July 16

Women – Train for Strength!


This video is of a proud moment for me – achieving three bodyweight pull ups.
Have to allow myself a celebratory Woop woop! right here.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s taken me fricking ages to get there 🙂
Mainly due to inconsistent training, i.e. getting bored/fed up with the slow progress and doing other things instead.
But, the more advances I’ve made as a trainer, the more my eyes have been opened to the benefits of consistent strength training for women.
The vast majority of the clients I work with have fat loss as their number one goal, and my training methods for that have always been based around ‘metabolic training’ – using whole body exercises in a circuit based format.
This is a good method for many people to use, particularly if they enjoy that type of training or they have a large amount of weight to lose.
It’s the same method I used to keep myself in shape too, until just under a year ago when I joined the Performance Project. Since then, when I originally hired Nick as my own trainer, I have been following a progressive strength training program. This is based around 2-3 total body weights sessions per week – 3 sets of each exercise, resting in between sets, and focusing on lifting more weight or doing more repetitions over time.
I am stronger and more ‘toned’ now than I have ever been in my life and it is down to this type of training. I actually do less work in my training sessions because I properly rest between sets rather than doing circuits to burn calories. But this means I can allow my body to recover and focus on gaining strength and making continual improvements, which is a really fun thing to do.
I have built a good foundation of muscle without becoming bulky, and I LOVE the feeling of being strong. A lot of my female clients find that they really love this too. It’s a really empowering feeling. And it isn’t out of anybody’s reach. All it takes is consistency. And it’s the same consistency that will burn body fat and transform your physique.
Strength training – going heavy with weights and allowing yourself to rest between sets – can sometimes be a better tool for fat loss than circuit based training because it allows you to lift heavier and build muscle. This muscle gives you a toned, athletic appearance, and burns body fat for energy.
So ladies – you do not need to be afraid of training with weights! You will NOT become bulky and muscular – you simply don’t have the right hormones to create that much muscle. Men do have those hormones, they WANT to gain muscle and specifically train for it, and even they find it difficult!
I have to say one of the best things about having a bit of muscle is the increased metabolism – I can eat more food without gaining weight. Big win 🙂
I’ve also found that I burn fat quicker too.
Within 13 days of coming back from Belgium filled with chocolate and waffles, I’d lost 5lbs and seen a noticeable difference in my stomach (got photos to prove it). I’d had a good couple of months being relaxed with food and slowly gaining a few pounds, but once back from my trip I stuck to 1750 calories and carried on weights training 3 times per week. Two months of gradual weight gain (and 2 days of pretty fast additional weight gain) was pretty much undone in 13 days.
Being a massive foodie, it’s great to be able to have that freedom to go ‘off plan’ for a bit when I want to and know that I can very quickly get back to where I was before.
This is a far better way of doing things than the diet trap that many women fall into, of constantly trying to cut calories and worrying about the slightest bit of indulgence.
I was listening to a podcast the other day by a US trainer called Nia Shanks (Podcast is called Lift Like a Girl and it’s brilliant, would highly recommend -http://www.niashanks.com/podcast/ )
In the podcast Nia said something like the sentence below;
Flip the mindset of going to the gym so you can ‘burn calories and lose weight’ – see it as going to ‘get stronger and become more awesome’.
I love that.
Focus on being strong, improving your exercise technique, lifting a little more. Appreciate what an amazing piece of equipment your body is and how much it can do. Strive to get a little better every time you enter the gym. Doesn’t that sound more fun?


exercise, exercise for weight loss, fitness, goals, personal trainer, personal trainer haywards heath, weights training

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