Why strength training is good for women

This is a guest blog post written by Carly Rowena, a personal trainer and fitness blogger who shares regular fitness tips and workouts with 50,000 subscribers via her YouTube channel.

Before I became a Personal Trainer, I shared the same opinion as a large proportion of the female population and believed that using weights would leave me Photo of Carly Rowenalooking like a female bodybuilder or a man by the end of the month. I used to be all about cardio; running on the treadmill, pounding the X-trainer and pretending I was doing the Tour De France on the bikes. I was what I would call ‘Skinny Fat’ – no definition, no juicy muscle, just skinny.

I always watched the guys in the weights area of the gym groaning away and, although I hated the faces and loud moans they made, I loved the look of being strong and defined. Too nervous to take on the weights on my own, I started with a pump class and never looked back. There is something incredibly alluring and powerful about weights; it makes a woman feel independent, strong and sexy as hell.

That was over 3 years ago; I’m now a fully qualified Personal Trainer and owe my physique 100% to weights. The first question every client asks me whether it’s on my YouTube channel or in person is ‘Will I get bulky?’ My reply is always the same, ‘Do I look bulky?’, and their answer is always ‘No.’

The best way to conquer the stereotype is to fully explain the benefits of Strength or Hypertrophy training. Most of my clients come to me wanting to lose weight and tone up, yet within 3 weeks of training, their goals have changed to getting visible muscle definition & complete an unassisted pull-up.

Top 3 Benefits of Strength Training for Women

  • Lose Body Fat: Forget the scales; I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, but also the smallest. As your lean muscle increases so do your resting metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day, burning calories even after your workout.
  • Goodbye Arthritis, Back Pain, Heart Disease, Diabetes & Osteoporosis: Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modelling) by 13 percent in six months. Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Weight training can also increase glucose utilization (improving the way the body processes sugar) which can reduce the risk of Diabetes.
  • Beat Depression: I have several clients and friends who are battling with depression, these women all now do strength training and often tell me that they feel more confident and capable day to day as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression. Cardio plays a big role in combating Depression, a run outside in the fresh air for most is better than counselling, clears the head & gives a feeling of release.

The reason why most women are yet to pick up a weight is confidence. Gym weights zones are traditionally a very male orientated area where nipples poke from tiny vests, loud grunting is heard and stares put people off. My biggest advice, get your female clients in the weight zone. Feeling powerful, sexy and confident, they’ll never go back.

To hear more from Carly, follow her on Twitter @CarlyRowena or on Google+ at +CarlyRowenaFitness. We’d also recommend looking at her blog and YouTube channel.

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