We all know that body-building is not just for boys. Women have – for some time now – been using weights to sculpt and tone their muscles: Marilyn Monroe famously maintained her iconic figure using strength training. But did you know that lifting barbells and dumbbells can also burn fat, improve fitness and completely transform your body shape?
We chat to three Third Space experts about the benefits of weight training.
1. Tim Joseph, head of personal training at Third Space Canary Wharf, gives his top tips for those starting out and why you should consider using a PT
Seek advice: There are many different variables with strength training, which can be a little bewildering if you are new to it. A personal trainer can shed light on how many sets you should be doing, with how many reps, or which body parts to train on which days.
Tailor-made drills: The exercises themselves need to be really specific to you. It depends on your movement quality and the overall balance of your body. Getting this right will significantly reduce injury risk because strengthening areas that are already strong, whilst neglecting weaknesses. is a hidden injury pitfall. Your PT will do all the thinking with regards to this, and keep it varied and progressive for you.
Spot-on technique: You need ensure you are working the right muscles, and that you are not putting your body in dangerous lifting positions. Your PT will be constantly spotting technique and, where appropriate, will cue you into correct movement patterns. This is essential when it comes to avoiding injury.
2. Steph Whitehead, a regular competitor on the X-training circuit and a personal trainer at Third Space, reveals why her clients have become addicted to cross functional training
Inspiration: Social media sites such as Instagram have acted as eye-openers for women who in the past just did cardio in order to lose weight. They see images of very toned women lifting weights and they are inspired to give it a go. Cross functional training has become much more accessible as a result: using weights and strength exercises, your body doesn’t plateau because the workouts are always different.
Build tone not bulk: My clients have found that lifting weights can be one of the most effective ways to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass: it is not about looking manly.
Once women realise that weight training isn’t going to make them look like a body builder, they become hooked.
Strength = power: I train lots of women now who love weight training and want to feel strong. That feeling of being physically tough can be very empowering for a woman. Plus the endorphins you release doing this type of exercise can be a good way of relieving stress.
3. Juliana Conci-Mitchell, a personal trainer at Third Space and expert on body composition, lists her top reasons to start pumping iron:
Bikini body: I lost years on the treadmill and cross trainer in pursuit of a perkier bottom and a thinner waist. Eventually I learnt that diet will dictate your size but training will dictate your shape. For a lean body with sexy curves in all the right places you need a combination of the two. By doing resistance training while in a calorie deficit you will maximise your fat loss while minimising muscle loss – the end result being all the right curves in the right places.
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis: Because of our wonderful (and sometimes misunderstood) hormones, us ladies are at a higher risk of osteoporosis as we get older. By the time you reach adulthood, your bone density is at its peak and will just deteriorate from there. This puts elderly women at higher risk of fractures and injuries. Resistance training has been linked to not only increasing the strength of your muscles, but also your bones. It will improve your bone density, no matter when you start training.
Low-impact, high results: There is little-to-no impact when lifting weights, which makes it safer for people of all ages. By strengthening muscles, bones and connective tissue, weight training will improve balance and coordination making it less likely that you’ll fall and break or strain a body part.
Strong minds:A study from Harvard Medical School shows that as little as 10 weeks of resistance training can reduce clinical depression more effectively than standard counselling. The one thing I never thought about when I started my weight training journey was the sociological change. As the weights increased I felt a lot more confident and sure of myself. So what are you waiting for? Get lifting!