Battling body image is a huge hurdle for many gym-goers - the prospect of ‘gymtimidation’ can be very demotivating, while the vast array of ‘aspirational’ imagery in advertising and popular culture can leave both men and women feeling unsatisfied with their appearance.
But when building the perfect fitness regime - at the gym or day-to-day - there is a significant gap between how men and women perceive their bodies. The recent controversy over sexist advertising on the London Underground has brought the issue back into the headlines - so let’s look deeper at perceptions of body image, with a particular focus on fitness foibles.
At Better North Greenwich, we’ve combined some of our own unique data with the latest academic studies from across the UK to create this nifty infographic. Explore our findings below to discover the complexities of body image and the true value of working out for inner wellness.
So, how do men and women compare? In the gym, men feel the pressure to bulk up through focusing on strength training. The majority of men feel unhappy with their perceived lack of muscularity, with a quarter of men prioritising weights - compared to just 5.2% of women. Likewise, women feel the pressure to actively avoid weight training, with as many as 47% finding weights an intimidating prospect due to their fellow gym users. Instead, women prioritise weight-loss training, targeting their waist, hips and thighs ahead of honing muscle groups.
We believe that everyone should feel free to pursue the body they want, regardless of gender. There’s nothing wrong with men wanting to be muscular or women wanting to lose weight, but the reverse should not be stigmatised either. At North Greenwich, we hope to provide a safe space in which people feel like they can achieve their fitness goals, whatever they may be.