Strength training: why do women need to embrace it?

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Because we are strong and entirely capable of doing so. Hell, we are the gender qualified to spend hours in labour. We create beautiful little bebes (with a little help from our friends), put up with PMS and pre-menoupause all while embracing the other, glorious, non-matriarchal aspects of life. I thus conclude we can lift some weights.


So, if a better functioning body, healthier bones, a decreased risk of heart disease, less stress and a higher self-esteem sounds good to you, then strength training should be in your weekly routine.

Throughout my years as a personal trainer and CrossFit Coach, I’ve heard many reasons as to why women steer clear of weights:

  1. I don’t have the time or resources.
  2. It’s a luxury (personal training etc.) I can’t afford.
  3. I’m so busy and, when I do have a bit of me time, the last thing I want to do is exercise.
  4. I already burn enough calories with my cardio workouts.
  5. I’ll get bulky.
  6. I’m not strong enough.
  7. I don’t even where to begin.

To refute points 1 to 3, I will firstly agree with you

Yes, working out with a personal trainer or paying a gym membership is a luxury that is both time consuming and effortfull.

Your HEALTH is a luxury that takes time, energy and effort. But, the time we choose to put into our own health in the present will substantially minimise whatever issues might stem from years of neglect in the future. Moreover, as you become accustomed to training, it will, in some respects, become easier.

As for points 4 to 7 mentioned above, it just isn’t true

In reference to point number four, running and other cardiovascular workouts are great! They will certainly burn calories, benefit your conditioning and provide you with those feel good endorphins. However, to become your best self, you also need another piece of the puzzle.

With strength training, you will be working through fundamental movement pattens in different planes of motion. Think squatting, hinging, lunging, pulling and pressing. If you can’t perform these movements using a decent range of motion, then the muscles you use on a daily basis need to be strengthened. Further, strength training increases your resting metabolic rate thus helping you burn more calories.

Simply, strength training makes you stronger, increases your metabolism and involves a diverse range of movements, weights and rep ranges.

Onto number 5. One of my favorite reasons not to strength train. The fear of bulking up…

Are you a dude? No (we established this already). Which means you don’t have the amount of testosterone required to get “bulky.” Yes, some women that strength train may look “big” in your opinion, but I guarantee their goals, calorie intake, exercise routine and supplements are all major contributing factors to their size and shape.

As for points 6 and 7, if you’ve never picked up a weight before, that’s ok too

Chances are, you’re still strong enough and capable enough to start with body weight movements. Any decent personal trainer or gym instructor will modify everything to fit your exact abilities and help you make a game plan to get started.

The bottom line?

Start strength training.

The benefits are endless. Not only do clients of mine see the physical benefits of working out, they also feel the mental ones as well; they feel happier, more assertive, less stressed and sleep better.

Once these changes start, many of my clients realise that their mind-frame has made an important shift. An activity they once deemed to be an exhausting, time consuming, body bulking luxury is in fact making them a stronger, happier and healthier individual.

Who wouldn’t want more of that for themselves? What’s more, your children, family and friends will see the positive impact that your training is having as well. 

Even if you agree with all the above, there still might be a mental block holding you back. I don’t believe it’s because you don’t want to do the work. Instead, it’s the fear of committing to the work.

But I promise, you won’t regret it. Trying something new is always going to be a daunting endeavour. I’ve been there plenty of times. Though, if you commit to contacting a qualified PT (such as myself), having a chat about your goals, health and history and lock in a time 1-2x per week to do the work, you’ll long forget the excuses your mind used to protect itself from trying something new.

As with anything, you may feel like a total beginner at first. And that’s not a bad thing. Look at it as an exciting new project! How fun is it to learn something new or build upon what you already know? You might even realise exercising doesn’t have to be such a dreaded chore after all.

If you’re a total beginner, we’ll start with body weight movements so you can better understand how your body works and build a solid foundation. If you’re intermediate or advanced, great! We will determine your strengths and weaknesses and build a plan to work towards your exact goals.  

The bottom line? Start moving and slowly build a lifelong habit that you just might find yourself enjoying.

More articles about women and fitness on thevicedit.com
How one woman used lockdown to become more assertive
Women of CrossFit, Changing the Game

Interested in starting your personal training journey? Contact me at engelmann88@gmail.com

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