Empowerment Through Iron: Women's Guide to Weight Training | HotelGyms.com Blog
03Jan 2024
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Empowerment Through Iron: Women's Guide to Weight Training

Weight training is an incredibly effective form of physical activity that brings physical and mental benefits. Sadly, some people may avoid any form of resistance exercise because of fear, biases, and myths.

To that end, this article will break down weight training for women, explore what makes it great, and review its benefits.

We will also review gym culture, inspirational female lifters, overcoming gym anxiety, and more.

Here is our comprehensive weight training guide for women to help you find empowerment, courage, and an elevation of your fitness, whatever that may look like for you.

Benefits of Weight Training for Women

Here is a list of impressive benefits women can enjoy from weight training that complement the benefits of cardio:

1. Promotes Strength and Endurance

Weight training builds strength and stamina, both of which are highly beneficial and make daily tasks far easier to carry out.

2. Boosts Bone Health

Just as resistance training strengthens our muscles, it also develops our bones, warding us from osteoporosis and all the associated consequences.

3. Supports Weight Loss

Weight training for women can help build muscle, which supports metabolism and assists with overall fitness goals. Additionally, providing a muscle stimulus allows one to maintain more lean tissue while dieting.

4. Improves Confidence

Weight training is not just physical; it is also mental. Forcing yourself to overcome the physical challenges before you build grit and discipline makes you feel better about yourself and boost your confidence.

5. Offers Mental Health Benefits

Regular physical activity is incredibly beneficial for our mental health. For example, in a study where 67 percent of the participants were females, the researchers found that regularly engaging in weight training significantly reduced depressive symptoms.

6. Improves Posture

Weight training strengthens the entire posterior chain - from the calves to the upper back - which positively impacts posture, allowing us to stay upright and avoid nagging aches associated with rolled shoulders and forward head posture.

Physical Considerations for Women

One key aspect of weight training to consider is that individual physiology can greatly influence our response to different exercises.

It is essential to remember that our bodies are unique, and our physiology differs from men's.

In the context of a weight training program for women, this may mean that some women can train slightly differently and enjoy some amazing benefits.

Research has indicated that some women may have a higher tolerance for training and quicker recovery times from high-volume training. This is thanks to having:

  • More slow-twitch muscle fibers
  • A unique hormonal profile
  • Superior muscle perfusion (blood supply) in the lower body

The result? We fatigue more slowly and can handle more high-rep sets on the squat, lunge, leg extension, hip thrust, etc. You can learn more about all of that in this article.

Based on our unique physiological attributes, many women might find it advantageous to focus more on higher-repetition workouts with lighter weights.

However, depending on individual goals and training approaches, incorporating heavy loads into a weight training plan can also be effective for women. And you can still build a lot of strength; look at athletes like Stefi Cohen or Katrin Davidsdottir.

You might find three movements beneficial:

  • Squats - we pick up the movement quite easily and can use it to build a strong lower body 
  • Hip thrusts - a fantastic movement to build an impressive posterior
  • Deadlifts - another great movement to target the posterior and improve your posture

Remember, what works best will depend on your individual goals and body.

Spotlight on inspiring Female Weightlifters

Weight training benefits many different types of sports, not just traditional weightlifting or bodybuilding.

We want to highlight a few female athletes, as they are wonderful role models for their achievements, dedication to fitness, and they embrace weight training and its benefits for women.

Tia-Clair Toomey

Tia Clair

She is the reigning fittest woman on earth, having won the CrossFit games an impressive six consecutive times from 2017 to 2022.

Her love for weightlifting began when she was preparing for the CrossFit games, and she has never looked back. Tia-Clair's workout regimen is intense and varied, often consisting of Olympic lifts, cardio, and gymnastics.

Stephanie Sanzo

Stephanie Sanzo

We can not go on without mentioning Stephanie Sanzo when discussing inspiring female weightlifters. She is a powerlifting mom who shares her journey on social media.

After having kids, she turned to lifting to build strength and can now move more weight than many, irrespective of gender. Stephanie focused on heavy compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and bench press to stay fit and improve.

Through social media, she shares her training insights and experience, inspiring not just mothers but all individuals who seek physical fitness and mental strength.

Sophie van Oostenbrugge

Sophie van Oostenbrugge

Many people reach a stage (or several stages) in their lives where they feel the call for transformation. This was precisely the situation Sophie found herself in a few years back.

