Meet Juicy Fitness: the women-only gym in Newcastle dedicated to empowering us all with knowing how to get fit and stay fit – really
We caught up with Zoe Hardy, the leader of this wellbeing-powered girl gang in North Shields, to chat 2022’s health trends, long-lasting results and how Juicy helps women overcome some of the fitness industry’s most toxic traits.
We know that you, like us, will be sick to the back teeth of the constant body shaming we women are subjected to on a daily basis.
Whether it’s the celebrities touted as ‘too fat’ or ‘too skinny’ in the media, the ‘did you see what she was wearing? She was asking for it?’ narrative still present in judicial systems around the world, or the cat-calls and nerve-wracking grip-keys-between-your-fingers moments we each experience in our daily lives, it seems the rest of the world has far too much to say about women’s appearances.
So for us, any health and fitness-related resolutions we’ve made this year aren’t about how we look. We’ve made up our minds that the life we lead isn’t about trying to make anyone else happy – we’d all most certainly fail if it was. We only have one life, ladies. Let’s make sure we spend it doing what makes us feel good.
Which leads us nicely into the introduction of our newest favourite local business: Juicy Fitness. Or, as we like to call them, the next girl gang we want to be a part of!
WHO ARE JUICY FITNESS?
Based in North Shields, Juicy is a family-run gym delivering a range of group fitness programmes alongside a tailored personal training service aimed exclusively at women. What that means is that the Juicy experts have taken everything they’ve seen from within the fitness world – good and bad – and have made it work for us women here in the North East, to see real, honest results.
‘Juicy is all about the women who walk through our doors,’ says founder Zoe Hardy. ‘We’ve built a unique space and an environment on the back of our experiences, both good and bad, in the fitness industry.
‘We saw a gap within the industry in the North East for a genuine women’s fitness business, tailored and delivered by women. Our clients get to work out in a safe space and feel empowered, supported and like a bit of a bad ass!’
All the programmes at Juicy have been designed by women, for women, and are delivered by their team of women-only instructors, meaning you’ll only ever feel safe, supported, understood and comfortable while you reach the next stage of your health goals.
‘2022 will be our first full year in our new gym,’ Zoe continues. ‘We’re so excited to grow our girl gang and help more women to fall in love with their bodies and exercise.’
MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT
But more than the fitness benefits, Juicy’s ethos is all about inspiring wellbeing within as well as without. In understanding that any fitness environment can be daunting for anyone, Juicy are focused on growing the confidence of their fellow girl gang members, both from the ways in which they can help transform their bodies, and by empowering them with the knowledge of how to get, and stay, fit – right down to how to navigate a gym.
‘As a mother of two and a mam of four, plus a new puppy and managing my business, life is full of busy and has many challenges,’ Zoe explains. ‘Fitness has been a lifeline mentally for me throughout the past few years. It’s an outlet to be myself, to relieve stresses and to just feel good. My mental strength has come from a commitment to regular exercise and, without it, I wonder whether I would have overcome the traumatic births, the job losses and the relationship difficulties I’ve experienced.
‘But I realised just how important Juicy was for many of our members too during the lockdowns. Our community remained strong while we were kept apart. For many, Juicy Fitness was their connection to ‘pre-Covid’ life and something which they could still continue from home. It not only kept our community physically well, but it also provided the mental support for us all to keep our heads above water through the toughest of times.
‘The physical effects of exercise are undeniable, but the benefits to your mental health we think far outweigh them. It’s the best medicine for improving your mood and, in turn, improving the relationships around you. One of the areas our coaches support our clients through is building their confidence in the gym. This translates across to all areas of their lives, and when they feel good about themselves, it comes out in everything they do.’
‘Juicy is all about girl power, which is maybe just a little down to my obsession with the Spice Girls growing up!’ laughs Zoe. ‘We’ve tailored fitness for the challenges of womanhood and through the battles we encounter as women every day.’
We all know how it goes – friendship never ends. And friendship is what fuels this female-powered fitness fraternity. Step inside this gym and you’re immediately met with a supportive understanding that’s underpinned by the shared love of the health and wellbeing benefits fitness can bring.
‘The culture starts with our all-girl coaching team, who are not ego-driven or Instagram fitness-influencer clones. They’re normal women of all ages – from my daughter, a newly-qualified instructor studying her A levels at 16, to our 50-year-old PE teacher juggling teaching with kids in university,’ Zoe explains. ‘Women from all walks of life who have found a love for fitness train at Juicy, and their passion has driven them to help others.
‘They’re a very inspiring bunch with a wealth of qualifications and experience. But more than that, they’re relatable and they set the standard for the atmosphere in the gym. You’ll always find a smiley, knowledgeable face ready to welcome you. We pride ourselves in creating a culture through our ‘Juicy Gang’ (the best girl gang around!), which is inclusive and supportive no matter what your age, size or ability.
‘Traditional co-ed gyms often have separated women’s area, but at Juicy the weights are a place you will find us. The advice we give on ‘how’ we lift them is from experienced, qualified women. And when you go heavier, longer and jump higher, all the girls in the room will cheer you along!’
AVOIDING TOXIC TRAITS
‘One of the biggest problems in the industry is the false and unrealistic imagery that women are barraged with now constantly on social media platforms, and the shameless exploitation of women’s insecurities by this imagery,’ Zoe explains. ‘It’s no secret that there are a lot of filters and photoshopping with online images. But although we are aware that it happens, keeping that at the forefront of our minds while we scroll is nearly impossible. Comparing our bodies to the airbrushed, trimmed perfection on our screens is often subconscious.’
‘What piggybacks on that back of this is the magic ‘diet pill’ – the ‘starve yourself’ diet, the crash-course exercise programme that leaves you with no knowledge of how you lost weight or how to maintain weight loss. All this claiming it will get rid of the ‘problem’ almost as instantly as the image that appeared on our phone.
‘The truth is less sexy. Changing your mindset is often the starting point of the journey; things like cellulite is normal, whatever your size, and losing weight is a lot of hard work. Results that last will take consistency, time and hard work, and to maintain them will take lifestyle changes – for life. It’s not glamourous, but educating our members so that they have the knowledge to live healthier lives for as long as possible is what we’re passionate about at Juicy.
‘We try to encourage our girl gang to celebrate themselves, what their bodies can do and what they have achieved. However, we also know that it’s ok to want to change your body – it’s not shameful or vain. To be the best version of you for yourself and your loved ones is inspirational in our eyes.’
WANT TO BECOME FITTER THIS YEAR? HERE’S WHERE TO START
‘Start by setting out what you’d like to achieve, and then think about the smaller steps that you might need to take to get to that goal,’ suggest Zoe.
‘Be realistic with how long it will take and set timeframes for those smaller steps.
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of entering a gym and going it alone, reach out to the gym you’re interested in joining and arrange a tour or a session with a personal trainer.
‘Seize your motivation and capitalise on it now – once you’ve taken your first step the next ones will follow.’
To find out more about the group fitness programmes and tailored personal training service available at Juicy Fitness, or to discover how you can join this girl gang too, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram
Juicy Fitness, Unit 8, Helmsman House, Norham Road North, North Shields NE29 8RZ