It might be difficult for women to overcome one or more fears- the fear of being hefty, the fear of male judgement, or the fear of not knowing how to lift- but those fears are infinitely surmountable.
The fact of the matter is, you’ve got to strength train.
Too often, the fear of becoming ‘bulky’ prevents women from engaging in strength sessions, similar to men.
A lack of strength training however, will not only impact your body composition but can also increase your risk of disease.
So what’s holding you back?
The most common scenarios include women avoiding barbells and other ‘men related’ weights, due to thinking they will end up looking like the veiny and over-pumped marshmallow staring at himself in the mirror.
The fear of ending up bulky, coupled with the thought of having these ‘marshmallows’ staring at you whilst you work out, doesn’t paint the best picture.
When we combine this with the human nature of steering away from anything that we aren’t fully competent in, this usually leads to pure avoidance.
However chances are these male-dominated gyms are usually correlated with self-orientated ego.
Put simply, these guys are probably more worried about looking at themselves, to even worry about what you’re doing.
Having studied Anatomy and Physiology of the human body and having spent the last nine years in gyms with hope of achieving just a skerrick of muscle mass, I can assure you- muscles do not develop as quickly as you think.
Whilst lifting weights won’t bulk you up, your muscles do have the potential to get bigger… but only to an extent.
Testosterone is the hormone primarily responsible for muscle gain, and women simply don’t have the required hormone balance to put on muscle mass in the ways men do.
Strength training that forces your muscles to build and repair can reduce your overall body fat by a large percentage in a short period of time.
As you build lean muscle, your body fat will rapidly decrease.
How? Your body uses energy from three systems. Carbs, Proteins and Fats which are broken down in the body to form ATP energy (Adenosine Triphosphate).
During your rest, which is the majority of your day if you’re a regular human, your body uses Fat as its predominant fuel source to power and recover the body. The more your body needs to recover. The more fat your body will use, but your body only needs to ‘repair’ after weights training, not cardio.
Yet, far too many of us still shy away from the weights room. Most women are influenced by the pursuit of obtaining the ideal body shape. They are willing to sculpt the body but there is a limit to the size of musculature that most women are wiling to build, as muscle, supposedly does not portray the ideal feminine form.
So, for women who fear the weights room, I have put together a sample strength session that will help you to understand strength training, and its fundamentals.
A strong body is a healthy body. A mind that conquers fears is a strong mind. So conquer your fears, and head into that weight room.
A ‘New to the Weight Room’ sample training session
Complete 5 rounds of the following movements with roughly 60-90 seconds rest between sets. Perform these at an intensity which leaves you roughly at a 7/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion).
- Air squats / Goblet squats / Barbell squats (depending on level)- Complete 6 reps of one of these, each rep should be 4 seconds down, 4 seconds pausing at your deepest level and then controlling the movement to the top.
- Push Ups (Toes, Box or Knees) – Complete between 6-10 reps (controlling the way down for 3 seconds and then exploding up)
- Pull Ups/ Ring Rows- Complete either 5 pull ups or 8 ring rows per set
- Deadlifts- Complete 5-8 Heavy deadlifts with a controlled down phase, squeezing your muscles to control the bar.