In the past in gyms it’s almost been routine and tradition that girls stick to the cardio equipment and occasionally do the odd 2kg dumbbell curl. It also used to be the case that girls felt uncomfortable and out of place in the free weights room alongside groups of testosterone fuelled guys grunting away between each bench press. Fortunately this RIDICULOUS ‘tradition’ is starting to fade away, and not only are we seeing more and more girls venturing into the free weights room and picking up the big weights, we’re seeing them do it a lot better than some of the guys!
There’s a big reason for this. Lifting heavy and getting strong will get you in much better shape than pretty much any other activity in the gym. That’s why we’re seeing more and more girls give things like step and tone classes a miss, and heading down to the weights room to get in a MUCH more effective workout.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have variety in your routine, and I’m not saying things like cardio and exercise classes aren’t a good addition to a fitness programme. BUT if you really want a leaner, stronger and more toned body you need to get some strength training into your routine girls.
Here’s four reasons why:
1. It will NOT make you bulky – this is normally the number one concern my female clients have when I suggest we’re going to start a strength programme. But let’s knock this one on the head straight away…. Lifting big weights won’t make you bulky and muscley like it does with guys.
There’s one big reason for this and it comes down to testosterone. Testosterone is also know as the body’s growth hormone and it is responsible for building muscle.
Men and women both produce it, but women produce anywhere between 10-30 times LESS than men. Put simply women do not have the same amounts of testosterone to stimulate muscle growth in the same way as males.
2. It’s effective for fat loss – compared to traditional cardio methods, resistance training will ALWAYS come out on top when it comes to burning calories.
The calorie burning effect occurs not only during, but also after you’ve finished your session. After a heavy weight training session your body will continue to consume oxygen for several hours after you drop the weights. When your body uses more oxygen it increases the body’s metabolic rate and as a result burns more fat.
The figures back this one up….. a study on 700 females found that lifting weights for just 25 minutes, 3 times a week led to a gain of two pounds of muscle, and a loss of 4 pounds of fat!
3. You’ll see much better shape – as you build more muscle you’ll notice that much wanted ‘hourglass’ figure start to appear.
Take the glutes for example. The glutes are one of the biggest and most strongest muscles in your body. The shape of them is determined by how the muscle develops.
There is no better way to see some size, shape and definition than a deep heavy squat. It will help you tone and firm up your bum and can also help prevent lower back injuries.
4. It’ll give you a BIG confidence boost – all the girls that I train have all said how great they feel after a good solid weights session.
You can see the confidence develop as they grow stronger and stronger and notice their bodies start to change and look amazing. The more confident you get, the better you’ll feel. And when we talk about long term results, the more you enjoy something the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.
Whether you're a guy or a girl, lifting weights should be included in your training programme in one way or another. When done correctly you'll see huge benefits and notice changes to your body that you just don't get from running on a treadmill or cycling on a bike.
The important thing is that you are doing it right and following a structured training programme that allows you to progress and keeps your body challenged. Get yourself set up with a basic programme and include some big moves into it. A simple upper/lower body split might look like this:
Upper Body (4 sets of 8-12 reps)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Barbell Bent Over Row
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Lat Pull Down
Dips (With Or Without Assist)
Lower Body (4 sets of 8-12 reps)
Reverse Barbell Lunge
Combine this routine with some HIIT style training just like my LEAN BOOTCAMP programme includes and I guarantee you're on to a winner! So join the revolution! Ditch that treadmill and get your booty down to the free weights room!