Women in the Weight Room

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Somehow, summer is already around the corner, which means the weather’s getting nicer, the days longer and our clothes smaller. Get ready for your feeds to be full of intense cardio workouts that guarantee “shredded abs by summer” or a “two-week total body tone-up .” News flash, ladies! The results won’t last.

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Anything that promises insane results in a short time frame is not sustainable. It’s not the healthy way to go about getting in shape. Meaning you can stick with it for those two weeks but once it’s over, your body will go right back to where you were before if don’t continue. Why’s that? Because consistency is key when it comes to exercise. Creating a workout schedule, completing specific movements to target specific muscles and a healthy diet are all the components you need to see results. You just have to stick with it for a couple of weeks and you’ll be surprised as to how quickly you might see physical results.

Weightlifting is an amazing way to get your exercise in without the grueling hours of cardio. The world of weight lifting can definitely seem intimidating, but it’s also full of some of the most dedicated people who all started somewhere. They lift not only to see results but also to feel good and push themselves. Any form of exercise for 30 minutes to an hour a day can be a time dedicated to yourself and some inner reflection.

Getting started can be the hardest part for some people, especially with the weight room being dominated by men. Some people call this feeling “gymtimidation,” which also includes the fear of working out around people who are in amazing shape. It’s important to remember that no one is looking at you as much as you think, they’re more zoned into their workout than they are judging you. If you’re experiencing gymtidation in the weight room, grab a friend to go with you to help you get comfortable with the equipment and environment. It really only takes doing it once to conquer that fear and get comfortable in this section of the gym.

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How Do I Get Started?

First things first — your workout structure and the number of times you workout per week should be based on your current fitness level. According to Healthline.com, research shows that lifting 2-3 times per week is just enough to see results in the beginning. Make sure to give your body some days to recover in between, but increase the frequency to fit your abilities.

The primary goal for a beginner in weightlifting should be perfecting your mind-muscle connection. For example, most people have a basic mind-muscle connection with their biceps and are able to flex them on command. As for building that connection elsewhere in your body, the best way to do so is to slow down the movement and picture the specific muscle contracting and relaxing through the motion. In fact, a study by the European Journal of Sport Science found that “Over 8 weeks of training, the internal focused group [those who pictured the muscle contracting in their body] experienced significantly more muscle mass growth,” than the focus group that focused on just completing the rep. After some time, you can increase the frequency and eventually create a “split.”

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A “split” is how you decide to divide your workout days by muscle group. A simple way to do this is having upper-body and lower-body dedicated days. In between those days, make sure to incorporate either a rest or cardio-focused day to give your body time recovery time. Once you’ve established a good mind-muscle connection with your split and you’re advanced, you can start dividing your workouts by specific muscle group such as back, chest, bicep, quads or glutes, as opposed to just upper and lower body.

Youtuber Shelley Darlington‘s “How to Start Weightlifting For Women” video has all the information you need to get started including how often to workout, how many reps and sets you should do and how to structure your own workout plan.


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