Gender roles in the gym – ladies are found downstairs on the ellipticals, treadmills or StairMasters. Gentlemen are upstairs lifting the weights. We have socially created this concept of strength training being a male-only exercise. I mean, we reference pushups on the knees as “Girl Pushups.” Women count the minutes on the machines and we stay trending with the latest detoxes, recipes, and weight loss gimmicks. But why is having muscle masculine? Let me tell you — muscles and mascara are possible.
Let’s set the record straight that “naturally” women don’t produce enough testosterone to bulk and gain the amount of muscle that the Incredible Hulk has. As a professional natural bodybuilder and NASM Master Trainer, I speak from experience when I say that strength training benefits are extremely important for females. Even with the most basic strength movements the female body can and will change: you will lose body fat, decrease the risk of osteoporosis, reduce the risk of injuries, help alleviate arthritis and joint pain, release positive endorphins, and reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes. So what’s your counter argument??
Time and age are important factors. We want to be STRONG women, mothers, and grandmothers. Daily living tasks only get more challenging when balance, motor skill level and neuromuscular efficiency decrease as we grow older. I love seeing clients progress from five pounds to 8s, to 10s to 12s and so on. We fit chicks need to walk up those stairs at the gym and get to work. We don’t have to grunt or slam down the dumbbells…. No, we can turn heads by knowing what we are doing and sticking to good form. Sets and repetitions will vary depending on your goals.
So often I hear from clients at their initial consultation that they want to get stronger but not “bulky” or huge. Then two weeks later after they work with me they say, “Okay, I want arms like yours!” So game on. Old habits die hard and I have to convince gals through their progress measurements that riding that cardio machine for 45 minutes every day wasn’t achieving that lean, toned look they aspire for. Rather, the body burns through carbohydrates then it burns through fat and then it burns through muscle. Those cardio queens are actually being counter-productive because most women aren’t macro-nutrient sound in their eating to avoid this. Trust me, I used to zone out on that Elliptical for at least an hour until the calorie burned counter read what I wanted to see. But now, I get my heart rate up via strength training. So save time and multitask like we women do so well and strength train for your cardio.
Wait, what was that counter argument again? Be a STRONG queen. Now go grab some weights.