Memberships at women-only Ladies California gyms transferred to unisex gym in Regina

Members of an all-women fitness group in Regina are being transferred to a unisex facility after a company merger.

'This is not the service I signed up for,' says Ladies California member after transfer to Evolution Fitness

Both Ladies California Fitness locations in Regina are scheduled to shut down on Friday after a merger. (CBC)

Members of an all-women fitness centre in Regina are being transferred to a unisex facility after a company merger, and one member says it's not what she signed up for.

Evolution Fitness now has 4,000 new member contracts, acquired from two Ladies California gyms, as well as the unisex gym Fitness For 10.

The two women's gyms will shut down at the end of the day Friday. All members will instead have access to four Evolution gyms throughout the city. 

Ladies California member Heba Anbeer, who wears a hijab, was shocked to receive word last week that she would soon be a member of a unisex gym.

"This is not the service I signed up for," Anbeer said about the switch.

Heba Anbeer cancelled her membership after her women-only gym merged with a unisex facility. (CBC)

Three of the Evolution centres have a women-only fitness area that is segregated from the main area.

But Anbeer said the facilities weren't up to the privacy standards required by her religion. One area is enclosed by glass. 

I signed for a whole gym, not … a small room.- Heba Anbeer

At her former gym, there were blinds which could be drawn at night and she felt comfortable taking her hijab off to exercise. 

"At least when they claim that they have an area for women, it should be up to that standard," she said. 

"I signed for a whole gym, not, like, a small room that looks like my basement and has [the] same equipment as my basement."

Evolution Fitness has women's only areas in three of its four Regina locations. (Micki Cowan/CBC)
The women-only area in the Evolution Fitness gym on Quance Street in Regina has weights as well as machines. (Micki Cowan/CBC)

At first Anbeer went through a string of phone calls and red tape to try and get her membership cancelled. 

Eventually, the company let her cancel. Evolution Fitness director of operations Korena Lafayette said the delay was the result of a misunderstanding. 

Women's spaces

Lafayette said Evolution offers the women-only spaces to try to accommodate members who prefer that space.

"We like to offer that to ensure that they're able to continue having a fit and healthy lifestyle," she said.  

She said anyone with questions about their contract or the merger can contact Evolution or her directly. 

Ladies California gym members were sent this letter in February, after the two Regina locations merged with Evolution Fitness. (CBC)

There are several other gyms or facilities in Regina that offer separate spaces for women. 

Last month, the City of Regina began offering a women-only swim night at the North West Leisure Centre on Friday evenings. 

About the Author

Micki Cowan


Micki is a reporter and producer at CBC Vancouver. Her passions are municipal issues and water security.

With files from Raluca Tomulescu