At a time like this where there is so much going on that is out of our control it is so important for us to focus on our physical and mental wellbeing. As a fitness professional, I am so passionate about empowering people through fitness and love strength training and all the benefits that come from staying active.
Getting the body moving not only improves our health and fitness levels but also releases those feel good hormones endorphins which naturally boosts our mood. Ding a daily workout can also be the time you need to have a break and get some head space to help relieve stress or anxieties.
Fitness to me, in particular strength training is about feeling strong and empowered as opposed to focusing on aesthetics. How we look after ourselves now will have an impact later on in life. My moto is to live stronger for longer and do the things our bodies will thank us later for.
One of my mottos when it comes to fitness is to ‘focus on the feeling,’ It is easy to get wrapped up with how we look especially with social media today the pressures of looking ‘perfect.’ But conforming to the expectations of others can have a negative impact on our self-esteem. I am a true believer of encouraging body acceptance and confidence and doing the things that make us feel good. Feeling strong and seeing progress in training performance most definitely helps boost confidence. Physical and mental wellbeing work hand in hand, looking after one helps the other, but they are both equally important.
Strength training is an important part of looking after our overall fitness, our muscles enable us to improve physical function and range of movement which is so important especially as we age. There are many other benefits from strength training which can be backed by science, such as it improves blood pressure, increases bone density and muscle mass, helps prevent injuries, boosts our metabolic rate and supports cardiovascular fitness.
If you are looking for the motivation to include strength training as a regular part of your lifestyle my top tips are:
• It’s never too late to start. Never be put off by the length of a journey and feel you have too far to get to your goal. Starting today is better than not starting at all!
• Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, everyBODY is different, it’s your journey take it step by step at your pace.
• Be patient but consistent, enjoy the journey as appose to waiting for instant results.
• If self-motivation is a struggle, find a trainer or a workout buddy, this will help with accountability and motivation.
• Train smart, it’s important to train safe and if there is anything you are unsure of seek professional advice from a coach or trainer.
• Remember we are stronger than we think, believe in yourself, persevere and you will see just how much you can achieve.
Women and Weights
There have been many myths out there about women and weight training, one of the most common myths is that ‘Women who lift will get too bulky.’ It’s important to firstly understand that women do not have the same levels of testosterone as men so it is not scientifically possible to build muscle in the same way naturally. There is a misconception that women should lift light weights to get toned. There is only one way to get that tone which is to lift to your maximum capacity for a short period of time/low reps. To get lean and toned it requires getting strong, eating clean and staying active.
Another common thing that can be a struggle is women not feeling so confident to train in the free weights area of a gym because it can be intimidating. Now many of us are training in the comfort of our home but when the time comes don’t be put off by hitting the free weights zone. Here’s a few tips on building the confidence to use the free weights area in a gym.
• Remember everyone is too busy focusing on what they are doing in the gym so we needn’t worry about being judged for what we are doing.
• If we want to get results with our training, we have to make it happen, so don’t shy away. The people who are in the gym who may make you feel intimidated are busy getting their goals don’t let them stop you from getting yours!
• As mentioned before, a trainer or a gym buddy will be a great support to boost gym confidence.
• When we are new to something fear can hold us back but when we take that step and learn and get better we become more comfortable, so take that step you will be a gym pro before you know it.
• Progress is only made once we step out of that comfort zone and when we do great things happen!
STRONG IN THE MIND STRONG IN THE BODY
Written by Faye Edwards, fitness professional.