At Barbell Samurai, we believe in STRONG women! And so should you!
strength class! Now this is what women who lift look like!”
In all my years as a personal trainer, I have come across a common question.
“Should women lift weights?”
Professionally, this seems like a simple question to answer. Little did I know, that answering this question is a lot more complex than it may seem. Striking fear into hopeful gym-goers around the world.
So let me tell you a story about one of my first clients as a personal trainer.
A young woman, just like any other, finally biting the bullet that she had been trying to avoid for so many years.
And like most introductory personal training sessions, came the basics.
The conversation typically tends to follow the same criteria each time.
“What made you want to start exercising?”
“What are your goals?”
“When did you want to achieve them by?”
“Injuries? Medical conditions?”
And then it comes. I begin to venture further into the conversation, and I ask:
'Have you ever tried weights or resistance training?'
She responded as follows, which I would soon find out is not an uncommon answer to such a question.
But as the words left my mouth.
First came a grimace.
Then a shallow sigh.
Followed shortly by a long, drawn out and less than convincing,
'Yeaaahhhhh, I do some weights stuff, but I just don't want to get big.'
At which stage the grimace had turned to a look of concern, as she clutch both of her arms across her chest.
I remember the look on her face to this day. It was like she was recalling a recurring nightmare, where she finished the first day of her new resistance program, only to wake up the next morning and look in the mirror to find her face attached to Arnold Schwarzennegger’s body from the opening scene of The Terminator!
“NOPE! YOU WILL NOT LOOK LIKE THIS!!”
But this simply is NOT the reality of the situation. So let me explain what is reality.
!!STRONG IS HEALTHY!!!
Man, woman or child, for the majority of situations, getting stronger is going to be beneficial for you. Yes, each person might have different limits and benchmarks, I would never expect a 50kg man to lift 200kg on his first day in the gym! But typically the stronger you are, THE BETTER!
And for those of you who are like my client and have the recurring dream about Arnie from Terminator, let me reassure you. The reality of the situation is that women have a much LOWER capacity to grow muscle compared to men.
Women produce significantly lower levels of growth hormone and testosterone which are responsible for muscle growth. Don’t get me wrong, women still put on lean muscle mass in response to resistance training, but rather than growing outwards and blowing up like some of the Michelin men you might have seen at your local gym.
“they might of looked a little bit like this”
Muscle growth in women tends to cause more of a toning effect on a woman’s physique.
Besides this the benefits of resistance training are almost countless.
- Increased Lean Muscle Mass
- Increased Muscle Tone
- Decrease Body Fat %
- Improved Mental Health (Confidence, self - esteem and self worth)
- Improved muscular strength, power and endurance
What you didn’t know about resistance training:
- Improved Heart Health
- Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
- Reduces risk of falls in the elderly
- Decreases risk of Injury
- Increased Tendon and Ligament Strength
- Used in rehabilitation from injury
Weights and resistance training is even used as a method of therapy to treat and manage chronic health conditions.
Furthermore, research found that those who have a greater cardiovascular fitness and lean muscle mass have a greater life expectancy. Furthermore, research has also found resistance training to increase bone density which is essential for an aging population of women, as the National Osteoporosis Foundation has found women over the age of 50 have a 1 in 2 chance of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis.
These are just a few of the wide array of benefits of incorporating weights training into your weekly routine.
I know there is still a lot of stigma and fear around the idea of women and resistance training.
But there is so much to gain from such a simple change in your life.
Just look at my client. It’s been two years since that first fearful, anxious conversation, and yet here we are. Not only are we DOWN OVER 16KG!! And keeping it off.
“My client Michelle after achieving her goal of losing 15kg”
We are happier, healthier and most importantly STRONGER THAN EVER! And still no sign of Sarah Connor.
So I challenge you.
Be like my client. Be brave. Face your fears. And come down and ask us about how you can add weights and resistance training into your weekly routine.
Who knows, it might be the best decision you ever make.
Patrick Dillon, Coach at Barbell Samurai.