‘Strong is the new skinny’.
It’s amazing to finally see thousands of women sharing this mantra across the internet and getting out and picking up heavy weights.
This message shows that more women are waking up to their true potential, realising how good weight training can make you look and feel, and abandoning the damaging and unhealthy notion that you have to starve yourself skinny to fit some misguided body ideal.
Forget the Spice Girls, this is real ‘Girl Power’.
But ‘strong is the new skinny’ isn’t a new thing. This is a message and a movement UP have been championing long before the advent of the ten-a-penny Instagram bodybuilders and fitness models.
Ultimate Performance has been changing hearts and minds one woman at a time – not with catchy slogans, but with real results.
Myths like ‘weights make you bulky’ and ‘women shouldn’t lift heavy’ still persist, so there is still much work to be done to get the truth out.
But women are seeing what’s possible – not just the physical benefits like fat loss, muscle tone and optimum body composition that weight training brings – but mental strength, resilience, confidence and self-improvement in every sphere of life.
‘Bodybuilding-style’ training is now throwing off the shackles of its proto-masculine roots and it can only be a good thing for women everywhere.
Nick Mitchell explains where women actually excel with weights against men, and why UP is the natural home for women who want to learn the art of training and get outstanding physical results…
What are women’s most natural strengths in the gym?
Women won’t lift with their ego, so the control that is vital to correct weight training is almost always there.
On the flip side, effective resistance training is all about controlled aggression and conquering the fear of attacking the weights is the standard challenge with many untrained females.
Once they do overcome this fear it can be liberating and very often they are hooked on hard training!
Where do women beat men on performance in the gym?
For various physiological reasons, during properly-conducted weight training sessions (think fast, hard and done at pace for a metabolic effect) women will not gas to the same extent as men.
Women are the weaker sex when it comes to absolute poundage lifted, but the negatives stop there.
Very often a female is more body aware than a male, which means better coordination and the ability to pick up a new exercise much more quickly than her male counterpart.
What was the best female transformation you saw at UP?
This is going to sound like a feeble answer but there is no single “best” female transformation.
Every person has a different story and whilst we headline with dramatic weight loss results, there are so many uplifting stories of women who have found confidence in their own skin for the first time in their lives or improved their health to the extent that it’s enabled them to conceive after a decade of trying in vain.
Are you a feminist?
This is a dangerous question to answer! I believe that men and women are the same but different.
Equality of opportunity should be a fundamental tenet of how we are all treated, but to ignore the fact that there are differences between the sexes seems to me to be political correctness gone mad.
Our female trainers respond to a different managerial style than most of their male counterparts, and whilst all PT clients need to have an individualised approach, there are obvious patterns that work better with men than with women, and vice versa.
I think we should embrace and celebrate the differences and diversity between the sexes, and see no reason why in doing so there has to be a perceived judgement about who is better or worse.
Why should women train at UP?
For the exact same reason that men should train at UP – if they want to achieve maximum results in minimum time then we are the best trainers in the world for achieving that goal.
Are we the best at marketing that story to women? No, I don’t think we are. Our marketing and image has always been so heavily built up around me (remember, this was always going to be inevitable as I started the business as a one-man band) and my style, language and approach are very stereotypically masculine.
Weight training itself, that act of controlled aggression, is more traditionally male than many other forms of exercise, especially the perennial female-favourite of group classes; this has lead to some women incorrectly pigeonholing UP as a ‘bodybuilder gym’ or an intimidating place where women will not feel welcome.
We are steadily overcoming that misapprehension and I can hand-on-heart say that the reality of any UP gym has always been very different, with all the training team being very welcoming, non-judgmental and friendly.
What advice would you give to a woman thinking of contacting UP?
Check out our female client stories and videos and if the messages speak to you, then come in and see us.
I’ll always be the first to admit that we are not for everybody. If your idea of a gym is the spa at The Mandarin Oriental then we aren’t going to tick the right boxes for you. We are all about results, not promises.
What would you say to a woman embarking on a 12-week transformation programme?
You get out what you put in, so give it your all and be prepared for some life-changing moments to sneak up on you when you least expect them.