The new year spurs many of us to make fitness related resolutions or goals, and it also brings the magazine and internet articles advising women how to “get the body you want.” You know what I’m talking about…”get toned” by doing lots of reps of very low weights. I hear some celebrity fitness trainers are going so far as to instruct women never to lift more than 3-5 pounds.
Ladies, that is simply hogwash. Furthermore, it is insulting. We all routinely lift more than 3-5 pounds every day of our lives. For example, here is a sampling of things I have lifted or carried in the past week: cast iron skillet (~10 lbs not including food), bag of dog food (35 lb), box of handouts for a speaking engagement (~20 lb), bags of groceries (~10-15 lbs each), bag of water softener salt (40 lb). I think you get the idea. Our bodies are amazing and strong, and don’t you ever let some nitwit tell you otherwise just because she has made a bunch of money helping some waifishly thin actress “get fit.”
Too harsh? I admit it, I am passionate about this stuff. I’m not saying every woman should lift heavy weights. Some of you may have injuries or mobility issues, or maybe you just don’t want to lift heavy. But any trainer who makes general statements that women can’t or shouldn’t ever lift heavy is irresponsibly reinforcing stereotypes that prevent many women from reaping the benefits of weight training. The most common reason I hear women give for not weight training is the fear that they will get big and bulky, and the last thing we need is trainers reinforcing that fear.
Let me be clear. Unless you are 1) a genetic anomaly, 2) lifting big and eating big like it is your job, or 3) taking anabolic steroids, lifting weights is not going to make you big and bulky. Women’s bodies simply do not produce enough testosterone to make that happen. Yes, there are women who lift competitively or take part in figure competitions who may be what you consider bulky, but they did not get that way accidentally or easily. They got that way through very purposeful hard work and dedication. Hell, most men don’t get big and buff without a phenomenal amount of work, and they produce a lot more testosterone than we do.
What weight training will do for you is increase metabolism and help you lose body fat, decrease your risk of osteoporosis, increase your strength and self-confidence, and fight depression. It has also been shown to reduce risk of injury, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. And let’s face it, it just feels awesome, and who couldn’t use a little more awesome in their life?
Still not convinced? That’s okay, a lot of people have spent a lot of time telling you that if you pick up a heavy barbell you will leave the gym looking like the Incredible Hulk. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out this photo of Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan, whose fitness regimen includes — you guessed it — weight training.
Now check out some of our own awesome women of QuantumFit. All of these women are getting stronger every day and loving it! I have been training since 2009 and coaching for about a year now. Not only do I feel (and look) better than ever, but I also love working out with the amazing women who come through our doors. If you haven’t been in to give it a try, what are you waiting for? Come join us and find your awesome!