How the Fitness Industry Hurts Women Over 40 and How to Fight Back

By Isa Herrera, MSPT

How the Fitness Industry Fails Women and How to Fight Back 2

Why does the fitness industry not seem to care about you?

Here is something you may not know – I used to be a top trainer in New York City many years ago at the Reebok Sports Club NY. And while I still love fitness and all things health, I’ve become quite fed up with the fitness industry. 

You see, I had a front-row seat to witness some of the ugliest things the fitness industry does to women. 

I saw things like:

  • Women being physically injured and then humiliated into continuing their workout
  • Women being shamed and ridiculed for the tiniest bit of fat on their body
  • Women that were so exhausted from their workout that they fell asleep in the changing room
  • Women that had peed their pants mid-workout and their trainer told them to not forget their pad next time

It was horrible, and it took me a minute to figure out that the whole fitness industry was full of dirty secrets. Full of tricky ways that they manipulated women into feeling bad about themselves — all while encouraging repeat business. It’s an industry fraught with deception and lies — all aimed at getting you to come back for more.

A culture of negativity

I’m not one to paint an absolute broad brush and say that every gym is inherently bad. There are exceptions to the rule, and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of emails from women saying, “my gym where I work out is the best.” I know there are exceptions to every rule and there are a few warriors out there fighting against the mainstream fitness industry. 

My point is that in many ways, the system as a whole is flawed. 

And this really goes beyond just the fitness industry.

How the Fitness Industry Fails Women and How to Fight Back 3

Aren’t you tired of trying to fit the mold of what we are supposed to look like?

When we really get down to it, it’s a societal problem at its core. Women are oversexualized and put under tremendous pressure to look a certain way in order to be deemed attractive or worthy. 

But let’s leave that discussion for another article, shall we?

The problem is that the fitness industry has seized upon these societal constructs and it uses the resulting insecurities we’ve developed as a result against us.

They have fine-tuned their advertising and messaging so that we feel drawn to their narrative. It’s really like an abusive relationship.

We’re told over and over again that we need to look a certain way — then they tell us that in order to achieve that goal, we’ve got to come to them. They are the only ones with the truth and the answers. Then when we do what they tell us, we don’t get the results we’ve been promised. And they say it’s our fault. If only we’d lean more into their knowledge and push harder, be *more* disciplined, then we’ll get where we want to go.

It’s a cycle of abuse that leads to self-hate, eating disorders, and — pelvic floor dysfunction.

Did you know that symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction are actually common in women with eating disorders? That’s right, a lack of proper nutrition can lead to atrophied muscles and complications with prolapse and incontinence. (1,2)

Discover How To Have A Strong, Toned, Firm Body Without Hurting Your Pelvic Floor, So You Can Exercise Without Pee Leaks, Pain, or Pressure By Enrolling in The Fit Strong Balance Program

A business of failure

Let’s also consider that the industry itself is a completely failed model.

The industry continues to grow exponentially — it makes over $97 billion annually…and yet, the population becomes heavier. (3)

The statistics are staggering:  49% of adults are trying to lose weight, and yet 71.6% of the US population over age 20 is considered overweight. (4)

Ever wondered why that is?

>> It’s because what the fitness industry is selling doesn’t actually work!

Extreme caloric restriction and overexercising have been shown time and time and time again to not work. Just ask the contestants on the Biggest Loser — a post-show study determined they still suffered from metabolic damage a full 6 years after competing on the show and most regained weight. (5)

And yet — fitness gurus keep convincing us that it’s the only way, the right way and if we’d just try harder, be more disciplined, and restrict more that we’ll finally get the results they’re promising.

Ultimately, they WANT to make you fail — so you’ll come back for more. 

How the Fitness Industry Fails Women and How to Fight Back 4

Think about it.

If they teach you how to take care of your body, and love it and cherish it, no matter what it looks like — would you turn to them for advice or look within?

If they teach you how to exercise in a way that makes you feel good and doesn’t require a membership, special equipment, or complicated routines — would you feel the need to make fitness-related purchases?

If they were to teach you to love exercise and have fun and create results appropriate for you (not the 20-something-year-old fitness model) — would you even need them anymore?

Just say NO to them — and YES to yourself

I’d like to think there’s a better way, a healthier way.

I’d like to see a world where women exercise because they LOVE their bodies, not because they hate them.

I want to see you have control over the narrative of your body — not to feel ashamed or embarrassed by it.

I want you to celebrate the way you look — no matter your size.

This is why I’ve created my Fit Strong Balance Program…A pelvic floor safe workout for women who want to be fit and strong without damaging their pelvic floor or backs.

It’s all about empowering women to be healthy and fit — and of course, because I’m me, I’m teaching about how your overall fitness ties into the health of your pelvic floor, and giving you recommendations for working out without making your pelvic problems worse.

And I’d love to have you join me in my Fit Strong Balance Program

If you’re interested in learning how to: 

  • Lose weight without the struggle
  • Finally, find a happy place with your body (even if you’ve hated your reflection since forever)
  • Build muscle without pumping iron in the weight room
  • Get a tight and firm body 
  • Learn the proper techniques for exercise without further damaging your pelvic floor, peeing your pants, or the embarrassing fart noises that sneak out on occasion.

Click here to get immediate access to the Fit Strong Balance program and get the body you’ve always dreamed of.



(You know I am big on evidence-based info…)

  1. “Do the digestive tract symptoms in eating disorder … – NCBI.” 28 Feb. 2013,
  2. “ANRED: Complications of Eating Disorders.”
  3. “Health & Fitness Clubs – Statistics & Facts | Statista.” 17 Sep. 2020,
  4. “FastStats – Overweight Prevalence – CDC.”
  5. “Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The … – PubMed.”


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