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The women's only gym which is breaking down barriers

PUBLISHED: 12:41 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 06 January 2019

Tara Hall, owner and personal trainer, who has started up The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tara Hall, owner and personal trainer, who has started up The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

It's a time of year when many people are looking to improve their health and fitness.

And now increasing numbers of female fitness enthusiasts are using women’s only gyms.

Reporter JOE NORTON spoke to Tara Hall who set up a women’s only gym in Potter Heigham which has gone from strength to strength since opening one year ago...

Tara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches from left, Michele Chamberlain, Sian Brooks, and Holly Stanton, at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches from left, Michele Chamberlain, Sian Brooks, and Holly Stanton, at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Are muscle-bound misogynists making our gyms uncomfortable environments for women?

The question remains open to debate, but a welcoming and non-judgemental environment are attributed to being key factors in the growing popularity of The Hut, a women’s only gym in Potter Heigham which has just celebrated its first year in business.

Going to the gym and working out alongside muscular men who have trained for years can be intimidating.

The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hut, set up by personal trainer Tara Hall, aims to provide women with a fun and friendly environment they can feel confident to work out in.

The 27-year-old noticed a number of her female clients reported feeling self-conscious and intimidated when working out in a general gym.

This inspired her to set up a women’s only gym which she says has gone from strength to strength in its first year.

Tara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches Holly Stanton at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches Holly Stanton at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I was a little bit nervous when I first set it up but it has been going really well.

“The gym provides women with a comfortable and non-judgemental place to workout.

“There have been lots of women who joined having never been to a gym before and it has really built their confidence up,” she said.

Tara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches from second left, Michele Chamberlain, Sian Brooks, and Holly Stanton, at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYTara Hall, owner and personal trainer, coaches from second left, Michele Chamberlain, Sian Brooks, and Holly Stanton, at The Hut Gym at Potter Heigham, a gym for women only. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Holly Stanton, 29, from Clippesby has been going to The Hut for just less than a year.

She said: “Before I came here I was going to a gym but I was not really enjoying it and found it difficult to keep up a routine.

“I come here three times a week and absolutely love it.

“I have always had problems with my knee but the individual work Tara has done with me has been brilliant.”

Ms Hall offers 24/7 support to her clients including personalised meal plans and individual training programmes specific to each person’s needs.

Bodyfit classes are available both in the morning and evenings with members also being able to book onto open session workouts throughout the week.

Desperate to build on her success, Ms Hall has plans to expand her brand which would see The Hut branch out to areas such as Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

“There are very few women only gyms so I definitely think there would be a demand for it.

“The more women we can have going to the gym and enjoying it the better.

“Seeing the transformations people make really does give me a lot of satisfaction. It is what it is all about.”

A supportive community

One woman said she lacked so much self-belief when it came to weight training that she would only use cardio equipment at her previous gym.

Sian Brooks, 31, said she found it intimidating when men were lifting heavy weights around her and she did not know how to use the equipment properly.

“Everyone goes to the gym for different reasons and I wanted to go purely to gain muscle.

“Because I did not have the confidence to use the weights surrounded by lads I would just avoid it.

“Tara has been brilliant in teaching me the right technique and I now have the confidence to do what I always wanted to,” she said.

The 31-year-old’s exercise routine involves going to The Hut four to five times a week.

Michelle Chamberlain, 40, from Hickling believes the friendships she has made with other women makes the gym unique.

She said: “Everyone is really supportive and we want each other to do well. It is a great community to be part of.”

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