I thought I would let you know about an online magazine I write for called Oh My Quad – it’s packed full of great articles, tips and reviews – from the latest training tech to sporty holidays and exercise trends.
Having been weight training for a while now, I thought it would be interesting to write an article on why lifting weights is something women should relish, not run from!
So, have a read and let me know your thoughts… and be sure to check out Oh My Quad magazine….
When I tell people that I lift weights a look of utter fear crosses their faces – and that’s usually just from the guys.
Female friends tend to back away slowly, shaking their heads in disbelief.
‘You mean, you use that bit in the gym?’ they ask with a shudder.
Ah, if only I got paid for every time I was asked that question and got that same reaction.
The ‘bit’ of the gym they’re referring to is the free weight’s section.
Every gym has one, you know, that area where there are usually three or four benches lined up, a rack of dumbbells in mind-blowing quantities and mean looking pieces of equipment just waiting for 25kg plates to be loaded onto them.
Oh and not forgetting the handful of gurning and grunting muscle men that are knocking out reps as if the world is about to end.
Most of your regular gym goers avoid the free weights section at all costs and I can totally understand why – it’s a terrifying and intimidating place, dominated by men.
But I’m a 5ft 2in, eight stone something girl – and five out of seven days that’s exactly where you’ll find me. I urge you to give this legendary area of your gym a chance, because I love it!
I decided to start training for a United Kingdom Body Building and Fitness Federation competition about a year ago, in the over 35s body fitness category.
I had no choice but to suck it up and get stuck in among men who towered above me and were bicep curling 50kg dumbbells as a warmup.
And it was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Why? Because, when it comes to working out in the gym, I believe nothing is more empowering for a woman than lifting weights.
You might baulk at the thought that reaching for a set of dumbells or knocking out a set of 15 squats on the Smith machine has changed my life so much, but lifting has taught me how to become a stronger, more confident person.
Firstly, there’s the little things: like the fact you might actually have to communicate with the other people working out to make sure they’re not using the equipment you need.
Nothing’s more intimidating than walking up to a six foot wide bodybuilder; but how else are you supposed to get your workout done.
Then there’s the fact that they’re bound to look at you like you’re speaking in tongues.
‘What the hell is a girl doing in the free weights section?’ screams the expression on most of their faces.
(In the year I’ve been training, I’ve only seen five girls there at the same time as me.)
I used to mutter meekly, but that would get me nowhere, so I soon started to give the guys a smile and ask politely and more boldly.
It wasn’t long until I was striding into the weight section, determined to get my workout done and prove to these lads I had as much right to be there as they did.
I’d urge you to record your figures while weight training, because watching the amount you can lift go up and up over the weeks is a fantastic confidence booster.
When I started out I could leg press 30kg… I can now leg press over double my own weight. That kind of achievement gives you a buzz that little else can.
And then there’s why I’m doing all this in the first place, to develop a toned and healthy body.
No amount of running on a treadmill or sitting flicking through a magazine on the cycling machines (admit it, we’ve all done it) were going to give me those toned delts I’d always dreamed of seeing popping out the sides of my vest or a flat tummy.
The dreaded free weights section isn’t as scary as you think.
And it’s not just your body that will change, but also your mindset – not only will you be strong on the outside, but on the inside too.
Until next time, stay happy and healthy…