Categorized as: Strength

#StrongWomenKickButt Part II

In my last post I talked about:

If your workout goals are health and aesthetics, and you are one of those women who spends all
your gym time on cardio machines but are still not happy with the way you look or feel (“But I
do 40 mins on the elliptical every day! Why can’t I get to that next dress size?)

Getting Started with Strength Coaching and Multi-Joint Movements

The first thing to do is to PLEASE — hook up with a reputable strength coach. This is important,
as you don’t want to embark on a new strength routine without appropriate supervision.
Injuries occur with the uneducated. But do it right and you’ll be thrilled with your results.

Lifting heavy weights – progressing gradually from learning correct movement patterns – with
proper multi-joint movements just two or three times a week will help you achieve tremendous
gains (and NOT in bulk!). Squats, lunges, dead-lifts and pull-ups are all powerful exercises that
work several muscle groups at once. I promise you’ll see results. And what’s great about these
movements is that, these workouts don’t have to be more than 30-40 minutes. It’s the perfect
solution for a busy day when your competing priorities prevent you from spending too much
time at the gym.

Woman Lift

Photo Credit:

Organizing Your Schedule

Don’t have time to add to your current routine? Reduce your cardio workouts, and spend the
leftover time lifting. Your body will appreciate it and your stress hormones, like cortisol, which
are probably high from all that cardio and under-eating you do, will normalize allowing your
body to burn more fat instead of storing it. Your cardio can only take you so far and adding more
can actually permanently lower your metabolic rate. I bet you never thought reducing cardio to
a couple of days a week of easy workout or walking 30-40 minutes a day would HELP you
achieve your goals.

Don’t believe me? Renowned strength coach Jim Laird has built a whole gym around strength
training and power lifting for women in Lexington, Kentucky. Jim says clients who train this way

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased appearance of muscle tone
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Decreased aches and pains
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Improved energy levels
  • Improved mood
  • Improved quality of movement
  • Reduction in medications needed for management of pain and/or diabetes, blood
    pressure, etc.

Sounds pretty good, right? You too can have these results. If you do it right, after just a few
weeks you will see a huge difference in the way you look and feel.

Don’t worry about what the scale says. It should never be your barometer for health. Pay
attention to what you see in the mirror, how your clothes fit differently, and how much energy
you have. And as a bonus, you’ll definitely get a kick out of seeing others in the gym (men
included) stare at you in amazement.

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#StrongWomenKickButt Part 1

Have you ever noticed a dichotomy between the sexes when it comes to activities in the gym?
It’s something I have noticed for years, but have never really understood. Go to any gym around
the world and you will notice the same split: women bouncing from treadmill to elliptical,
sometimes for up to an hour, and men congregating around the dumbbells. Yes, these are
stereotypes, but they are based on truth. And while I appreciate not having to wait in line since I
spend the majority of my gym time at the squat rack, I find the reality of what this split says
about women’s fitness to be quite troubling.

Nothing to Fear

Women clients tell me they fear lifting. “I don’t want to get big and bulky,” they say. “That’s not
attractive.” What they don’t realize is that lifting weights won’t turn them into gigantic
meatheads. NOT lifting weights is compromising the results they’re actually looking for. My
guess is that the idea of becoming bulky from weightlifting comes from the way weightlifters are
portrayed in the media.

Yes, you can certainly turn into one of those bulky, oily, competitive body builders if you train
with that goal in mind. But, if your goal is to get lean, look healthy, feel healthy and develop a
functional strength that creates benefits at all ages (not to mention that most would agree
strong is very sexy), then strength training is for you.

As a general rule, women won’t get bulky unless they take muscle-mass-building supplements.
Your strength-enhancing hormone levels, such as testosterone, are significantly lower than
those of men. And while lifting heavy weights for strength will help you maintain or raise your
testosterone levels, it will do so to normal levels which can help with energy, sex drive, and
building strength. Not so terrible, right?

Woman Lifting

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Also, the presence and baseline levels of a protein called myostatin in women (and men) make it
very hard to become what most would consider “bulky.” Myostatin at normal levels inhibits
muscle growth. Yes, as in everything in life, there are outliers – people who can easily build bulk.
But chances are you are not one of them. So fear not growing “Arnold” muscles and start to
build strength.

Have I convinced you now? In my next post I’ll talk about how you can get started. So stay

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