Despite the historical feminine stigma attached to group exercise and cardio, this particular route to physical and mental wellbeing is now a strong draw for men too. For the male market, increasing participation in group exercise in the UK is largely due to an increased awareness around the benefits of accountability to a group of like-minded people (healthy competition) rather than being a lone wolf in the gym.
What’s now more obvious is the simple fact that you are far more likely to get a tailored, driven workout when you’re taught by an actual person instead of an impersonal app or video – as a nation, we’re craving more human interaction. In short exercising in a group lead by a qualified Instructor or Teacher is a great way to get physically fit as well as benefiting from a broader sense of well-being. Regardless of your sex.
Despite this refreshing attitude towards group exercise, the split between men and women taking part in group exercise is still heavily weighted towards women with the concept of ladies-only classes part of the norm. Historically FLexercise has, by and large, been no different – it’s just how it’s always been….
Or has it?
Something fantastic happened twenty-one years ago when FLexercise Teacher, Margaret McAllister, received a rather odd request from one of her member’s husbands to start a class for men! The reason being that he, David, had turned up with a few other ‘Dads’ to a fundraising event at Margaret’s son’s school where she had offered an open exercise class which out of curiosity David took part in.
David enjoyed the class so much that he asked Margaret to try running a ‘men only’ class. He could see a market for men’s group exercise in a time where it wasn’t easy for men to attend classes. So with some trepidation, Margaret agreed to deliver one evening class on the understanding that David had to find ten willing men to come and give it a try too. Thinking that would probably be the end of it Margaret was quite taken aback when, two days later, David called and announced he had indeed found ten men aged between 50 – 65 to take part!
Not one for shying away from trying something new, Margaret embraced the concept of a men-only class and named it ‘Man-Fit” and Margaret’s men-only class has been running ever since with 25 men regularly taking part in one of her classes and, wonderfully, even one or two of the ‘originals’ are still going strong.
Margaret has been privileged to build a community of supportive and enthusiastic men who take their classes very seriously. Above all though, they are a delight to teach and long may it continue.
If you’d like to find a class near you, click here.