It’s great to see that in the last few years that women taking part in weight training is not bizarre or new and is a common part of gym training with more women getting involved every month.5 Even better than just getting into weight training, more women want to get stronger! The misplaced belief that you’ll get huge by lifting weights is slowly being destroyed and women are being empowered by iron. The trend of girls training for “fat loss and toning” has been replaced by that of performing big lifts and getting more weight on the bar, both which hold great benefits for females. Whilst focusing on the big lifts like Squat, Deadlift and bench press there are many other ways to get stronger from bodyweight to kettlebells or suspension training. Your reps can be high reps to low, just make sure your intensity is always getting pushed! Don’t be afraid of getting ‘big and bulky’! Women do not, and cannot, naturally produce as much testosterone (one of the main hormones responsible for increasing muscle size) as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass by merely touching some weights. Female bodybuilders who look really bulky? Of course they do! They eat, train, and take “supplements” specifically so they can look like that! When you pick up heavy things, your muscles get STRONGER (not necessarily bigger). If you stuff yourself full of TESTOSTERONE and eat MORE CALORIES than you are burning every day, you will get BIGGER. 4 There are also many reasons for focusing on strength training and while I could write a novel on the subject I’m going to focus on 5 points in particular for today.

Firstly as you get older (it happens to us every day) you will start to lose muscle mass. Studies show that we lose ½ to 1 percent of our lean muscle mass each year and that this can start as early as our thirties (f@*k!) Muscle strength can also decline by 12 to 15 percent per decade. Luckily we can avoid this part of the aging process by regular weight training and health eating (if you’re not sure what this is I’ll add some tips in a bit). So forget all those expensive creams, your new ANTI AGING routine should include lifting!

Another benefit of Strength training, it will make you physically stronger (kinda in the name!). It can also help you become mentally stronger and confident to boot. This can often be due to the simple fact that as you become stronger you become less dependent on others for daily tasks you normally need help with, Empowerment by lifting! 3

Not only can your mental toughness improve, but strength training has been known to reduce clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counseling. Through studies relating to depression, over a period of 10 weeks subjects who had trained were in a better frame of mind than the subjects in the control group who did not. So get your 12 week programme together and feel the benefit physically and emotionally!

You can also improve your fitness by hoisting weight. No longer need you run endlessly on the treadmill to improve your fitness levels. Weight training improves your fitness levels, executive functions and memory performance. High intensity, short rest weight training has been shown to improve cardio vascular health along with strength. So if applied properly your strength training programme will simultaneously engage both the muscular system and the cardiovascular system, double whammy!

If your improving your muscular system and developing a better ratio of lean muscle throughout your body, your body will burn through calories more effectively. So YES, lifting weights will help you to battle and BURN FAT! Your type II muscle fibres (the kind you build when you lift weights) improve whole-body metabolism, an increase in these muscle fibres can reduce body fat without changes to diet and might be effective in the fight against obesity. That said following some of the tips below will help you get that result quicker.

6

• GET ENOUGH CALORIES – Eat enough to support your activity levels but not promote bodyfat (keeping a food diary will help you judge this over the coming weeks) • BIN refined sugars completely (fruit is cool but sweets are not) • DONT FEAR CARBS (but eat the RIGHT kinds) • FATS ARE NOT THE ENEMY (just avoid the trans-fats) • ENJOY LEAN PROTEINS (Chicken, turkey, fish or some beef cuts) • Make sure you drink PLENTY OF WATER (more in hot weather or on training days) • EAT REAL FOOD – supplements are a good addition but they are SUPPLEMENTS! If you haven’t got a healthy balanced diet in place forget them for now. • SHOP THE PERIMETER – By keeping to the outer aisles of the supermarket your food choices are more likely to be whole and healthy and less processed. 1 So to sum up lifting weights can give you a STRONGER body, TOUGHER mind, make you FITTER, LEANER and make you feel ALIVE!

Just make sure that you train specific to your needs and ability.  Not sure what that is? Well, have a think of what you want to achieve and get in touch for a consultation. Ensure you’re on a path to progress and NOT destruction!

Good luck, and LIFT HEAVY, INTENSE and EAT WELL!

Euan MacNeil

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