Do you want to get stronger, be happier and love the body you have?
Hit the weights girl! Weight training, whether you already do it or are considering starting is a great way to improve your fitness and reach your goals.
But how do you get started and what tips should you know to reap the best results?
I’ve got you covered.
Strength training is something I’ve grown to love over the past few years. It helps to clear my head, while I work on becoming stronger and healthier.
Since starting to lift weights at the gym, I have learnt a few tips along the way that may be useful for you too.
So here they are, 7 essential tips for the ladies who lift or want to start (from a woman who already does!)
1. Training weights won’t make you bulky
Now let’s clear this up, adding some weight training into your fitness regime isn’t going to make you big and masculine.
This is a common misconception that continues to weave its way into the female fitness world.
In fact, training weights, even heavy ones, won’t make women bulky. It’ll help grow muscle, blast fat and build feminine curves. What will make you big and bulky is munching on Maccas a little too often.
You may gain a little weight as you develop more muscle but when it comes to how you look, strength training can really transform your body.
The female body reacts very well to strength training. In fact, women can perform past exhaustion more easily than men, get less sore and recover faster!
Don’t be afraid to use heavier weights either. Ideally, you want to be able to get between 8 and 15 reps at most, but no more to ensure you’re in the lifting sweet spot that best facilitates muscular and strength development.
And never fear, females don’t have enough testosterone in the body to be able to build huge muscles like men, and without taking extra-curriculars you just won’t be physically able to. Here’s the proof!
2. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks
It’s only natural to feel a little intimidated at the gym when you first start out, we’ve all been there.
The best advice I can offer is to fake it till you make it. Walk into the gym with confidence and get your workout done.
Because most of the time when you feel as though people are staring at you with judging eyes, they’re really not. Generally, gym goers are only concerned with themselves and how good they look while working out (it’s true!).
So try that exercise you’ve been wanting to for ages, have a go at that machine or new HIIT session you’ve seen.
I’ve never felt more empowered than when I started hitting the real weights without caring what anyone else thought. Grab yourself a ‘It Ain’t Gonna Lift Itself’ Tee and enjoy your time at the gym.
3. Train chest
For the few first years of weight training, I barely ever trained chest as I didn’t see the importance of it. This caused me to become much weaker when it came to upper body exercises.
So, why should you train chest? Well, it’s a big muscle group and strengthening your chest translates to other upper body movements like pull ups, dips, military press and more. The development of your chest gives you functional strength which is invaluable for all other areas of training and overall strength.
Not to mention being able to push out some regular pushups, this is pretty cool in my opinion.
So, just because you have boobs doesn’t mean you can’t/shouldn’t train chest! In fact, you can naturally give your boobs a boost by building the muscle behind them!
4. Don’t forget your protein!
That’s right, upping your protein intake can help you build and maintain lean muscle, keep you fuller for longer and in turn, help you get stronger in the gym.
Not only is it important for growing muscle but also for muscle recovery. Adding a protein shake in after your workout can help with rebuilding and growing muscle and also prevents the worst delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) ever. Plus, it tastes really delicious, my pick is Lemonade Future Whey.
5. Take a rest day
To get stronger, grow muscle and let your body recover; you need to take some time out every week.
Believe it or not, your rest days are just as important as your lifting days as this is when your body actually builds muscle.
Often we tend to think that more exercise must be better, especially when we have a goal in mind, but that’s not necessarily the case. Taking a day off allows the body to recover, rest and grow. It means you can come back stronger and more ready than before and it’ll also helps prevent a burnout.
6. Eat and eat well
The best bit, FOOD! Nutrition is just as important as your training. Make sure you eat enough and what you do eat is good food that will nourish your body and give you the energy to do everything you want to do.
Believe it or not, not eating enough will be just as bad as eating too much. If you aren’t fueling your body with enough of the foods it needs you’ll notice lowered performance and energy as well as a decrease in recovery (those DOMS might hang around longer!).
You can still drop fat while eating a decent amount of food, just include salad, lots of veggies and protein in your diet and you’ll feel satisfied.
I’m not encouraging binge eating but so often girls begin weight training and don’t adjust their nutrition which leaves them seeing little to no results. You need to eat to grow, build muscle, burn fat and get stronger!
Overall I’d encourage you to not be scared of food. So long as you prioritise getting nutritious, clean foods into your body you’ll be on track to success.
7. Lift to improve your body, not to look like someone else
This sounds so cliché but it really is important. So many girls and women want to be this or that. The truth is that you have to embrace your own body and work on feeling good inside and out.
Every woman is different, train to improve how you feel and so you feel yourself getting stronger.
There you go! 7 tips for girls who lift. I hope they are useful for some of you and help you on your journey to a stronger and happier you as they’ve certainly helped me.
Weight training is very fulfilling, I’d encourage you to give it a go!