Feeling stuck and in need of an outlet, she made a choice to set aside a portion of her day for gym visits, focusing her attention on personal well-being.

She soon discovered that fitness does more than enhance physical strength - it boosts mental resilience too. These days, her objective is to inspire others to embrace this transformative experience. The journey of cultivating discipline, nurturing the habit of self-challenge, and constantly pushing personal boundaries.

Ernestine Shepherd

Ernestine Shepherd

Feel like it is too late to start working out? In that case, Ernestine Shepherd's story can be the inspiration you need. She began lifting weights in her mid-fifties and was declared the world's oldest bodybuilder at age 77 in 2012.

At well over 80, she is living proof that it's never too late to start and that leading an active lifestyle is incredibly valuable. Ernestine's routine includes lots of running, weight training, and a protein-rich, 1700-calorie diet plan.

Jonica Bullock

Jonica Bullock

Jonica inspires with her mission of "bettering myself helping others do the same." She had been doing a lot of cardio for years, preparing for a marathon, but primarily to lose weight.

Also, due to the pressure from society, celebrating women who are getting smaller and thinner. After reading about the positive effects of strength training for females, she has completely changed how she trains.

One crucial asset in this transformation from cardio to weightlifting was using the Fitbod app. Using this fitness app was helping her to advance her workout routine.

Furthermore, she has been becoming a full time personal trainer to help others find their own passion for lifting, a leading and inspiring Fitbod Community member and co-hosting "built" the Fitbod Podcast. You can also listen to her fitness journey in a recent episode.

Bonus: Caroline Tangitau

Feel you have unique challenges that might prevent you from lifting weights? Caroline's story will inspire you otherwise.

This outstanding athlete embraced her individuality and used her intellectual disability as a source of strength. Competing in the Special Olympics 2023 in Berlin, she was part of a 39-strong Kiwi team that stood out among athletes from 190 countries.

Winning silver in the squat, bench press, and deadlift categories, Caroline proves that being different is not a limitation but an opportunity. Every time she stood on the podium, she felt excited and proud.

She says, "My coach always tells me to be big and be strong," and she lives that mantra daily.

Overcoming Gym Anxiety

Gym anxiety can be a real problem; if you feel it, know that you are not alone. Many people worry about making mistakes or being judged by others. These feelings are valid and understandable.

But remember, a well-structured exercise program from an app like Fitbod can give you a solid plan of action, reducing uncertainty and giving you confidence. Their high-quality videos and written instructions can further support you in your journey.

It is also important to remember that most gym-goers are focused on their workouts, not judging others. If you are still feeling anxious, consider another option: hotel gyms.

These are great because fewer people are generally there, so the fear of judgment is virtually non-existent. Even if there is someone at the gym, people are generally traveling, and you are unlikely ever to see them again.

Navigating the Gym Environment: Do's and Don'ts for All

The gym can be difficult to navigate sometimes because of the etiquette, culture, and many unwritten rules. So, let us look at some do's and don'ts from a woman's perspective:

DO seek a supportive gym buddy who you feel comfortable around. The right person can keep you accountable, motivate you, and help you during workouts.

DON'T compare yourself to others. Remember to honor your unique journey. Everyone has a unique starting point and measures progress differently. Celebrate your own victories, big or small.

DO trust your strength. You have just as much of a right to be at the gym, do your best, and see results.

DON'T feel obligated to take anyone's advice. People might sometimes walk up and offer wisdom - be it helpful or not - but taking it to heart is not mandatory. Say thanks and move on with your own training.

DO what feels comfortable. There is no single 'best' way to start training and no must-do activities.

DON'T be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Feel free to reach out if you need a spot on the squat or some help figuring out a gym machine. Folks at the gym are much more helpful than most people imagine.

DO use smart helpers. Fitness apps are invaluable tools that can support our journey and help us eat and train better.

Weight training for a healthy Bond and a healthy Mind

There you have it: We have journeyed through the world of weight training for women to understand the excellent benefits of lifting even if you are a beginner, how our training should differ from that of men, how to overcome gym anxiety, and the common do's and don'ts.

Remember: Weight training is not just about building muscle and strength but also about building up your confidence. It is about empowering yourself, breaking through barriers, and not limiting yourself.

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