Weight training for women has loads of benefits. To learn a little more about them we asked six Stylist Strong trainers to talk us through their love of strength training.
Women have always been taught that youth and beauty are our most important commodities. Reduced to a one-dimensional idea of what feminine beauty looks like, to be female has historically been associated with being delicate and slim, while the prospect of a woman being physically strong has been touted as unattractive and a classically male.
But the tide is slowly turning, and we want to do everything within our power to support this changing perception of women’s bodies and the empowerment so many women are getting from embracing weight training to feel strong and confident.
“Strong is sexy” has been a phrase that’s been banded around more and more in recent years, while the amount of female weight lifters or weights-focused exercise enthusiasts has soared, particularly on platforms like Instagram where fitness influencers like Courtney Pruce (whose videos often show her deadlifting) have over 90k followers.
So now, in a first for women’s media in the UK, Stylist is launching its first ever fitness studio – with a focus on strength for the body and soul. Strength training is brilliant, but stepping into the spit and sawdust atmosphere of the weights room at the local gym can be incredibly daunting – which is why Stylist has announced the launch of a women’s fitness studio and brand, Stylist Strong.
The first Stylist Strong studio – a boutique fitness space, offering smart, class-based workouts – will open in London’s most exciting new members’ club, The AllBright Mayfair.
Aimed at busy women who are interested in building their physical and mental strength, the studio will host classes, events, talks and panel discussions on fitness and strength-training. Even more exciting, though, is its tailored programme created by Nike Global Master Trainer Joslyn Thompson Rule, which has been carefully designed to encourage and inspire women of all physical strengths.
We asked Thompson Rule and some of the personal trainers who will be working at Stylist Strong to speak to us about why strength training is so empowering, in a bid to encourage and inspire those who are thinking about trying it out.
Below you’ll find reflections from six female personal trainers on not only their own fitness journeys but on how the weight training game is changing and what it can do for women.
“There’s definitely preconceptions that strength training is just for men. But it can help you push your boundaries and push your limits, and do things that you didn’t think you could do.
What I would love to achieve is just empowering other women., and help any female that’s looking to get into strength training that is maybe a little bit nervous about it or not quite sure where to start.”
“One comment that set me off and regressed me was ‘Do you think a tubby trainer can be successful?’ But true strength is not a look. To me that’s empowering, because suddenly, as a woman you’re in charge.
Just take that first step because if you don’t try it, you’re never going to know what you can achieve. Find a group, find an environment that you’re comfortable in.
There is diversity in fitness. There are no boundaries to fitness. Strength training should be accessible to absolutely anybody, it doesn’t matter what your gender is, it doesn’t matter what your size is and it does not matter what your capability is.”
Joslyn Thompson Rule
“Embrace that ownership that you can have around what your body can do, rather than what it looks like is huge. We’re creating a space that’s going to make you feel very, very welcome and it’s not going to be an environment that’s intimidating.”
“If I could have a pound everytime someone’s like, I don’t want to pick up that weight because I might get bulky, I’d be really rich. We are kind of pigeonholed into sort of ‘slim and ‘beautiful,’ so it’s actually really important to get that weight training in.”
“When you look at something like Instagram, it seems to be this uniform idea of what a woman should look like or should want to look like. Certainly, when I started out, I lacked confidence as a PT because I didn’t feel I looked the way people would expect me to look.
But I’ve realised I still have my strength and it really has nothing to do with how I look. That’s really helped me find my feet and find my confidence.
In terms of physical gains it increases your bone density, which is actually more important for women than for men. As we become older, as we go through the menopause our bone density can drop.”
“Strong doesn’t have a size, it’s about how you feel. Being happy in your own skin and comparing yourself to yourself.
Strength training has a world of benefits. I want to help other women feel stronger than yesterday, and more empowered and ready to take on life.”