I’m honoured today to share a guest blog on “weight training for women” with you from Clare Rooney, a lady I first met almost four years ago on a training course in Ireland. Â I was blown away by her knowledge back then, and she has only continued to expand and build on that further in the passing years. Â My long time readers will be very aware that I am not always that bullish on the standards and quality control in the personal training industry, but it is without any hyperbole that I can say that if more trainers were like Clare we would all receive and deserve a hell of a lot more respect. Â She is proof positive that being highly knowledgeable wearing the broad based hat of the personal trainer is a very challenging and complicated mandate that requires energy, passion and commitment at all times. Â She embodies the dual qualities that very few have, but all need, by being both book learned as well as possessing the intimate gym knowledge that only comes with years of experience. Â She is very forthright in her views, which I love, so without further ado I present to you Clare Rooney’s views on personal training for females and why weight training for women is their best beauty prescription.
Why weight training for women is their best beauty prescription!
If you want to live a happy and healthy life and look good physically then the number one bang for you buck is without a doubt weight training!
In my estimation lifting weights in a structured and progressive way is the greatest gift that the western mind has contributed to global health. Weight training represents the yang to the oriental ying styles of training like yoga and chi gung. As a former high school chemistry teacher I like balanced equations so in my world ying + yang equals a complete equation. An equation that maximises your health, longevity and aesthetic prowess.
Many individuals think they have a well rounded program by doing yoga and going for a jog but this could not be further from the truth. You see the yang part of the equation for overall health and longevity is strength and power – the male energies. And this is not just my opinion. According to Hippocrates â€œThere are in fact two things, science and opinion, the former begets knowledge, the latter ignoranceâ€.
So in the pursuit of knowledge rather than the proliferation of ignorance letâ€™s look at the facts.
According to Tufts University, the two leading predictors of lifespan are:
1. How much lean body mass you maintain over the course of your lifetime.
2. How strong you are.
No exercise prescription in the world fits the bill more effectively than weight training.Â The greatest exponents of both muscle and strength among the athletic community are Bodybuilders, Olympic lifters, Power lifters and Strong man competitors and these guys and girls all lift weight exclusively for their respective disciplines.Â And before you ladies quake in your Jimmy Choos at the thoughts of becoming â€œtoo bulkyâ€ lets look at the facts. Women do not have the hormonal wherewithal to develop massive bulk! We have a tiny fraction of the sex hormone testosterone which is largely responsible for a man’s ability to get big and muscular. Â Weight training for women is a whole different equation.
Donâ€™t believe me? Then take a look at a picture of Canadian Olympic lifter Marilou Dozois from Canada. She came 10th in the world at the Beijing Olympics. At a strength training seminar at the Poliquin strength institute in Rhode Island I had the benefit of seeing Marilou in action. Funny enough the thing I noticed more than her amazing strength was her tiny waist. It was so small she would make Dita Von Tease look chunky! So much for weightlifting making you look blocky! She was so lean, toned and feminine that no one would guess that she trained on average twice a day lifting weights that would make most grown men cry!
Marilou Dozois-PrÃ©vost recently set a Canadian National record in the snatch with a lift of 87 kilos at a bodyweight of only 53 kilos. (116 lbs, just over 8 stone!!!)
So now that we have addressed the fear of looking manly lets look at some more amazing benefits of weight training for women. If anything weight training benefits women even more than men!
Fact: Weight training increases insulin sensitivity. Your food (blood sugar) has two choices in life. Go into your liver and muscle cells to be stored as glycogen or go into the fat cells making them even fatter (they have virtually an infinite capacity to expand). Now if you lift weight heavy and often enough the blood sugar gets shuttled into your muscle cells to recover from the hard training. Translationâ€¦..bye bye muffin top!
Fact: Weight training programs designed by a competent coach can get rid of saddle bags and thunder thighs. Weight training elicits a number of hormonal effects that are extremely beneficial for fat loss one of them being an anti estrogenic effect. You have to have a coach who knows how to design this type of work out. Look for a Poliquin certified coach, ideally this coach is also certified in biosignature modulation.
