Thats right folks, you read the title right! “No woman should lift more than 3 pounds.” This pearl of wisdom came out of the mouth of Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer Tracey Anderson during an appearance on Oprah. (Ok before I get bombarded with questions about why I was watching Oprah I will include the usual excuses 1) I was flipping channels 2) someone else was watching it and I walked by)
The idea that women should stick to light weights and high reps isn’t a new one. Although there has been a recent radical shift in how women approach weight training many of the old ideas are still around. Every month I meet new trainers at my seminars and many of the women still think they should be lifting pink 2lbs dumbbells. I used to be shocked by how seemingly otherwise intelligent trainers could have this backward idea. How could these trainers be so rational in other areas and so off base on this. After I really thought about it I realized that this idea is not based in logic but rather in fear. What is the number one fear of women who pick up a weight?
“I DONT WANT TO LOOK LIKE A MAN”
Thats right, women don’t want to look like men. Well ladies have no fear because the truth is that its hard for most men to look like men and unless you are taking a trip to the pharmacy on the way to the gym you aren’t going to look like a man from lifting well.
If looking like a man is something women don’t want then what is it that they do want? Most of my clients and students will tell me they want to tone up, lose weight, feel great, get more energy, etc. Well the road to those things is paved with heavy weight. Yes, heavy weight. Not convinced? Ok, think about the three pound weight that trainer is recommending to you and the rest of the women out there and lets also think about things that weigh more than three pounds. Lets make a list, come on, it will be fun.
Things that weight more than 3 pounds
- Your kids! Thats right, your kids weigh more than 3 pounds. Oh, but wait. A celebrity fitness trainer said that women should never lift more than 3 pounds. I guess you better hire someone with a strong back to help you carry these little bundles of joy around all day.
- Your groceries! Oh wait, are you Vegan? Well all those veg will still add up to more than 3 pounds and if you have never broken the coveted 5 lbs threshold you will find it quite a challenge walking home from the grocery store.
Are you starting to get the idea? Life will routinely demands that you carry and move things that weigh more than 3 lbs. Being strong makes it easier to move through this world with style and grace. Do you want to struggle as you hold your kids or do you want to be a super mom carrying two kids, groceries, a stroller, kicking the front door open as you blast up stairs with everything and everyone in tow?
Reasons Women Should Lift Heavy Weights
- Weight lifting increases bone density. You can spend less time popping calcium supplements and more time with your hands on some weights having a fun workout.
- Muscle burns fat! If you want to burn fat you have to build some muscle.
- Life is easier when you are strong. At the end of the day you can have a body that collapses in a heap or one that can rise to the physical and mental challenges life places on it.
- Stronger core. Core, core, core, core and yes, core. Look at any gym marketing fitness classes to women and you will see this word used over and over again. Well ladies if you want a strong core there is a better way to get one than lying on the floor and pulling on your head. Lift something heavy over your head and squat! Thats right squat heavy and maintain that mid line and you will develop an incredible core.
- Its fun. Meeting and obstacle, struggling with it and overcoming it comes with a sense of accomplishment. The same can be said when we train with weights and hit a new record. As you get stronger you feel a sense of accomplishment and reward for your hard work.
Everyone should lift more than 3 lbs. Weight training should be a common practice for both men and women. Every day I open my Facebook and see photos of women with captions like “Strong is the new Skinny.” Strong may be the new skinny but is heavy really heavy? If you want to get strong, and want to look fit don’t fear the weights. Lifting heavy won’t make you look like a man. Lifting heavy will get you a butt so tight that you can crack a coconut off of it and a core that superman would envy.