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Strength & Beauty: You Can Have BOTH

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It is a well known fact that our media portrays an unrealistic image of what the ideal woman is. We see it all the time on the cover of a magazine- the woman who is model thin. This image is in the least, an unrealistic one as most women can not physically sustain that type of weight…and for some it may be physically impossible. Being model thin depends on many things, one being a woman’s body type. And for some of us, that goal may not only be an impossibility, it is unhealthy. Thankfully, we are starting to see a shift in how women are viewing their bodies. The increasing interest in sports like CrossFit has put a spotlight what the ideal woman is: healthy as well as strong. More and more women are discovering that lifting heavy not only improves their health but also their self-confidence and the way they perceive their body.

There are many positive effects of a weightlifting program, especially for those who tend to suffer from negative body image. Strength training significantly improves one belief in body image, it can improve ones quality of life in regards to health, as well as developing a higher comfort level when participating in physical activity. Another positive effect that weightlifting is more well known for is that its ability to decrease body fat while at the same time building strong muscle. Many women are afraid of “bulking up” from participating in a weight training program but the truth is, we don’t produce enough testosterone to turn our female curves into manly bulk. Your genetics will only carry you so far.

Its important for a women to turn her focus towards the amazing feats that her body can accomplish when participating in the sport of weightlifting.

For some, making the decision to step into the weight room can be an intimidating one but due to the increased interest in varied training methods, women are becoming a regular addition to what used to be a male dominant arena. Its also important to note that with the right support and community (like you would find in a CrossFit gym), original goals can begin to shift. While losing weight is a nice side effect of lifting, many women who commit themselves to it, find over time that their motivation becomes to lifting heavier and becoming stronger rather than fitting into a smaller dress size. We need to place an increased value on strength, health, and personal achievement rather than arbitrary features like weight.

It is important to point out that the main reason women initially participate in any type of exercise is to lose weight, it should be noted that anyone beginning a weightlifting program may not initially see that loss.  In fact, it may be the opposite and that’s okay.  In order to become stronger, you have to build muscle, which means your may notice an increase in the number on the scale but wouldn’t you much rather have more muscle than bodyfat?

Think of the impact on mental toughness and emotional endurance a woman of strength can have. When you are strong on the outside, you feel as though you can conquer and accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Developing strength in the gym not only helps a woman  achieve their goals while they are in the gym, it also help them gain the confidence to conquer their lives out in the real world.