed to maximise privacy, with mirror-lined walls that lead into semi-secluded areas where you can workout in peace.

Talk about fitspo.

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