Finding somewhere that does women's only fitness can be difficult. We made the decision last year to provide our services in Glasgow to women only. It was a difficult decision to alienate such a large proportion of men but it was the right decision for us and we haven't looked back. So many women have come to us, relieved they have found somewhere they feel comfortable to workout.
So, Why Only Women's Fitness?
Biology for a start, our bodies are different, men were designed to be hunters and lifters and women were designed to be nurturer's. This isn't a sexist remark, it's a fact and I'm not saying women can't do what men do, I'm saying there are factors to be considered.
Will weight training make a woman big and bulky? No, we don't have enough testosterone to make your muscled bigger, but we do have enough to make us stronger, leaner and give us some definition. If you ware worried about getting heavier or bigger, it's because you've increased your muscle and not decreased your fat. This is likely to happen within the first few months of training, but the fat WILL start to decrease.
Oestrogen is present in a woman's body and low levels (especially in menopause) can create havoc with weight gain. High levels of progesterone causes PMS - sore boobs, bloating, moods and period pain and HCG makes you feel sick through pregnancy, brilliant!
Women have boobs (yes really) and they tend to get in the way of most traditional exercises, press ups? Upright Row? Plank? Either you have big ones or small ones and that says uneven playing field with two women side by side. Big boobs need stronger postural muscles and are likely to suffer from upper back pain.
Exercise lying on your front? Running or jogging? Boobs don't just get in the way, they can make exercise uncomfortable and, or impossible.
Women have much wider hips than men, so our feet placement is different, our feet are going to be wider depending on our hip width. Alignment and balance changes, think of lunges, split squats or when running. Stress is increased in the joints, mainly the knees but with good technique, applied to your body, shape and size (no the person next to you) this can be minimised.
Get your copy of '52 Inspirations' for FREE (priced £4.99 on Amazon)
52 Inspirations is the latest book from Personal Trainer Carolyne McDougall at Fit Strong Females. Featuring the best blog posts from the past 6 years, it's currently selling on Amazon but you can download a FREE PDF copy right here
If you want a trainer who understands a woman's body? Hire a woman!
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Carolyne is great at helping out when you've hurt or damaged something. I tore the cartilage in my knee (not at the studio) and was really upset when I thought that I wouldn't be able to train. Carolyne just took it as a positive challenge and created workouts for me that focussed on my upper body, so I could still keep in shape until my knee healed. I ended up with great form for my press ups (full press ups - Carolyne doesn't believe in 'girly press ups!') and the best biceps I've ever had! She really knows her stuff. And then when things are on the mend she creates workouts for you to help build the strength back up in the damaged area. My physio didn't really have to give me any exercises because Carolyne had already worked them out for me.
Over the past 5 years I had been doing fitness classes at Fit Strong Females Once these stopped Carolyne suggested I try the group training. I wasn't sure it was for me but I gave it a try and really enjoyed it. Every session is different and involves using things like Kettlebells, TRX or your body weight. It was like going from a fitness level 1 to a level 3. It highlighted some weakness in my upper body muscles and the strength in my legs. Exercising in a small group is good as you still feel as if you are getting a one-on-one personal training session but with the benefit of having others there which encourages you to push harder and overall it makes the sessions enjoyable and fun.
For me, the location is great, being in the city Centre I can be there 10 mins after finishing work. There are times to book in for sessions but also flexible so if you run late you can still train, unlike a gym class where if you miss the start you’ve missed the opportunity. I love the friendly relaxed atmosphere, it’s good to train with women and get a chat at the same time! Unlike training solo in a gym which is pretty boring. And best of all my 11 year old daughter comes along on a Saturday to train with me. She loves doing the yoga and training sessions, she gets a good workout and it’s good mother daughter bonding time with us training together.
After having 2 children I was fat unhealthy and unfit. In 2005 Carolyne convinced me I could change my ways. It was a long road starting with walking a mile which i struggled with at first and building up to completing a 10k run/walk within the year. I have since completed 6 10k's and run 2 or 3 times a week.
I started at her Studio in 2010 to build up my upper body strength which was nonexistent. I have noticed a huge difference since i started. Right now I’m working towards 10 full proper press ups and I’m nearly there. I love coming along to a session and running club every week, it keeps my motivation high and my fitness levels up.
I’ve lost around 2 1/2 stone from when I first started most of which I lost in the first few years and have more or less kept off since. The biggest difference has been to my energy levels and general attitude to exercise and life. I have twice took part in a fundraising event where I cycled to Loch Lomond and back, 56 miles in a day, something I would never of had the confidence or ability to do before.
I have always been slim and tried to keep quite active, but I love my food as well! My weight crept up when I started my first job and slowly but surely I noticed my clothes getting tighter, which affected my confidence and self esteem.
My friend Roisin was training with Carolyne and she raved about the training so I was excited to try it out...I really wasn't sure what to expect.
I'm a lot stronger and fitter now, which is a really addictive feeling! My body is a lot more toned and I am a lot happier with my shape. I've made some great friends through the Studio, the people are great as the training environment. I love the challenge that it gives me. Personal Training has made fitness part of my life routine.
I can vividly remember my first few sessions, I didn't realise how out of puff you could be with 20 minutes by the river Clyde with only your body weight and the features of the landscaped area...needless to say, in comparison to 1 dimensional movement in the gym, I was hooked.
Thanks to Carolyne, I first of all overcame a knee injury that practitioners told me would prevent me from running, skiing and mountain climbing. I've gone from running for less than a minute to 5Kwithin 8 months. I quickly progressed to a 10K and have since done several, beating my PB every time. In 2011 I finished a half marathon under my target time of 2 hours 30 minutes and took 7 minutes off my time with another half in 2012.
My upper body and core strength was pretty much none existent in 2009, now I look forward to sessions and seeing progress on a monthly basis against my goals. I’m a size 10 now!
As a bit of a reluctant exerciser Fit Strong Females was a godsend to me! I spent years hiding at the back of gym classes, hoping nobody would notice I was skiving but then wondering why I wasn't getting any slimmer or fitter!
But this was different and I immediately felt comfortable. The people were not like some of the folk at other gyms. Nobody judged what weight you were using or whether you could do a full press up. Nobody laughed if you couldn’t run for a minute without stopping. You get just the right amount of encouragement to get you to try something, and you might not get it the first time, or even the second, but you will eventually.
I’ve lost over 3 stone in the last year and it’s taken lots of hard work on my part, but I can’t take all the credit! Going to group training twice a week has greatly improved my fitness and kept me motivated. Many a time I’ve come to a session after a ‘bad’ week and asked Carolyne to kick by backside and trust me, she’s always willing to oblige on that one!
You also get individual attention that you just don’t see in other gyms where the classes are overcrowded and the trainers are more interested in looking in the mirror. I suffer from sciatica and got more help from Carolyne understanding and treating it than I did from my doctor. I even managed to run the 10k after my most recent episode and get a PB into the bargain. I truly believe that wouldn’t have been achieved without the help and encouragement I got from everyone (but especially Carolyne) at FSF! It’s like a wee family!
The Group PT sessions have been fantastic for overall strength. I love that sessions are so varied, targeting the full body. More importantly they are fun and everyone is really friendly - it helps having others to share the pain with! I also go running with the other members and since starting I have achieved a personal best for my 10k time and just recently completed a 10 mile run. I always said I wouldn't do more than a 10k...
I have now been going for 7 years and although I’m slim I still dropped a dress size. I've made good friends at the studio and it's become part of my social life! I can't recommend it highly enough for both beginners and those who are looking for a bigger challenge.