It’s time to lift — lift well, lift heavy and lift often. With the help of some strong Bendigo women, one coach is working to dispel the myths surrounding women and weight.

By Arj Perera – Head Coach – The Human Mechanics

Unfortunately, in an industry which enjoys the reach and influence such as our health and fitness industry, too many mixed and often incorrect messages are sent to cater for those only keen on participating in the latest ‘fad’.
Often each ‘fad’ program — be it diet, training or lifestyle — is around for a short time until it’s replaced by the next ‘fad’. However, these all still have a profound impact on the consumer.
Unlike most, one which has stuck around for far too long in this coach’s opinion is the notion of “skinny is sexy”; that women who want to be healthy need to simply focus on shrinking more and more in order to gain the approval of the community and to achieve the goal everyone wants.
It is a double-edged sword as not only do people, in particular our younger demographic, get sucked into boarding the skinny train, they are force-fed the notion that lifting weights of any kind will make them look manly and therefore undesirable. Mind you, this idea was disproven about the same time it came about. Yet, many women still believe it.
Being skinny should not be confused with improving your body composition. These are two completely different ideas.
The first simply focuses on reducing overall bodyweight which often includes muscle wastage, as well as reduced performance and function. The second focuses on maintaining or improving the amount of lean muscle on the body whilst reducing body fat, thereby improving function and performance as well as aesthetics.
In my opinion, and one which is echoed by many elite coaches in the industry, this view on the body for both men and women needs to change now. Being skinny doesn’t prepare your body for the rigours of life; it doesn’t allow you to perform better in sports; it doesn’t prepare the body for the demands of pregnancy; and it definitely doesn’t help the body function properly for the demands of a long and busy life. How do we fix this problem which is creating sub-par bodies?
You need to lift ladies. Lift well, lift heavy and lift often.
Sure, HIIT (high intensity interval training) has definite benefits and will give most that cardio buzz —  just make sure you’re doing the requisite strength work to have a well rounded body.
Thankfully, to help me in the quest of leading coaches from around the world, I was able to enlist the help of some amazing local women who share this philosophy. The reason why I asked them to participate is to prove what really happens when women dedicate the larger portion and sometimes all of their training focus to learning and implementing lifting techniques.