Pump it up, girls!
Body pump, weightlifting, barbells…if you are looking forward to reading about this, this article is probably not for you. If those words made you cringe, this article is most likely for you!
Before you go on reading, I want you to picture a woman who regularly does weightlifting related sports.
I bet you thought of someone who looked like this:
What I am trying with this blogpost is to dispel exactly that image of weightlfifting gym classes, in particular the Pump It Up class at the University of Stirling Sports unit. And this is me by the way, I have been doing Body Pump for more than seven years now and aim to become a Les Mills instructor after I have finished my studies at Stirling University.
What on earth is Pump It Up?!
If you have never done a weightlifting class before, anything that Google spits out for you will seem scary, I am not even gonna lie. The booklet of the university’s gym, however, describes the class as “suitable for all” and a workout “to strenghthen the entire body”. From my own experience I fully agree with this description. Whether you are a sports beginner or sports expert, you will find what you are looking for in the Pump It Up class. As you work with a barbell and weight plates, it is totally up to you how heavy the weight that you are going to lift will be. Grab small plates and hand weights, if you do it for the first time and find out which weight is suitable for you over time. Don’t be ashamed for light weights, everybody started small!
You never heard of Pump It Up before because…
…Stirling’s own Pump It Up borrows most of the workout from Body Pump. Body Pump is an international fitness program invented by the four-time Olympic athlete Les Mills from New Zealand. The workouts are designed to train your legs, pecs, back, triceps, biceps, glutes, shoulders and abs, preceded by a warm up and finished with a stretching track in an hour. The program changes every two to three months, but it is always the same procedure in general. Once you know it, you know it forever. Just the combination of exercises and the music will change to keep it from getting boring.
Understood, but no thanks – I still don’t want to become bulky!
Ever since I have started doing that kind of workouts, I have come across many girls who are reluctant to begin the program for that reason. And it is not only me, who can’t wrap her mind around this misconception of how you get a bulky and masculine body from lifting weights. Because this is not what it does! In fact, weightlifting has many health benefits which range from giving your body an increased stability, over making your bones denser, to decreasing your risk of heart attacks and generally improve your overall health. And as a woman, you are not very likely to gain too much muscle mass from working out a couple of times a week with weights.
To become bulky as a female is, however, possible. But you would be surprised how hard you would have to work to be getting there. In this case, fitness is not a simple evening entertainment anymore (or a nasty chore, depending on how you see exercising), it becomes a philosophy. Your life would need to evolve 100% around weightlifting. And doing it now and then is not an option – every day at least twice is the frequency you would want to do weightlifting activities to bulk up your body. Nutrition has to be specifically designed to gain muscles and weight. In extreme cases, you would even supplement your body heavily to reach your goal. If this lifestyle isn’t yours, there is only one rule that applies: you are not able to become bulky by nature!
Let’s talk beauty standards
Nevertheless, your body will get toned. Those undesired fat pads will shrink and your muscles will eventually show. But this is not a bad thing! If you have been scrolling through Instagram lately, you just had to notice the fitness hype that is going on at the moment. For both sexes by the way. I did the other day and could not help but notice four things:
- fit girls are loved
- fit girls are hated
- unathletic girls are loved
- unathletic girls are hated
In my opinion, this sums it up so accurately. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you are toned, you will find a significant other who will love your body. If you are not, you will find a significant other who will love your body, too. But keep one thing in mind: if a guy tells you, you are not sexy because you can lift more than him, he is most likely insecure and intimidated by your greatness and is, therefore, not worth your time.
So my final advice: Have a quick insight of my class this morning and put your doubts about Pump It Up aside!
Gifs taken from Giphy.com