An Inside Look: Women’s Fitness at Capital Strength

What’s the Best Way For Women to Lose Weight or Get in Shape?

Most people will instantly think jogging or training for a 5k.  Or, maybe browse Amazon for an at-home yoga DVD.  Some may say join a diet program like Weight Watchers, going to spin class twice a week or mixing up workouts from different fitness magazines. These are just some things our clients tried before coming to us.  Strength training was often a distant thought, but now it’s the secret to their success!

We understand that choosing a training program or picking a gym can be a tough decision!

Here’s an inside look into the experiences and achievements of a few of our dedicated clients.  They all have a wide range of goals, different backgrounds and struggles with training, but they all found a place in the community here at Capital Strength.  Regardless of where you are, or how daunting your goals seem, having a strong network of support makes staying consistent and getting results a lot easier!

Getting Your Foot in the Door

For many of us trying to get started on our fitness journeys, just taking that first step can be the hardest.  When you don’t know what to expect and what it will be like, procrastination is easy!  Client Andrea can certainly relate.  When I asked her about why she was considering personal training, she explained how it had been something she’d been thinking about for a long time:

“[Training was] something that had interested me for a couple of years. I don’t enjoy doing classes and I’m not a natural athlete. I thought it might be a better solution to a healthy body, since I’m pretty terrible at running.”

As far as why it took so long to get started?  In addition to an impending wedding in May, she talked about a few of the fears she had to overcome:

“I was hoping that someone could work with me… so don’t feel like a dork in the gym – I tend to get on a machine and just use it because I don’t want to try anything and look stupid. My biggest fear was the normal hating the exercise – like it’s a chore – like all other times I go to the gym.”

 With the encouragement of her fiance, Andrea signed up and quickly discovered something surprising – she enjoyed working out!

“Instead I found it exhilarating, which a total surprise for me. I had no idea that I could do some of these things and with instruction from the trainer and lots of practice I am getting somewhere.”

A common fear from many members – even ones that are very fit today – was that they weren’t ready for the gym.  While a handful clients arrive with some athletic background under their belts, more come with no training experience at all!

One of our most tenacious and hardest-working clients, Susan, had never stepped in a gym in her life.  But after sitting and talking with a trainer about her background, goals, and even her hesitations for joining, Susan realized that fitness belongs to everyone – not just the already-fit! 

“For as long as I can remember I’ve been  fascinated by fitness training success stories. I saw firsthand the difference training made in several friends. I always had “reasons” why it wouldn’t work for me: weight, age and physical condition. Later on I realized the reasons I used for not starting a training program were exactly why I SHOULD: weight, age and physical condition.

Susan3&4
Susan performing one of her favorite exercises – the TRX Row

 

 

 

Susan’s achievements so far may seem basic for many of us, but for her they’re huge!  Since doing a regular training program she can:

      •      Sit in and out of chairs with ease
      •      Walk up stairs and step up curbs without pain 
      •      Increased range of motion in her knees
      •      Improved balance in walking and standing
      •      Pick up 85 pounds from the ground!
      •      Lost over 80 pounds while improving strength

 

 

 

 

 

It isn’t always easy…

Many members have busy careers and families they have to plan around to get in their training.  Others, like Anita have injuries or conditions that limit what kinds of movements they can do.  Anita is awaiting surgery for both of her wrists, which can’t support much weight and have very limited range of motion.  Despite her limitation, she comes in twice a week for strength training:

“It has helped to have a very resourceful trainer and have the exercises modified for me. I think with a good resourceful trainer, and determination, you can work around your injury.”

Most exercises can be adjusted to all levels.  To strengthen Anita’s upper body, she straps bands around her forearms to press and pull.  Her lower body is strong and needs weight to make exercises a challenge.  Because her wrists can’t hold much, she uses a weighted vest to make step ups more challenging!

Susan has arthritic knees that make doing a squat or a deadlift with any weight very difficult.  As well, it makes getting up and down off the floor a big hassle.  But that doesn’t stop her!  Her deadlifts are modified to be done with straight legs, and she can push a heavy sled with no pain to strengthen all of her leg muscles.

Bess, a busy paralegal, is one of our most consistent and frequent clients.  You can spot her most evenings in our Metabolic Boot Camp classes, making her fitness a priority.  When asked how she manages to dedicate time so consistently to her health, she replied:

“You make time! there are no excuses, you just make it a priority and find time.”

Casey had similar remarks when we asked her how she makes the time:

Casey working on 1-leg squats

 

 

 

“Getting in shape and staying fit isn’t easy.  If it was, everyone would do it and keep up with it! There are days I have to drag myself to the gym, but I still do it because I have never regretted it once I got there.  There are days I want to eat nothing but fried food, but I don’t because I know I’ll feel better if I stick to the healthy stuff.  There are sacrifices and it takes a lot of dedication, but to me it has and always will be worth it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

…But it’s Worth It!

While many clients come in with a goal of getting leaner, they often find some surprising benefits along the way.  Andrea re-discovered her athletic side:

“I am really surprised with how far I have come in a short amount of time. Since college, I think I have underestimated my athletic abilities and totally focused on my education and career.  The training is reminding me about how strong I used to be in high school. I actually look forward to my sessions and the fun I have challenging my body.

Anita, Ahmed and their two young boys enjoying their first snow.  Strong enough to sled all day with them!
Anita, Ahmed and their two young boys enjoying their first snow. Fit enough to sled all day with them!

And despite her wrist injuries, Anita has fun during her sessions by training with her husband, Ahmed.

