Our Bodies and Fitness

I am hugely passionate about getting women into the gym to start weight resistance training and become strong and confident. For years there has been a focus on cardio and becoming slimmer versions of ourselves. And whilst someone may have a goal to lose body fat and tone up, slogging away on the treadmill or stairmaster is not the answer! Whilst there are numerous health benefits of cardiovascular training, weight resistance training is extremely important for so many reasons. I want women to get women lifting weights and feeling good about themselves!
 
Why should I lift weights?

  • Resistance training is shown to increase strength and muscle mass. This will be beneficial for overall functional fitness by enhancing muscular endurance, flexibility, and balance. This can improve performance in activities of daily living, such as carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or playing with children.
  • Weight training puts stress on the bones, which stimulates the production of new bone tissue. This can help prevent osteoporosis and improve bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and injuries.
  • Enhanced metabolism: Weight training increases muscle mass, which in turn increases the body’s metabolic rate. This can make weight management easier in conjunction with other lifestyle elements.
  • Injury prevention: Strengthening muscles and connective tissues through weight training can help prevent injuries by providing better support and stability to joints. This is particularly important for us as we get older to protect us.
  • Mental health benefits: At a time where it can feel like you’ve lost control and you feel a lack of confidence due to your body changing. You can take back control be working on yourself, finding a positive pursuit that will help both physically and mentally, working on you for you. Weight training has been shown to have positive effects on mental health by reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. It can also boost self-confidence and improve body image.
  • Long-term health benefits: Regular weight training has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. It can also help manage existing conditions like arthritis and back pain.

How can menopause affect our bodies and fitness?

Many women report weight gain and a noticeable change in their appearance round their middle. This is usually for a number of reasons and is not solely down to the changes in hormones alone. It is a complex issue and a woman will experience many changes during this period of time from peri-menopause all the way through to post-menopause. This will include a drop is hormone levels which plays a part in the functions within our body, how it uses and stores energy and also our metabolism. But it can also lead to feeling lost, forgetful, anxious or depressed, lacking purpose and energy in day to day life. All of these things may make you feel like you’re losing control of your body. And as a result, your lifestyle may change. You could be less active due to feeling low and may eat more or change eating habits as a coping mechanism. Beyond the menopause itself, as we age those hormone changes continue to have a lasting effect. This coupled with changes that happen in our bodies during old age, can have a very negative impact on our health, risk of injury and mortality.

One of the biggest issues in old age is Sarcopenia, this is the gradual loss of muscle mass and strength. So it is very important to get ahead of the game, start weight resistance training as soon as you can! Regain control of your body and lifestyle!


Starting a programme at the gym – hints and tips

When embarking on any exercise programme, it’s important to make sure you are safe to do so. Any existing injuries or medical conditions need to be addressed by a health professional.
Whilst there is plenty of information out there, it is important to set a good foundation of movement and learn proper technique to minimise risk of injury. I would always recommend getting guidance and support from a Personal Trainer when beginning a weight resistance programme. Working 1-1 with someone is going to give you tailored help and advice to get you started. The gym environment can feel intimidating and I have worked with plenty of women who have either never set foot in a gym or always dashed straight for a treadmill! The best thing you can do is have someone there, literally, to go through everything with you. Have a plan and something to follow so you’re not going in and flitting from machine to machine not knowing why structure and consistency is important. When I work with clients, I also look at your lifestyle as a whole. Whilst the gym and weight training is very important, it is this combined with your diet, activities, essentially everything else in your life that will add up to making the biggest difference, whatever your goal is.

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I will offer a free session 1-1 in the first month to people that sign up to work with me at PureGym West Bridgford. (minimum of three month term)

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Gemma Francis

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