Fact: The closest thing you will get to the fountain of youth naturally is weight training. You see weight training at an appropriate intensity can generate massive amounts of growth hormone. This hormone tells the body â€œburn fat like crazyâ€. It also tells the body maintain and build some lean firm tissue (muscle). This hormone is fabulous for skin, hair and nails. Ladies and Gents who lift frequently invariably look years younger than their peers. Thatâ€™s growth hormone for ya! Gotta love it! How much growth hormone will you produce doing yoga, jogging or Pilates the answer respectively are 0%, 0% and 0%.
Fact: The BEST way to get rid of bingo wings is to lift heavy weights. This boosts your natural level of testosterone and you will get leaner in the arms. By the way this is accompanied by an increased sex drive and a profound increase in confidence. You see testosterone is the hormone of confidence and self belief. Thatâ€™s why most men invariably overestimate how good they look and most women underestimate how good they look.
Fact: The gimmicky training styles on offer these days are just that, gimmicks and they will not benefit your body in a holistic way. If a training system is intelligent it will do you good both inside and out. Lets for a moment look at a method that on paper looks good and will really appeal to many ladies until they get educated further. I could have picked a multitude but lets look at the Tracy Anderson Method. The focus is to develop â€œa teeny tiny dancerâ€™s bodyâ€. For anyone with an IQ above the level of a cretin the alarm bells should already be sounding. Being â€œteeny, tinyâ€ is neither healthy nor desirable. Why? In order to get â€œteeny, tiny â€œa phenomenon called atrophy has to occur. This is tissue wasting. In this case the tissue that is mostly wasting is muscle. Why would that be the case? Well Ms Anderson espouses a view that you need to do a large volume of repetitions, 50, 80 a hundred or even more per set! This is equivalent to doing a mini marathon in your muscle cells. When you do small repeated contractions in a muscle cell one of the things that eventually happens is a phenomenon called tissue necrosis or cell death. Just Google marathon runners and tissue necrosis and youâ€™ll get an eye full.
Guess Ms Anderson did not major in exercise physiology. Now if you waste that muscle you will get smaller but at a cost, decreased lifespan (see above from Tufts University) and increased risk of osteoporosis. You see strong powerful contractions of muscles on your joint and bone structure illicit an increase in bone density. Heavy weight training does this better than anything else.
Curiously one of the protÃ©gÃ©s of the method Gwyneth Paltrow was recently diagnosed with osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis).
So ladies just because you look good on the outside does not mean all is well on the inside if your system of training is not backed by science and sound principles of exercise physiology.
Weight training is the king of yang style exercise developing strength and power and creating positive hormonal effects; combine it with a ying style of training like yoga or stretching or chi gung or Pilates for flexibility and stability and to enhance recovery. Looking great on the outside, feeling good on the inside. Now thatâ€™s what I call a well rounded program.
This is Clare Rooney after strength training for 23 years lifting as heavy as possible on average 6 days a week, and an Irish national record holder in Olympic lifting.
I hope that you agree with me that Clare’s post has been excellent – erudite and highly informative! Â You can learn much more about Clare at her website ( www.ClareRooney.com ) or via her group Quantum Fitness on Facebook. If you are in the Galway area of Ireland you have my strongest advice to look Clare up if you want to get fitter, leaner and healthier.
Weight training for women can be a bit of a controversial subject. Â As ever, I welcome your comments, and if you have any experience with what you consider to be the perfect training modality for females then do let me know as the one thing that is true in this game is that there is always more than one way to skin a cat (as long as the cat isn’t doing circus tricks on a Bosu Ball!), so Iâ€™d be really grateful for any ideas or feedback you give in the comments section below as well as sharing on Facebook with the buttons to the left!Â Your support and input as ever is massively appreciated!