When you’re crazy busy, making it to the gym and getting a decent workout in can be hard, even with cute accessories, high-tech performance wear and delicious pre-game snacks. Now new research is saying this might not be your fault. According to this 2004 study published in the Journal of Sport + Exercise Psychology, female co-ed gym members have a higher level of anxiety during their workout, and often opt for a shorter exercise routine.


It all has to do with SPA: social physique anxiety. Basically, SPA is the feeling of anxiety someone gets when they feel like other people are judging their body or physique. According to the Canadian study, women gym-attenders have a higher level of SPA than men while working out. But the real shocker is how that SPA level changes in different environments. According to the study, women who are in all-male and mixed-sex exercise settings (as opposed to all-female gyms) have substantially increased social physique anxiety. This means that most women are more worried about a dude on the treadmill judging their body than a fit-spirational female doing deadlift squats.

If you think you might experience SPA, you could consider joining a women’s gym, or even just bringing along a BFF for your workout, so you guys can support and encourage each other. With #girlpower tunes on your playlist, we bet you’ll be nailing your workouts in no time.

Do you feel more anxious in co-ed gyms? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.