Today I asked Joleen, of Joey Fitness, to take over the Blog and talk to us about Strength Training.
Joleen is a local certified AFAA, Spin, TRX, Barre, CPR trainer. She's on a mission to share what she has learned with clients of all shapes and sizes. A longtime exerciser, Joleen’s life changed when she started working with a personal trainer who taught her the importance of strength training. It changed parts of her body she thought were unchangeable!
I love the valuable perspective and information she's provided below on a balanced way to approach strength training.
Joleen....take it away.
When you think of the term strength training, odds are the image in your head is one of a muscle-bound man, perhaps even a professional athlete—a beefy linebacker, a toned runner, or even a bodybuilder whose hobby is comprised entirely of feats made possible by intense strength training.
Despite its reputation as a somewhat grueling (and particularly masculine) form of exercise intended only for those needing to use their strength competitively, strength training has health benefits that regular folks can’t get from other forms of exercise, like cardio.
It's important to know that it also has benefits specifically for women’s health.
In order to understand the benefits, let's look first at some of the misconceptions.
Women may have specific reservations concerning strength training. The most common misconception of weightlifting is that its' image is almost inextricably tied to that of the bodybuilder so bulky he can barely move. That image alone can deter anyone from taking up strength training.
Certainly a woman who isn’t a professional bodybuilder doesn’t want to look like one. Should you indeed want to take up powerlifting, the option exists, but there are other forms of strength training too. Some don’t involve weights at all, instead making use of elastic resistance bands . Women who engage in these forms of training already know the benefits, including those that aren’t visible.
The Benefits of Strength Training
- Strength training is important for improving bone density. This is especially necessary for women, as we naturally have thinner bones. After menopause, we lose estrogen, a hormone which, among other things, protects the bones .
- It also significantly lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, among other diseases, particularly in women . Strength training is the best, and often only way for us to access many health benefits.
- Strength in humans, and therefore strength training, goes beyond visible muscle mass. One study in primates, as reported by the New York Times, found that strength training has a physiological component .
Part of how we gain strength when we first begin training is, in fact, related more closely to the neural inputs to our muscles than to our muscles themselves. As the nerve centers that control our muscles are among the oldest in our bodies, the Times concludes from the study that strength is perhaps very central to human well-being 
The trick to appreciating the health benefits of weightlifting lies in tempering one’s expectations. If you go in wanting to see toned muscles after just a couple sessions—though you will eventual see visible results—you’re going to come away disappointed and de-motivated.
In today’s world, on top of the relative inaccessibility of strength training as a form of exercise to non-athletes, individuals wanting to begin training face a new obstacle in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gyms remain closed in many parts of the United States, and in those where gyms have reopened, a large sum of people—perhaps the majority—don’t quite feel comfortable returning.
Luckily, should you decide that now is the time to begin working towards the aforementioned health benefits, a number of options exist that will keep you in shape but out of the gym:
- In-home gym equipment, like weight benches, is available for purchase online, but should you may not want to commit that type of investment.
- Resistance bands will go a long way while not setting you back financially.
- If you think you’ll need some guidance while training, there are a number of free video courses available on YouTube and other platforms.
- For an experience more tailored to your individual needs, you might look into scheduling sessions with an in-home personal trainer.