CrossFit Contessa is a Women-Only Gym

CrossFit Contessa
Images courtesy of CrossFit Contessa

Amanda Wilson knew early on she wanted to focus solely on the improvement and empowerment of women.

Working at gyms as a trainer and group fitness instructor since she was 16, the combination of the above passion and her experience led to opening CrossFit Contessa in 2014.

With two locations in Australia, the Affiliate is a women-only training facility. “To be honest, it started as a women-only gym for a selfish reason. I was just a better trainer for women,” said Wilson. “Now I know it’s so much more than that — it’s how comfortable they feel. Women of all ages and sizes take their shirts off to train. We listen to Beyoncé. We have events for women. We hang out after class and talk. Women love to connect. We get to home in on all that stuff.”

Running a women-only gym has come with some lessons of its own. Wilson shares her top takeaways from the last several years:

Box Pro: What have you learned works well in a women-only gym?

Amanda Wilson: First, support and encouragement are more important than making sure everyone arrives on time and how fast they can do Fran. And second, you as trainers/Coaches should be training in class often. Please understand you are in a position of service, not power. I know those aren’t specific for our niche, but they are very important, and I find way too often are overlooked.

BP: What are the top three lessons learned over the years in running CrossFit Contessa successfully?

AW: My top three lessons are:

1. Your passion for helping others must trump all else.  

2. Running a successful Affiliate is like raising a kid: lots of effort, sleepless nights and reading “parenting” books; lots of saying “sorry, no” and wondering far too often if you are doing a good job.  

3. You will come into contact with lots of people. Members, staff, friends. All of them will come and go. Some even come back again. It’s a lonely journey in business as you always remain. Just remember your “why” in your lonely moments. If your why is strong enough, it will help pull you through the hard times. 

BP: Any other advice for other Affiliates out there?

AW: You are in a position of service, not power. I know I said that above, but please read it until you understand. Give more than you take. Your athletes deserve your respect; they don’t owe you anything. They pay you for a service. Always under-promise and over-deliver, not the other way around. 

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at