A couple of weeks ago, for the first time that I can remember, I was in the gym training a client and the only other people in the weights area were women. There were no guys strutting around like peacocks, flexing in the mirror. Just women! This made me so unbelievably happy (yes I’m sad). I knew I had to write about this the next time my creative juices were flowing. Sat here in bed with a nice cup of coffee and laptop prepped, here goes!
Go into any big commercial gym. The majority of the weights room is almost always occupied by groups of men and a few brave females striving to break the ‘norm’.
Why is this the case? In my experience, two reasons really: confidence and misconceptions.
As a personal trainer, I feel somewhat responsible for this imbalance in training techniques and I always try my hardest to create equilibrium. When speaking to women in the gym, either those that are just starting their fitness journey, or the experienced gym goer, I always try and encourage them into the weights area. 99% of the time they are willing to adopt this training approach, but only when I am with them. As soon as I write a programme for them to follow, they are reluctant to brave the weights room and opt for the more popular ‘cardio zone’. I completely understand the hesitancy, however, it can be rather frustrating. Not because I have spent time writing a detailed programme, but because it is slowing their progress.
As soon as you mention female weightlifting, the image that pops into most people’s heads is a very large, bulked up woman, squared off jaw and questionable ‘supplement’ intake. This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth! Women worry that as soon as they touch a dumbbell they will begin to look ‘manly’ and lose their feminine shape. Let me tell you something. No one has ever ‘accidently’ become too muscular. Building a big, strong physique takes a lot of time, effort and commitment over many years. Testosterone plays a large part in this. Women have far lower levels of testosterone than men and this is the hormone that promotes muscle growth. Unless you have any plans to start injecting testosterone into your system, you have nothing to worry about.
Weight training forms the majority of my training and I love it. So I am slightly biased. However, if you are looking to lose weight, strength training should form the foundations of your gym programme. It is not only a great way of burning fat and but also keeping it off. You will also create a nice ‘toned’ look once the fat is gone.
So shatter your misconceptions and brave the weights room. The more women that are seen lifting weights, the less intimidating the weights area will feel for others that are new to the gym.