More women are embracing the physical and mental benefits of weight training.
Photo: Antonio Balaguer Soler / 123rf.com
Cardio bunnies, weightlifting is in.
Pop darling Ellie Goulding strength trains with weights, Jessica Biel (Justin Timberlake’s hot actress wife!) lifts weights, and Daisy Ridley - Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens - can dead lift like a pro.
Judging from the increase in the numbers hitting the free weights and barbells, as well as joining in the many strength and conditioning classes here, women in Singapore are embracing the trend as well.
While Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding training are more specific and target niche groups, women are increasingly adding aspects of such training to their regular regime.
Wendy Cho, fitness development manager at True Fitness, says: “Up until about six years ago, one out of 30 or 40 would do resistance training. These days, four or five out of 10 women are into it.”
Vanessa Koh, a Pure Fitness personal trainer, shares: “On average, we have seen double the number of females doing weights compared to the year before. Lifting weights helps to transform a woman's figure in ways that cardio can't."
Her colleague, powerlifter and Pure Yoga instructor Kiki Tan, adds: "It [the trend] is likely a result of more exposure to the benefits of weight training, both at the gym and also through social media. Social media provides access to information and support, inspiration and motivation from athletes and professional trainers from all over the world.”
Experts have agreed for some time now that weight and strength training, especially when combined with a balanced cardio routine, is a super effective way to lose weight and get fit and sculpted.
Grit Gym trainer Gene Leong says: "The increase in high-level female athletes also helps. This is especially so in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world where world class athletes, such as Ronda Rousey, show that they can have an incredible level of physical performance and be physically attractive at the same time."
Weight training will not bulk you up
Previously, it was thought that women should not be training with weights as they would “bulk up”. That myth has since been dispelled, Kiki says.
“Strength training builds more lean tissue, which increases one’s metabolic rate (the amount of energy expended while at rest) and leads to weight loss.
"Lean tissue also promotes the longevity of such muscles as the heart and reduces chances of disease and injury as we age. So, depending on your goals, any movement will do you good, but strength training is essential to living longer and healthier."
Wendy adds: “Weight training also gives women sexy arms, tight glutes, shapely calves and a flat stomach. Plus, the more muscle mass you carry, the more calories you burn even when you're at rest. You'll even improve your bone density as strength or weight training can help fight off osteoporosis."
Despite these benefits, Gene says the increase in women signing up for resistance training isn't dramatic.
“There needs to be a lot more education as there are still many misconceptions about resistance or weight training. However, the fact that women are now willing to give it a shot is a big step forward!”