Never has there been a better time to be a girl that ‘lifts’. Our society is changing, women are no longer seen as the fairer sex – we are equals in work, and in play. Women that are mentally and physically strong are respected and sought after, both on the pitch and in the office. In the City, there is not much place for weakness.
As you gain more muscle, your metabolism goes up, meaning you burn more and more calories. So you could increase your calories by quite a significant proportion, eat more chocolate and more cheesecake and still lose weight!
Being strong is very empowering; I never would have thought how much of a dramatic impact it can have on your life, until I started the journey for myself. I started my career many years ago, as a frail distance runner who represented my country. Having discovered weight lifting on my road back from injury – and with my fair share of BodyPump classes thrown in there along the way, I have experienced first hand the effects that these different types of training can have on the body. So, it frustrates me to see that even now, there is a severe lack of information out there – that is leading so many women to train incorrectly, never to achieve the body they’ve always desired.
So if you are a woman who is spending most of your work out time in studio classes like Zumba, Body Atttack and BodyPump, here’s a few things to challenge your thinking and help you discover if you really are making the most of your valuable training time…..
1) Are you training for fun or for results?
I’ll admit it, classes can be fun. It’s a good way to spend time with friends and working in a team can sometimes make the time pass by faster! If you are training for enjoyment, and you are willing to sacrifice your results, then that’s ok. But if you are driven by wanting to change your body, and look better, then you are doing yourself a disservice.
Changing your body is tough, and it requires a little more than just breaking a sweat. If you go to a Zumba class for ten weeks, at week five you might find that they change the music, the tracks get a little longer, perhaps the movements slightly more complex. But overall, there is little increase in terms of the challenge and the progression from week to week and after a certain time you’ll hit a plateau. If you were to be weight training instead, you’ll never reach that plateau, because there’s something called progressive overload. This is the principle of changing a variable in your routine, such as lifting more weight, taking less rest or doing more reps every time you come to the gym. It’s the best way to transform those flabby areas around the back of your arms, tummy and thighs because your body is consistently having to work harder, and adapt. You’ll keep getting stronger week after week, and with strength comes increased muscle. As you gain more muscle, your metabolism goes up, meaning you burn more and more calories. So you could increase your calories by quite a significant proportion, eat more chocolate and more cheesecake and still lose weight!
if you’re at the back of a BodyPump class and you start to get tired, there’s no one stopping you taking a quick breather. In the gym, working with a coach, there’s no escape.
2) Are you only concerned about how you look, or is your health important too?
Doing classes in the gym, especially if you’ve not exercised for some time, will start to change your body. You’ll drop some weight, you’ll get a bit fitter. Primarily, you’ll build that base level of fitness that is important for all of us.
Unfortunately, as women, we are far more susceptible to certain illnesses and ailments as we get older – osteoperosis, certain types of cancer and complications with child birth. The effects of lifting weights on these illnesses is incomparable to every other type of training – You can quite literally add ten to twenty quality years onto your life, by switching your class to weight training (whist also getting the same, if not more, benefits to how you look). It’s pretty common these days to see our parents going through surgeries such as hip replacements; surgeries which could be avoided had more women been involved with strength training a few years ago. Not only that, but weight training can make you better equipped to deal with the physical demands of looking after your baby, both during and after your pregnancy.
3) Do you want to be the same as everyone else?
Ultimately, gym glasses are a ‘one size fits all’ approach – you turn up at a class and no matter what your age, your training history, the injuries you’ve had, you all do the same thing. In some ways this is great, because you can simply turn up in your gym gear, without having to think too much and simply get working! That approach might work for a few people the people in the room, but the majority need something different.
Weight training can be a far more tailored and structured approach that’s unique to you, to your bodies needs, to what you respond to best. That’s why it’s always better at least at the beginning to work with someone you trust – a personal trainer or coach, who can help you determine the right approach. Also, it’s a much better way of holding yourself accountable – if you’re at the back of a BodyPump class and you start to get tired, there’s no one stopping you taking a quick breather. In the gym, working with a coach, there’s no escape. It’s the work that you do when you are starting to get tired, when you really want to give up that is the golden ticket to changing your body. Few people make the transition from the class environment because it is a scary and unknown world – but if you are prepared to be different, to be one of the ones who is willing to take the risk, then the rewards will be endless. If you want a better body than everyone else, you have to be prepared to do something different.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my debut article here on WearetheCity! Look out for more articles on training, nutrition and how to transform your body over the next few months. If you would like to ask specific questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.salecca.co.uk where you can register for our blog.
Get lifting ladies!