In and out of the gym, women have been killing it in the fitness industry for years. At VIDA, we have our own share of women who contribute so much time and skill to what they do on a regular basis…from leading fitness classes to training clients on the weight floor. Our VIDA community is made up of so many women who make our clubs what they are, as they continue to slay the game relentlessly. International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 9th, and there are so many women who have paved the way in the industry, and through the world of athletics to end up where we are now.
Nowadays when you turn on the TV, is almost impossible NOT to see a female athlete dominating their sport. Serena Williams…Maria Sharpova…Lindsey Vonn…the list goes on and on. However, there are a few trailblazers who really helped pave the way for women in sports, and showed all the men out there who the real bosses are! One of those special women is WNBA player, Leslie Sparks. Throughout her successful career, she went on to become a four-time Olympic Gold medal winner and was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Leslie made history as the first player to ever dunk in a WNBA game, and is currently a studio analyst for Fox Sports since retiring from playing basketball in 2009.
When the Olympics roll around every few years, it feels like every house in America is tuned into the latest women’s soccer match with baited breath. Women’s soccer experienced a huge popularity boom in the early 2000’s, thanks to the hard work of champions such as Mia Hamm. One of the most successful women in the world of professional soccer, Hamm scored over 150 goals throughout her career and helped lead the U.S. national soccer team to victory. Since she retired, Hamm has continued to lead a prosperous career, being featured in various documentaries and television shows, and moving on to own a soccer team herself.
Women haven’t just helped to shape the fitness industry on our home turf here at VIDA, but also helped it grow from a business perspective too. Jane Fonda is a pioneer in the “at-home” fitness industry, launching her own brand of fitness videos and books. Her video appearances helped to spark the uprising of baby-boomers interest in fitness, and making workouts both affordable and convenient for everyone. Fonda admitted in interviews that it took her awhile to become confident in her own skin, but understanding that perfection isn’t required helped her become a role model to young women. Yet another vanguard who helped shape the industry is Billie Jean King. Although better known to most people as a former world-ranked tennis player, King started her own sports magazine, “womenSports”, and her own women’s sports foundation. She also served on the board for Philip Morris in the early 2000’s, and is a member of the Board of Honorary Trustees for the Sports Museum of America today.
Some of you may be familiar with our resident nutritionist, Addie Claire Merletti. Since healthy eating and fitness is a major part of her life, she works hard each day to make all of our members goals a reality. “Women have taken over!” Merletti notes. “Nutrition has always been a “pink collar” profession, but the sports and fitness space was still dominated by men. Now several professional sports teams have female RDs.” She adds, “So many aspects of fitness are seen as for men only, or that as a woman you don’t belong in certain parts of the gym like the weight room floor. There’s also an antiquated notion that working out with weights will make us look “too manly”. I love the idea of celebrating us changing our bodies and increasing our strength however we want! They are after all, OUR bodies.”
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we thank all the women who have been both influential and instrumental in shaping the fitness world as we know it today. Keep killing it every day by helping our industry to flourish, and show all the men out there what you’re