Women’s fitness vs men’s fitness is not unlike comparing shopping styles. If you have been shopping with a man, you’ll know there are differences in the way different genders often approach this task.
We love men but - oh man - going shopping with them? It’s hard. They have an objective, they locate key items and they get out. It’s like an SAS rescue mission, except they’re rescuing 7-packs of jocks and socks from Kmart. Sure, #notallmen, but we’d hazard a guess at most.
Women, on the other hand, browse. They explore. They try things on - sometimes just for fun. They get coffee and cake. It’s a whole big fun experience.
After two decades of running women’s fitness adventures, we know that men and women trek differently too.
Women and men hike differently
Men love the silence, the challenge, the competition and the big bowl of tuna pasta at the end. And the gadgets. Don’t forget the Garmin.
Women? You can hear us coming! Wild women love a chat and a cuppa as much as they love the great outdoors. We’re there for the fitness but we’re also there for the friendship, the laughter and the chocolate macadamias.
All-women fitness groups are empowering
The other thing we know is women tend to defer to men in an outdoor adventure environment.
Whether it’s unconscious bias, a product of our upbringing or social conditioning, women behave differently in the wild when men are around. We see it in our boardrooms and we see it on our bush trails and that is not what we’re about. We’re all about empowering women to be their strongest, most kick ass selves. We don’t want anything to hold our wild women back.
While men are absolutely welcome to join us for Coastrek, our fitness adventures are geared towards women because we want to provide a safe, supportive space where our trekkers can push themselves physically and mentally.
Women prefer collaboration over competition
At Coastrek, the vibe is one of collaboration and camaraderie, not competition. We don’t care how fast you finish, as long as you finish together.
Why? Well, together everyone achieves more. For every woman who packs Band-Aids, there’s another one who packs scroggin, a hairbrush and sunscreen. The collective energy of the group is often what gets you through those moments of challenge or struggle, when you think you might not make it.
Being with other wild women provides comfort in moments of discomfort. Peeing behind a bush when you’re with a bunch of women is no big deal - and hey, someone is going to have toilet paper if you forgot yours!
We want women to reclaim the wilderness
We want women to reclaim the wilderness. For many years, there was a belief that hiking was too dangerous or physically demanding for women.
Outdoor enthusiast and writer Katherine Oakes says in her article Closing the Gender Gap in the Great Outdoors, “From childhood on, the amount of exposure girls receive to the outdoors in comparison to boys isn’t always equal. Young boys are encouraged to be brave and wily, to dive deep into the mountains and woods. While young girls are offered the opportunity to dip their toes into nature, many aren’t encouraged to pursue adventure in the same way.”
The good news is that things are finally changing. We like to think that 10,000 Coastrekkers a year – 90% of them women – are shifting the dial.
Some of the latest statistics show that male and female participating in hiking in Australia is roughly equal in 2022. We like to think we contributed to that figure.
There has been a marked increase in hikers of both sexes in the US over the past 16 years according to Statista - numbers of hikers have almost doubled - and it can’t all be because of COVID-19 lockdowns!
Why women love Coastrek
So why are so many women hitting the Coastrek trails around Australia? We think it’s because Coastrek combines fun, fitness, friends and fundraising.
With our 12-week training program, we have seen women who couldn’t walk more than 5km walk 30km in a day.
Sure, there are blisters and sometimes there are tears, but our trekkers cross the finish line nearly every time. Building women’s fitness is something we do every single day.
With the option of walking 30km, 45km or 60kms, there’s an achievable distance for most fitness levels. The age range runs from 18 right through to women in their sixties, seventies and even eighties!
Everything we do - from the dancing and the cheering to the treats and the Prosecco - is geared towards what we know women love: fun!
But there’s also a serious side to our mission and that’s our partnership with Beyond Blue. We know that movement, time in nature, friends and fundraising are all great ways to support your mental wellbeing. Plus, by fundraising for Beyond Blue, we can help all Australians achieve their best possible mental health. Over the past 12 years, we have raised over $37 million for charity - all while chatting, laughing and wearing Lululemon!
Does all of this make you want to take your active wear out for a spin? Sign up for the next Coastrek walk here.