Ok, let me first admit that I am a workout-aholic. Ask my family, ask my friends. I LIVE at the gym. I love what exercising and proper eating has done for my life—physically, emotionally … physically.
I am also a big fan of weightlifting. I have an understanding that total fitness comes from a balance of both cardio and resistance training as well as just loving the feeling of strength and empowerment that comes along with it. And that’s resistance training with BIG WEIGHTS, ladies. We’re talking 10 pounds, 15 pounds and dare I say it … 20s! Not the cutsey pastel-colored 2s that look more like paper weights then something to lift.
However, I am quite offended when someone approaches me and says I work out like a man.
Back when I was training at a local gym, some watched me and my training style and even said I trained like a man. Went as far as having the audacity to try and tell me that I was a female version of a male trainer who also worked at the gym. Excuse me, a female version of him? Why couldn’t he just be the male version of me?
I don’t go easy on any of my clients, be they male or female. Most men are actually afraid to train with me … but I guess that’s another article. I work them equally to their capacity and at times slightly beyond. If I were to be “soft” and allow a female client to lift what was comfortable, then I would be wasting her time and money. I always say to my clients, “I am here to make you do what you would not subject yourself to if you were working out on your own.” I think I’m obligated to do that every time. Otherwise, what am I here for?
Muscle mass is just as important (if not more … I’ll explain that in a minute) to a woman as it is a man. Researchers have determined that, starting between the ages of twenty-five and thirty years, the average person will lose about five to ten pounds of lean body mass every ten years. Because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, age-related muscle loss will subsequently devastate your metabolism, causing a 20 to 25 percent reduction in metabolism every twenty-four hours which adds up to a daily metabolic decrease of over 500 calories.
But many women shy away from lifting weights; thinking it’s either unnecessary or picking up a dumbbell over 5 pounds will immediately turn them into Arnold Schwarzenegger.
(Sigh) No …
Though strength training sculpts muscle and builds physique, women simply do not have the levels of testosterone needed to “bulk” up like men do. Moreover, nowadays it would behoove a woman to be as physically strong as possible. I use to have some of my female clients stand in front of a Seated Row machine and push the row bar away from them, setting the weight at between 50 and 60 pounds. They asked me why I had them use the machine that way. I simply said, “Never underestimate the advantage of having the strength to push something heavy AWAY from you.”
Need further encouraging?
Try this … a strong woman is a capable, effective, confident and independent woman. Furthermore, a woman who strength trains two or three times a week is proven to lose fat; remember … muscle kicks up your metabolism and burns fat more efficiently. Up to 50 extra calories each day for every pound of muscle gained.
So be not afraid of the free weight side of the gym. Walk straight over there like you own it and get your lift on! And if you happen to be lifting as heavy as the dude at the next bench … maybe he’s just working out like a girl.