“I only go to the gym for the classes, I don’t know how to do anything else.”
“I know I should strength train…but I just don’t.”
“I really only like classes, I don’t like lifting.”
After talking with countless friends and hearing similar comments, I’ve gradually come to the realization that not every woman knows how, or even wants to know how, to do a proper strength training workout. As someone who has been lifting weights since 15 years old (albeit with a slight lapse in college…story for a later day), I think I’ve been taking for granted the ability/desire to venture into the weight room.
Starting from a young age, I was always active in sports. I started early with soccer, softball, and basketball when I was in elementary school then middle school, followed by field hockey, basketball, and softball in high school. Passionate about improving my performance, I also did additional strength training sessions at athletic training facilities that were roughly 90% male dominated. This was almost 15 years ago, and the “strong, not skinny!” mindset had yet to become popular with girls and women. Being surrounded by guys that I trained with and competed against meant that I very quickly developed confidence that allowed me to go into any gym, pick up weights, start working out, and not feel out of place in the slightest.
For a lot of women, the weight room of a gym is a place they avoid like the plague — and for good reason. If you go at a peak time during the day, you’re apt to find the stereotypical grunting, sweating, flexing dudes that give gym culture a bad name. BUT, if you know exactly what exercises you have on tap for the day via a well-thought out training plan, you’ll be able to stake out a spot in the weight room, crush your workout, and feel like a badass bitch! Or, get to the gym bright and early and you pretty much guarantee having the entire place to yourself. I’m in the 5:30AM crew at Crunch…right when they open! This ensures I can get in, warm-up, do work, and not have to wait around for the squat rack, a bench, dumbbells, etc.
Last November, after giving it some serious thought for over a year, I enrolled in the NASM CPT course and am now deep in the throes of studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer (set my exam date for May 6, eek!). I want to help women feel strong, empowered, and invincible…and I firmly believe that all of that can be achieved through serious strength training — meaning that it’s time to drop the 5 lb weights, and stop worrying that anything heavier than that will bulk you up. You know what lifting will do, though? Give you muscles that will make you feel strong and confident. Make you able to carry your own heavy suitcases. Make you able to lug groceries up your 3-floor walk-up. Make you do real push-ups. Make you look and feel strong, like someone who is not to be messed with (which in our society today is incredibly important). Make you feel like you’re capable of anything that you set your mind to.
For further reading on the power of women lifting weights, I strongly encourage you to check out this post that I absolutely loved: An open letter to everyone who has told women “Don’t get too muscular”.
I’m so excited at the prospect of having the proper credentials to assist people in leading healthier lives, and have so many ideas for the future. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for training guinea pigs, so NYC-based friends, get in touch! I’ll be getting small groups together this spring for freebie bootcamps to try new workouts out, get feedback, and practice training.
Life is too damn short to not feel as abso-freaking-lutely amazing as you possibly can every single day. If you don’t currently incorporate strength training into your workout routine, I cannot stress this enough: please make 2016 the year that you commit to getting strong. Not just what it can do for you physically, but for the immense mental benefit that you’ll enjoy as a result.