Throughout the past year we have had a lot of interest in our gym from women. They have however, almost without exception, all expressed the same concerns with regard to weight training. Girls don’t want to get ‘big’ or ‘bulky’, and are concerned that lifting weights may change their bodies in a negative way.

Firstly, we understand your concerns. Men in gyms all over the world try to get bigger and pack on more muscle, and how do they do this? By lifting heavy weights. You’ve seen your boyfriend, brother or guy friends glug down protein shakes and hit the bench press and bicep curls for hours on end, and you’ve seen them grow in size. It therefore seems logical to assume that by weightlifting you gain muscle, and you would be correct. This is why so many women choose to run, spin or do yoga instead.
Let us say first; putting on muscle is HARD. Men have testosterone coursing through their bodies, and its still hard. They eat six eggs, three fillets and drink three protein shakes everyday, while lifting weights four hours, and it’s still hard. Ask any guy you know who has tried to put on muscle, and he will tell you that it took hours of work and an incredibly strict diet overloaded with protein and quality carbs.
If you’re going to take the same approach, glugging down a bunch of carbs and eating competitively, its unlikely that you will become lean. But you won’t become bulky because you’re lifting weights. You’ll pick up weight because you’re eating too much. If you eat in accordance for what you want out of your diet and discipline yourself to accomplish the challenges we set you, you will not get big or bulky training with us. We can absolutely assure you of this. We have tested our training on a number of women, and the results were always the same – they added lean, toned muscle, while dropping fat.
Women are creatures with marvellous bodies that are a) adapted for endurance b) built for strength and c) responsive to change and challenge, so this is how our programmes are built. Much of our female training is aimed at keeping bodies light with muscle that’s adapted according to your goals.
There is this idea that models or women with good bodies are simply ‘born that way’. Research any professional who relies on their body for their income and you’ll see they train rigorously with weights. That curvy, toned Gisele figure? That’s a whole bunch of weight training, cardio and strategic programming right there.
Cardio work is great, and of course necessary, but if you want to develop a body that is both toned and strong too then weight training is the solution. When we refer to your body being strong, we are not referring to anything other than the increased ability for your muscles to move your body in a healthier, more balanced way. Many of the bodybuilders you reference in your mind when you worry about bulking up may have a lot of flesh on them but they are not necessarily strong, and conversely we have women with 16% body fat weighing in at 55kg who have more strength relative to their build and form. You will come to understand what we mean as you begin your own training.
An amazing thing happens when you start using your body the way it’s built to move – you become happier, ‘enlightened’ if you will, your attitude and outlook towards body and life improves, and your focus shifts from how you look to how you move. Performance goals are a sustainable way to train, versus the ‘I want to lose 5kgs’ approach, which is an uninspiring goal which is unlikely to keep you motivated much beyond a month if you are lucky. We encourage all who train with us to have a performance-related goal, be it training for a marathon or mastering a complex move in yoga or swimming a set distance.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us or come in and talk to us. We understand that what we are saying or offering may be new to some of you, and new things can often be overwhelming. You will, of course, work hard at our gym, but it will be a focused and healthy environment, with the best programming available, and controlled by coaches who will invest a great deal in your development.
Image: Nike

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