Can you believe that it is just about 2013 already? While everyone else is recapping their 2012 progress and setting up 2013 goals, I wanted to do something a little different and give a little guidance for those who are trying to set goals for the new year. From a lot of the bloggers that I follow, many focus on running or yoga, and always talk about wanting to put more strength building or weightlifting into their routine, but aren’t sure how to start. I wanted to share how I got started and share some tips that hopefully can guide you gals in the right place by providing some weightlifting tips for women. This may be a bit of a repeat for some who know my lifting history, but for the new readers, I wanted to share it again.
2012 was the first year that I ever wrapped my bare hands around a barbell, and honestly, I believe the first time I ever lifted a dumbbell. Other than using machines at the gym haphazardly moving 10lbs at a time, I did not understand anything about weightlifting; I thought only guys were supposed to do it, and really had no desire to lift anything other than a shopping bag. But then late January something changed. It all started with an article that Jared had sent me from Nerd Fitness. It was about Staci, the powerlifting superhero. While I was initially offended by the article as I thought he was trying to tell me (at 5’7″ and 119lbs) that I needed to lose weight, the main point was that girls SHOULD lift and you will become empowered and gain a whole new level of confidence that you did not have before. I became obsessed with her (in the least creepy way possible) and I wanted to look just like her “after” pic. Not the cardio-after, but the heavy lifting, super-girl after.
So after much Google searching about various programs designed for women, I ran across New Rules of Lifting for Women, and on January 26, 2012 the book was wirelessly delivered to my Kindle in an instant. I was intimidated, nervous, scared. But I read the book cover to cover and was eager to get into the gym. The book stresses that men and women’s workouts do not need to be any different, yet the book was tailored to women in a non-intimidating, fun manner. At the time, I had hired a personal trainer so had some sessions available in which he made me do crazy insane Crossfit-style workouts that I HATED. But once I started using my personal training sessions for assistance with NROLFW, my attitude changed. I didn’t need a personal trainer telling me what to do or what I should be doing. I cycled through FOUR trainers at the global gym trying to find one that understood that I was a girl and I wanted to lift HEAVY (men.. just didn’t get it!). I eventually gained the confidence I needed to learn to follow the book’s instructions, ditched the trainer, and found the NROLFW Facebook group which provided endless amounts of support.
Through the Facebook group, I discovered Mindi, and followed her journey through the program and was inspired even more (she went on to be a state record holding power-lifter!). You can see the progress from another lifter, Katie, who overcame an unhealthy way of dieting to become a strong, powerful woman. These women were not born athletes. They discovered the program that changed their lives for the better, and became empowered to want to do more for themselves, both in and out of the gym. I will admit that I did not finish the program exactly as intended; I skipped two stages, however, the foundation that this program gave me was amazing and I do not think I would have the confidence in the gym that I do now had it not been for the program. If it wasn’t for this program, I would never have been able to hit major milestones that I had, such as completing my first real pull-up!
While I am not saying that this book is for every girl.. wait.. yes, I am.. hehe. Honestly though, this book does more than just tell you what workouts to do; it details why you should workout this way, and how you should eat, any why eating MORE calories is actually better for you than not eating enough (even to lose weight!). But even if you don’t decide to do this program, I still want to provide the key take-away points that I got from the book that can help you if you are unsure how to bridge that gap between never picking up something more than 3lbs and learn to “lift like a man, look like a goddess.”
Weightlifting Tips for Women:
Do not be afraid.
I think the biggest concern that women have is mostly the intimidation factor. When I started lifting weights, I was just a little stick girl who would be knocked over by trying to squat a barbell. Now, I can squat more than my bodyweight and it feels amazing. There are women of all ages, all shapes, all sizes that make friends with the barbell and end up loving it! Conquer your fear; tell yourself that you can do it, and girl – just do it!
Ask for help.
While the book and other online programs may provide you with workouts and detailed explanations on how do to them, sometimes you need someone else’s advice to give you a little more confidence or an extra push. I had paid for a personal trainer (which was ridiculously expensive), but after the first few sessions, I knew that I was squatting properly, and knew the proper form on a deadlift. Even though I did not want to stick with a trainer full-time and break the bank, being able to have a solid foundation at light weights will help you as you move up in weight. If you do not have the funds to pay a trainer for a few sessions, see if they will give one session for free and cram all you want to know in that session! 😉
Since I just started Crossfit, I think that is another amazing introduction to lifting, and overcoming the fear and intimidation of scary lifts. The instructors are trained to teach functional fitness and the workouts can be scaled down to any fitness level, so you work from the bottom up.
If your budget does not allow formal training or Crossfit classes, find a friend, significant other, or even a fellow gym goer to watch your form as you do the lifts. There are also plenty of free online networks such as Fitocracy where you can find others doing similar programs or that have done similar workouts to compare notes, stories, etc.
Youtube is FULL of videos on how to properly execute certain lifts. If you are able, record yourself doing the movements so you can watch yourself. Many sites allow you to post your videos online and do “form checks” so others can critique your form, or even so you can see yourself perform various lifts. I love working out with a mirror, not because I enjoy checking myself out.. hehe.. but because form is so important when you start lifting heavy!
Read the book. Read more books. Read blogs. Read forums. Read all the things! Educate yourself on proper lift form and lifting techniques.
Find a Community.
Self-teaching can also open the doors for finding other resources or people interested in the same things as you. I have made huge connections on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, and also by connecting on Facebook with other women who lift. It is always refreshing to find like-minded women and those that you can throw ideas off of and compare notes.
In Crossfit, community is huge, and being able to have someone who “speaks the language” and can relate to your lifting is key to progressing further.
I started writing this post just to give some pointers on how to start lifting, but it turned into a slight tangent of my lifting history and a huge promotional ad for NROLFW, though they unfortunately have not endorsed this post in any way shape or form. The book seriously will not just change you physically, but it will change you mentally, and change your perception on women’s lifting. You will gain massive amounts of confidence and self-loving. 😉 (You can check out all of my phases here).
I hope that you at least found some useful information here and can add some heavy weights to your 2013 goals! If you want to check out the book, you can click on any of the links above or the links below for this book, plus others from the same author (including one new one that is supposed to be super awesome, and supercharged!).
Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for the review of this program, and I paid full price for the Kindle version of this book as well as the paperback version and the authors did not pay me to say positive things about this book, nor reimburse me for the book after my great review. However, if you click on any of the links above, you will be taken to my Amazon affiliate site, where I will earn a few pennies (literally, pennies) if you purchase the book.