Weight Training for Women
This month our therapist Amanda Burnett discusses the importance of weight training for women
“Anyone who knows me knows that I love to stay fit and strong, and for a long time I thought (as a lot of women do) that the way to do that was spend hours at classes jumping around or on a treadmill. I thought it was the best way to burn calories and work on stamina.
I had kept hearing from various sources that weight training was the better way forward. But to me the whole idea was intimidating – especially when looking over at the very male-dominated free weights section of my gym, populated by enormous guys grunting and lifting huge dumb bells (sorry guys). It made me cringe!!
Little did I know…
The turning point for me came during a period of ill health; I started having severe pains at certain points in my cycle, accompanied by various other symptoms.
I have always tried to listen to my body and it was certaintly not happy about something!
I stepped back and assessed my lifestyle and activities. Was I doing something that was aggravating my hormonal balance? What did I need to change?
At this point I was doing about five intense cardio workouts per week, which was putting incredible stress on my adrenals and certainly not helping my situation. Whilst researching various things I started reading more and more about the potential downsides of too much cardio training, one of which was adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance.
Our adrenal glands are designed to deal with short bursts of intense stress, not extended periods of chronic stress, which is exactly what I was subjecting them to on a regular basis.
What was I going to do? I certainly didn’t want to let my fitness slide but what was the alternative?
Enter the dawn of the weight training phase of my life…
After the speaking to one of the instructors from my gym at the time, I had a programme of free weights exercises made up for me. She took me through each one, making sure my form and technique were good (this is exceptionally important for weights to avoid injury!). After one session I was utterly amazed at how different I felt in my body: it had been challenged in a completely different way, and in a way that it definitely loved!
Over 18 months later I’m happy to report that I’m still going strong (no pun intended)! I have just arrived home from my first personal training session at my new gym, where I was lifting weights on the big bar, and if you’d told me a couple of years ago I would have been doing that I would have laughed!
Weights have helped me feel stronger both physically and mentally, improved my hormonal balance, sleep better, have a stronger back, be more resilient to general stress. And most surprisingly the focus needed to maintain correct form whilst working out is actually quite meditative!
So ladies: don’t hold back, speak to a trainer who can give you advice and steer you in the right direction. You’ll be glad you did!”