Strong not skinny: Women’s wellbeing in the west


    By Kel Rowe

    ‘Strong not skinny’ reflects a growing shift in the wellbeing attitudes of women and gender diverse folk across the country. It’s also the catch cry of Lauren Hines, owner of West Footscray’s newest women’s strength and fitness studio Athena gym.

    A sports science and business major with experience in commercial gym settings, Hines’ passion for helping women find their strength began when she herself took up powerlifting. 

    Tapping into this new perception of strength was a gamechanger for her own practice and approach to training her clients. 

    “It’s gone from this notion of being skinny, to being strong,” Hines reflected.

    “If you don’t make aesthetics the goal, the process happens better. When people focus on the strength training, on getting strong, you start to enjoy it more and you train more… And with strength, you’re just striving to hit numbers.”

    And it’s not just about building up the numbers on the weights lifted. Women are increasingly joining their local gyms or engaging personal trainers to reap the health benefits associated with strength training. Improvements in bone density and mood are just some of the positives along with a reduction in the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions that can be prevalent as women age. 

    Hines sees this healthy shift firsthand in her clients. 

    “Physically, it’s about longevity, it’s an age prevention measure. Mentally, it makes you a much more confident person. You feel strong and more capable and it translates into other areas of your life,” Hines said.

    Acknowledging that those unfamiliar with gyms can find them scary or intimidating, Hines has created the gym with a vision to break down those barriers. Small group classes are the preferred format, and offer participants a chance to ‘Sweat’, ‘Hustle’ and find some ‘Zen’ in both morning and evening time slots. Hines also offers personal training for those who aren’t keen on working out with others.

    As for Athena, Hines sees it as more than just a gym. “I want the space to be a second home, where everyone is part of a tight-knit community, and we celebrate people when they reach their goals,” she said. 

    “I want everyone to feel strong, and feel empowered,” 
    she said.  

    72 Ashley St
    West Footscray, 3012

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