Paul Wellman (file)

The Women’s Athletic Club is all about community, and owner Alice Huang is moving her woman-oriented State Street health club down the block to El Mercado Plaza, where a larger community can access the club and its personal trainers 24 hours a day.

By moving to a larger space and optimizing hours, Huang hopes to connect more clients with personal trainers, keep up on new training trends, like TRX training, and give women what they deserve in a gym, whether they know they deserve it or not.

Huang’s club, with its collection of member-donated sporting memorabilia, is a response to the insolent tone of women’s spaces in gyms. “I call these the Rosa Parks sections of the gym,” said Huang. “All of the equipment is 20 years old and pink, and the weights only go up to like 15 pounds. It’s very condescending.”

The Women’s Athletic Club offers a variety of group classes and is decked out with the latest equipment, including multiple types of elliptical machines and unique alternatives that work the body in a gentle, efficient fashion for a more mature clientele. This variety is necessary when customers range from 16 to 80, with an average client in her forties.

With the new facility comes a new, more serious workout environment. “We just want to push it up a notch,” said Huang. The club’s El Mercado location will have spaces with heavy rubber-mat flooring and the same top-of-the-line machinery with the added benefit of a higher status and safer location.

A very limited group of men, under Huang’s discretion, will be allowed to use the new facility before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. “Middle-aged men are just as self-conscious [as women], but they won’t admit it,” said Huang.


Women’s Athletic Club is at 4141 State Street, Suite D1.2 (in El Mercado Plaza). Call (805) 845-4545 or visit


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