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Women and Strength Training. Part 1.

Having a young daughter myself I hope this subject is a thing of the past by the time she has grown up. There are a lot of misconceptions with training and women. A lot of these have been proven to be wrong yet our culture and society refuse to let them go. This point was driven home to me while training a female client, when a young girl of around 12 walked past. She stopped to ask why she was training as she was already skinny. On the surface this seems innocent enough yet at an age when your views on life are starting to set, surely this is a time when a positive view on women and how they are represented in our society should be encouraged within our youth.
Before I get lost in a rant it’s probably best to get a few misconceptions cleared up. The first and probably one we have to deal with most with our clients is the misconception of women gaining large amounts of mass with any amount of weight training. I personally believe this is quite large a subject but not to bore the simple answer is no. Women in general do not have enough testosterone within the body to produce large amounts of muscle. Also women generally start with lower muscle mass than men and to maintain desired levels of body fat the more muscle you have the easier to maintain it.

point 2 ‘ I don’t want to be all stiff and lose my flexibility.’ This is an old misconception with strength training. Firstly to obtain full range of motion your body has to trust you can move comfortably throughout the range before it allows you to have it. So if your weak in the shoulder girdle and supporting rotary cuff muscles, dont exspect to be allowed full range of motion. If you’re not convinced that strength and flexibility go hand in hand try and see if you can get in to a full squat with your hands above your head. Now imagine there’s 100kg+ in ur hands just like Olympic lifter Julia Rohde.
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Point 3. ‘I just want to loose weight.’ This sentence is uttered far to often by men and women alike and is full of so many misconceptions. Muscle requires calories to work so the more muscle the more potential to burn fat. Also strength training breaks down muscle tissue which requires repair and development long after the training has finished. So effectively still burning the calories while you sleep. ‘Loosing weight’ in general is the wrong way to look at developing your self. A more positive outlook would be aiming for lowering bodyfat with a clean and nutritional diet and building yourself up with a good strength program to a stronger more mobile you. This is a big subject one which should be taken seriously from how we education our kids at school and the choices we give them outside too. Being a woman and strong doesn’t mean your butch or not feminine. It means your in control of your self and free from social/media limitations on who you are and the potential you have.