“…my main motivation and encouragement has been coming with Ahmed to the class,”

she said.  When I asked about her previous experiences with exercise, she added,

“I noticed all the times I gave up on going to trainings, I have either been either by myself, or by a “meh” partners (friends who were as “unmotivated” as I was!) Having a partner, especially a fun, encouraging one makes all the difference. Ahmed has been my great companion and encourager. I have loads of fun while training with him— just don’t mention it to him!”

Danielle, a busy project manager and mother to young kids, finds that exercise actually gives her back more time and productivity than it takes away.  (Not to mention resistance training plays to her natural strength – being strong!)

“Training makes me feel good. I eat better, I sleep better, I work better. It helps me relieve stress. Exercise helps the body holistically.”

Other clients have noticed a better mind-body connection when they strength train, frequently discovering muscles they didn’t know they had!  Increased confidence, both in the gym and outside of it is one other sneaky side-effect of building a strong, fit body.  But what if you have other goals?

Danielle doing work on some push-ups!
Danielle doing work on some push-ups!

Being strong outside of the gym

Erin is the kind of girl that does it all – she strength trains, runs marathons (with some shorter races thrown into the mix) and is a regular soccer player!  I asked her how strength training in the gym affected her performance in endurance races and field sports:

Strength training enables me to sprint the last .2 of a marathon, every single time. That being said, a lot of it is about balance. As long as putting on muscle doesn’t put on too much extra weight, you’re only going to get faster, but the lighter you are the less you have to move around, which can make a huge distance especially over a long race.”

There are definitely pros and cons to putting on muscle when trying to stay competitive in long-distance races.  But when it comes to how she feels after a race, she said:

“Overall though, despite the fatigued muscles, strength training helps me a lot, especially in regards to recovery. I used to be completely useless after a race, and now I am able to play a couple of soccer games on the same day, not a problem… I have quite a few friends who started running the same time I did, and do not strength train. Almost all of them have had an injury of some sort which required them to take time off or stop running altogether…I’ve been running long distances for about 7 years now, and am still injury free.

From my own personal experiences, I knew that strength training made me twice the sprinter I was before I’d ever touched a weight.  So while I imagined I already knew the answer, I asked Erin if she felt strength affected her game on the soccer field,

Ha you should ask all of those guys I run circles around in my coed league. I’ve always been quick, but my sprinting has definitely improved, especially since I started training at Capital Strength. I’m able to make runs all game, and I don’t mean sloppy half-assed runs, I mean sprinting all over the field. It’s too bad the rest of my team doesn’t come hang out with you guys.”

Sports aren’t the only reason to get serious about your strength.  Susan has seen drastic changes in her ability to perform daily activities by working with weights and getting stronger.  She talked to me about how her life had changed outside of our facility:

“Walking is easier, my balance has improved, my stamina has increased. Before I began training, shopping was difficult. My legs, knees and back would ache after about thirty minutes. I would be ever vigilant for someplace to sit. I have sat on display tables, counters, furniture displays. I would even go to the restroom just to be able to sit down. This past Christmas I was amazed at the difference. I could shop for hours and not hurt.

Before fitness training curbs were very hard to navigate. Some were actually impossible to step up on without losing my balance. Now I can confidently conquer curbs! Because my leg muscles are stronger I can sit or stand from low pieces of furniture”

What’s holding you back?

So if you’ve been thinking about getting some help with your fitness journey, what are some of the reasons you’re waiting?  These ladies had tons of encouragement for anyone who thought fitness or strength might not be for them:

“Be open minded when you go and just go with it – don’t think too much. Make sure your personalities click and you are comfortable talking and working with the person,”

said Andrea, who admitted to me she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to do any of the workouts when she started.

“Be prepared to schedule it into your week and commit to doing it for a month. Realize it’s for your long term health and worth the investment.”

Our Bootcamp classes love having new members join in – Bess offered up these words of encouragement:

“Try it! Don’t be afraid. Everyone here will help you and will motivate you to succeed. Your success will be their success.

One of the biggest fears of many women coming through our doors – and tons of women everywhere looking to get strong – is a fear of becoming muscular or losing a feminine frame.  Others feel that the environment of a strength & conditioning facility might not be for them.  Erin had some great responses to address those concerns:

What noodle arms?!
What noodle arms?!

“For starters, I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as big and muscular!  I have noodle arms, and I will probably always have noodle arms, despite how many horrific curls and tricep exercises I perform. So are you going to immediately put on 20 pounds and lose all femininity by lifting weights? Absolutely not.

What you are going to do is have an awesome time, working out with incredibly qualified trainers and a group of people who inspire you on a daily basis. I freaking love going to the gym, and not just any gym, Capital. You wouldn’t see me this excited to go work out in my apartment complex.

So, if you’re looking to get in great shape and be challenged on a daily basis, don’t be nervous about a training facility like Capital. It may not have all those random machines or ellipticals that go on for miles like you’d see at your normal gym, but you won’t need those. You won’t need machines to tell you how to lift correctly because you’ll have an experienced trainer critiquing your form, and making sure that every rep is as perfect as it can be.

When you have someone telling you exactly what to do and how to do it, what’s there to be intimidated about?

And Danielle closed out with one of my favorite quotes about women’s fitness:

The myth that women shouldn’t lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear work and men who fear women!

Ready to get started?

If you’re ready to join these amazing ladies and work on your health, strength and fitness, give us a call and get started! Or click here to request your free consultation and assessment workout!

(919) 200-0348

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