Lift Like a Girl

By Coach Mel

If you are a woman then you’ve been there… wondering how light to go and how many reps to do. Wondering if this sport will “bulk you up” or that sport will give you those lean legs you’ve been lusting after. Wondering if you should eat 8 minutes or 20 minutes after exercising. Haven’t been there? You sure? I have. We have all read countless articles on how to get lean how to tone up and not bulk up. Well I’m calling bullshit. I’m sick of it. I’ve fallen for it, I’ve watched others fall for it, and as a gym owner I hear the phrases from people’s mouths daily that prove to me that the majority of women have seen this stuff too many times and we start to believe it is true. This is one of the founding reasons why Kimberly and I opened POINT. To break these myths and to, as much as we can, let everyone who asks us know the truth. We toyed with opening an all Women’s gym but I think now that would have been wrong. It might have furthered the notion that men and women should be doing different things in the gym. And we whole-heartedly believe this to be false.

Our bodies are all different so to say that women WILL bulk up if you do it this way and WILL get lean if you do it that way is the most unscientific statement one can make in regards to exercise. The way my body will react to one thing is completely different than how the person’s body next to me will. I might not see muscle gains in the amount of time it takes the person next to me to see them. This is because we are not carbon copies of each other.

At the University of Alabama’s muscle research lab there was a study done in 2008 meant to look at “trainability vs. genes”. The study wanted to see about individual gene and cell differences and how they respond to weight training. Sixty six people of varying ages were put on a 4-month identical training program. All the people matched for effort level and what they could lift at the beginning of the study. When the study was complete three groups were realized. Those whose muscles grew 50%, 25%, or not at all. Identical training…three results. The difference between us is not how light of weight we use or how many reps we do to make us“lean” it is how many, what are called, “satellite cells” available in our muscle fibers waiting for us to activate them and start muscle growth. Whether or not this makes sense to you, I say it to prove that we have no real way of knowing what our bodies are going to do. So we need to stop trying to make them do what we want and let our bodies respond how they naturally will to exercise and we have to find a way to be happy with that.

Though literal physical responses will differ, a lot of things will be true for many. So here are some other reasons to weight train besides the want to look a certain way:

  1. You are the example – Be the woman that lets her body decide what it will do. Add that weight to the bar as you get stronger and be the woman who lets others see what a badass you are.
  2. If you are stronger you are healthier – I don’t mean if you look like you have a lot of muscles. I mean weight training has great health benefits beyond appearance. Like osteoporosis…don’t get that.
  3. Confidence - I haven’t met a female who couldn’t use more of this. There are always improvements and barriers to break physically and when you do your confidence sky rockets. Not a lot, in the gym, makes you feel more badass then when you throw that bar over your head for the first time. And then for the first time but heavier…
  4.  Blow off some steam – for a lot of people strength training is a great way to blow off the days frustrations and get some endorphins pumping. You’ll sleep better too…!

When we stop worrying about what our bodies are going to do and release a little control then I promise you will be stronger, you will be healthier, you will be more confident, and maybe, hopefully, you can recruit your friends to the ranks of strong, healthy, confident, women.