Forget pounding the pavement for hours. Women’s fitness must be more interesting and challenging. Don’t settle for less.
Do you have muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone, a heart and lungs? If you answered yes to these questions – then you were born for resistance training!
Women tend to under estimate their potential, especially when it comes to physical strength.
Actually, I think it is the industry and its marketing that under estimates women. By chasing the female $ it has has created two distinct segments and perpetuated easy to sell ideas to them. One segments message is that womens training should be gentle, light, and entertaining. The other promotes that female fitness is all about sexualised images and extrinsic rewards: being ‘liked’, looked at, or envied by others.
As a coach, It’s part of my job to help cut through all the commercial flotsam about women’s fitness and help my female clients discover how amazing they can be. We focus on how they feel, how they move, and how healthy they are and how well they perform by using the best tool for the job – resistance training.
While many male clients like to, and insist on, pushing their bodies to the ultimate point of exhaustion, many women have been duped into shying away from even moderate exertion. The facts are that how what we adapt to is the same for both sexes. We both need adequate resistance and just enough stress. Too little can be as ineffective as too much.
Thankfully, once most women learn to train properly, they do so with a dedication that outstrips many males and with an emphasis on quality that is to be applauded.
Maybe it is as they are typically less aggressive and have more concern for their safety that women are actually easier to coach too – which in the long run allows them to outperform a ‘gym-hero’ that works to exhaustion but then has to back off because of injury or fatigue.
Of course, a job of a good coach is to challenge each individual with an appropriate level of difficulty, that will stimulate change while remaining safe! We often find that we have to hold men back from doing more than they really can while we encourage women to push a little harder. Again, the typical female psychology is actually more results oriented and likely to bring long term success. A client who left a little the tank can always come back tomorrow. A client with an ego that ignores advice and pushes too hard could be out of action for weeks!
This month our newsletter covered Women’s Fitness and critical benefit from weight training, bone density. It’s an unavoidable fact that as women get older, their hormone profile changes, and they typically accumulate more body fat, loose muscle and bone density. While diet plays an important role in mitigating these problems, weight bearing exercise can actually reverse this trend! This does not mean working out like a pro body-builder, or looking like one for that matter. Fairly moderate to somewhat challenging weights can get a measurable bone density results when sustained over a long period. Even post menopausal women can get results.
Other benefits for Strength training and Women’s Fitness include greater muscle flexibility and easier control of body fat as your metabolism ramps up.
For women who are worried about getting ‘too big’ – let me assure you that with normal quality training, good food, and even with quality supplements, it is not possible for women to develop muscles like those you see in body building magazines, unless you have the illegal or medical assistance recently popularised by cycling ! Note that we strongly recommend that you don’t go down this route as you are likley to get an Adam’s apple for free too !!
We all want a healthy body that we can maintain over the long term. Science and experience tells us that resistance training is by far the most beneficial type of exercise, as it is easier to sustain and has the most health benefits for women’s fitness.
So ditch what you think is funky and new, reduce what you do for recreation (long jogs, for example), and start getting excited about belonging to a rare group of women who lift big and live strong!
NWF Principal Trainer