Are Women More "Unconventional" Than Men in Fitness?

March 18, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018
Category: Fitness

Having run a kettlebell gym myself and spoken with tons of kettlebell trainers and gym owners, I have found one thing to be very consistent: women attend kettlebells classes much more than men (and not by a small margin either). In many cases, a 10 to 1 ratio is not unheard of. With the “badass” factor of unconventional training methods like kettlebells, why do women seem to be much more willing to embrace the unknown by swinging kettlebells for high intensity training sessions much more than men?

Since I’m not a woman, I can only theorize based on my knowledge and experience. I just want men to get up to speed and start busting out some unconventional training methods like they should. It’s time we all acknowledge the reasons and move forward!

Here are my top 5 reasons why I think the average woman is more unconventional than the average man:

1) Women are Tougher than Men

Women are more open to unconventional training methods than most men.

Women are more open to unconventional training methods than most men.

There are many definitions of “tough,” but in the sense of having a less-than-tender ego in the gym, women are usually tougher than men. Men have a built-in aversion to looking weak or incapable, and when it comes to experimenting with new movements in a public environment, this can be a large barrier to getting them into a kettlebell class.

When I had a kettlebell gym, the women who consistently trained with kettlebells became so strong and capable that they were easily out-lifting the new potential male clients (no matter how big, young, and tough the men seemed to be when they walked in the door). Worse yet, trying to start a “beginner class” didn’t work either; most men are also averse to calling themselves a “beginner” at anything.

How can men improve? We need to drop the ego and realize that improving at anything means starting at the beginning, even if that means that your girlfriend could beat you at it for now.

2) Women are More Open than Men

Women want to be fit more than most men.Most guys want to be “cutting edge” when it comes to tech, but the same is not true for fitness. I constantly see references to the “good old days” of bodybuilding in the 1970’s, when guys looked like they are supposed to: giant, greased up, muscle bound dudes training on the beach. While this might seem impressive to a lot of men, it doesn’t reflect the current trend of the fitness industry towards more functional, efficient training techniques that promote longevity and useful strength, conditioning, and agility.

Conversely, women are willing to embrace almost anything to get into better shape. This extends to pole dancing, stretching in a 105 degree room, and prancing around a park like a crazy person. No method is too weird, uncomfortable, or silly for them to try; unconventional methods like kettlebells seem almost tame in comparison!

This again boils down to ego and the need to drop it. Or, you could just do what a lot of women do and “gang up” on new methods by joining classes in groups rather than alone.

3) Women Want It More than Men

When it comes down to it, the motivation to workout is not as strong for the average man as it is for the average woman. Men are simple creatures for the most part; we get the basics that we need to be happy (food, sex, sleep, and entertainment), and nothing else really matters. In reality, all other activities are simply drivers to get more of those four things.

Conversely, women have such complex desires that I’m not going to embarrass myself by guessing what they might be, however, I know they include a much stronger demand for self-improvement, health, and longevity than the average man (which is why they probably live longer).

In relation to unconventional training techniques like kettlebells, women are attracted to the fact that they will need to learn a skill, that they will sweat their asses off, and in most likelihood, they’ll be hurting the next day (all reasons why the average man might want to avoid a high-intensity kettlebell class).

The Solution for Men

The solution for men is simple: Man the f@#& up! Drop the ego, stop thinking you know what you’re doing, and try something new that could be infinitely valuable to your health. Kettlebells are quick and effective, and learning how to use them could deliver a lifetime a low-cost fitness. Get to work.


Onnit Academy
Onnit Academy is the most comprehensive database of information related to Unconventional Training, a unique new form of fitness methodology that focuses on functional strength, conditioning, and agility using the most efficient means and tools possible. The online database includes articles, videos, tutorials, and workouts featuring alternative implements like kettlebells, sandbags, steel maces, steel clubs, battle ropes, and more.

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