German gym caters to Muslim women only

Linked with German gym caters to Muslim women only.

Published on The Earth Times, by DPA, April 7, 2008.

Cologne, Germany – A gym in Germany that caters specially to Muslim women is doing so well after its first year that others want to imitate its combination of modest attire and tough workouts. All the personal trainers at Hayat in the melting-pot Cologne district of Ehrenfeld are women: Emine and Yasmin give tips or show demurely dressed clients how to work the treadmill and tune in to Turkish pop music over their headsets.

Hayat offers the full range of gym machines, including exercise bikes and devices to encourage firmer thighs.

It also offers the Muslims a prayer room.

This is one gym where you won’t see skimpy shorts, figure-hugging leotards and lots of bare skin. Many work out in head-scarves.

Proprietress Emine Aydemir, 39, says on the first anniversary that her no-men-allowed gym has been a business success …

… Husbands are not allowed into the gym, even when they are picking up their own wives after a workout. The sign on the door says bluntly, “Access for male visitors prohibited.” That includes mailmen and repairmen too.

Gulay, 29, who is training her abdominals on a shiny machine, explains that this is the main reason she chose Hayat.

“I certainly would never work out in a gym with men in the same room,” she said. “If there were men here, I’d find that very upsetting. It would not be my kind of space at all”. (full text).

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