I will admit that I was a late convert to the world of strength training. I was often intimidated by the weights area and thought that group fitness classes and cardio were the answer to keeping me fit and in shape and that lifting weights was just for the men.
I had dabbled a little with some Functional Training classes, Circuit Training and Body Pump classes. However, any muscle I gained was quickly burnt off by all the daily running and aerobic exercise I was doing at the same time.
Like so many women, I didn’t realise the positive impact of strength training and the many benefits it could bring to my life as well as my body.
When you introduce it into your exercise routine you will see and feel the difference quickly by losing weight, gaining muscle and toning, improving your posture and sculpting your body the way you have always wanted.
The Major Benefits of Strength Training Include:
YOU will Lose Body Fat: The more lean muscle your body has, the more calories it burns.
YOU will be Physically Stronger: Weight Training increases strength and therefore everyday activities will become easier.
YOU will help Prevent Injury: The stronger we are the less chance of injury, because lifting weights strengthens your muscles and tendons. This is especially important as we get older because strengthening muscles around our joints is one of the best ways to prevent and recover from injury.
YOU will Reduce Health Risks: Strength training helps the body process sugar and therefore lessons the risk of developing Diabetes and other conditions. It also increases bone density, which helps prevent against osteoporosis.
YOU will look more toned: Strength training will improve your physical appearance by adding lean muscle more effectively than any other form of exercise.
Without any shadow of a doubt I can guarantee that your body and your entire well-being for that matter will change exponentially when you begin to incorporate regular strength sessions in with your much-loved daily cardio.
While you might be hesitant at first and be thinking that you will turn into the she-hulk, you will also discover that it is virtually impossible for a woman to do so as we don’t produce enough testosterone to warrant those kinds of results. So unless you’re eating enough to rival a family of seven or are knocking back hormone altering supplements, you don’t have to worry about gaining anything but great results.
Now… before you get all frazzled and think you have to hit the squat racks – just like cardio, strength training comes in many different forms.
- Body weight training (Push-ups, Dips, Planks)
- Resistance work (TRX bands, Cable Machines)
- Machine work (Leg press, Shoulder Press, Lat pull-down)
- Free weights (Kettle bell, Dumb bell, Medicine ball)
- An example of a weight training program to increase all-over muscle tone and growth is below:
- Monday: Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, Calves)
- Tuesday: Shoulders/Abs
- Wednesday: Chest/Biceps/Triceps
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Legs (Glute Focus)
- Saturday: Back/Abs
- Sunday: Rest
For each training day above, I recommend 4-5 exercises using 4 sets (one warm up and three working sets). I also suggest incorporating one rest day during the week to allow proper recovery. It can also be useful to train lower body twice a week and separate out muscle groups for optimal development.
Being fit and healthy in my opinion is one of the best things you can ever achieve.
We women need to remember that being fit and healthy is all about having a functional body that is strong enough to keep us in a good mental state, strong enough to fight off diseases and strong enough to do all the things us women do –as daughters, wives, mothers, employees, role models, boss’s and so on.
Strength training should be an essential component of our exercise regimes and we should not be embarrassed or intimidated to walk into the weights room. At the end of the day we train to be the best versions of ourselves and this is even easier with Planet Fitness’ judgement free philoshophy.
Written by Christal Stride
Personal Trainer at Planet Fitness Belmont