Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
January 22, 2017
There are always days where I have to deal with the occasional writer’s block. There are always issues with me in regards to the subject matter, mainly because I work a job that causes days to blur one into another while also be detached from the world in regards to news and pop culture. Yup, I feel a few weekends where I will do nothing but watch movies from Casa Video and maybe even steal….er, borrow my bud Scott’s Netflix log in information for a short spell. I don’t really want to do that, but the problem I keep running into is when I go to cracked.com (my favorite website) and realize at least a third of the damn references that the various lists utilize are completely going over my head. Of course, I have no time to really follow this stuff anymore, because I have to spend the time potentially binging shows to walk my dogs, but you have to figure I will catch up one of these days. Anyway, it has been a frustratingly crazy week at work, with a write up and several dropped surveys. It has been a bloodbath, and they were tiny mistakes that should result in a stern finger to the face, but man it is like an atom bomb when you miss something. I can see why so many people resort to smoking and drinking at these places. If the threat of people yelling at you for 90 minutes (which is how I started my Saturday) is bad enough, just imagine having constantly look over your shoulder. And of course, Saturday was horrible because I had to issue two massive credits due to the incompetence of others…a day after issuing two massive credits for the same reason. A thousand dollars in credits due to the mess-ups of idiots. Needless to say, I’m probably gonna get thrown on probation next month even though I resolved the issues, so yeah, my stress levels are going to be shooting up.
This is why I need to start getting my butt working harder in the gym. That stress is getting to me a little bit, and all I can think of when I get home is eat. Fortunately the selection of food is not too bad, so even though my portions have been out of control this week, at least I am not stuffing Ben and Jerry’s in my gullet all week (and trust me, Safeway has a major sale on those bad boys for two bucks off…take that freaking Whole Foods!). Anyway, the last few weeks have been great for me, getting into the gym three times a week once again, allowing me to spread out some of my harder exercises over the course of a week. No longer will I be tripling up on dead lifts, bench press and squats like I used to. Now I can actually do some other stuff like some functional working out and other things that allow me to work on my weak ankles and tight-as-hell achilles tendons. As I have settled into a good routine with my life once again, I have been running into a different crowd of people these days. It used to be quite the dude fest when I first started working out on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Then when I started working out on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, it was generally a more older crowd that I had to work with. Now the current schedule I work—Monday mornings, Tuesday and Thursdays evenings—has certainly been a bit more estrongen-ey. Is that even a word? needless to say, I have been working out with a lot more women these days. Now before you start calling me a perv and accuse me of being the type that checks out the ladies at the gym, trust me I behave. I usually get too wound up in what I am doing to really look at women when I go to the gym anyway. I mean, I am fat and need to lose weight…I am not a naturally decent looking dude that can spend half his time doing some weight lifting and the checking out the ladies the other half (plus I don’t like staying at the gym for hours on end). Needless to say, I’m pretty proud of these ladies for the most part, for they are taking on a part of fitness that is still a stigma in most circles. They are hitting the weights, and they are hitting them hard.
Let me tell you a comparison about the short time I went to Chuze fitness. The place was generally bifurcated. Ninety percent of the people in the weights area were men…90 percent of the people in the cardio were women. I was a strange one when I was at that place, hanging out with my friend Leonor (who is a lifting beast) while doing weights and then generally being surrounded by women when I hit the bikes and the treadmills (except for the Copa America Final, when a few other dudes like myself took upon ourselves to hit the stationary bikes while watching the game…needless to say I biked for a good three hours!). There is generally a strong stigma against women that engage in weight lifting, for when the general public talks about the subject of female fitness they think of yoga and pilates. While those two fitness aspects of life are great for the body and creating functional fitness, it is just not the same as weight lifting. I think for the most part, this is a stigma that is created but loser, whiney men that have conniptions about being outperformed in the gym. For so long, men have believed the best way to get the girl of their dreams is to work out, show off some moderate bench pressing skill and bam…they got a date or something. These days, the script is flipping as more and more women are getting into weight lifting. http://www.shape.com/fitness/trends/benefits-olympic-weightlifting Now you might accuse me of reading into small time blogs and getting caught up in their material, there is a legitimate trend trying to be gestated through the art of suggestion.
Of course, using typical techniques of trying to make women think weight lifting is strictly about looking sexy, it is really more about maintaining better health than trying to catch the glare of the typical gym douche. First and foremost, weight lifting can certainly aid in the development and strengthening of the body, and couple with a typical labeled “feminine” form of fitness like yoga and pilates or barre can truly be a killer combination in body functionality. One of the difficulties that women run into as they get older is the susceptibility of bone density problems, especially osteoporosis. This can get pretty bad for most women when they hit their post-menopausal years as the lack of estrogen in their body may weaken their bone density. So this brings up the conundrum…what is the best way to make more estrogen? Well, the best way is try and produce more testosterone, and one good method of course is through vigorous exercise. This where the aromatase enzyme comes into the equation. Aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen, further depleting free testosterone levels and increasing estrogen levels, which are excellent building block for bone density. Now before you start thinking about doing this the easy way and going to some testosterone clinic that advertises on the Classic Rock station, hear me out on this. Changing your life and your routine is something far more lasting then taking some drugs to try and increase your testosterone. I know it seems so much easier to take that particular route, I worry that some people will believe the ease of the situation is preferable. I always look at it this way…when you take the easy way out of a situation, you will never really learn about yourself in the process.
Here is the best part about the idea of weight lifting, ladies. It is not just about the health benefits. It is not just about the bone building or the strengthening. It is really not about being able to fit into some skimpy outfit that hugs your trimmer figure. It’s about personal satisfaction. It is about the idea that you are capable and strong, because while being mentally strong is one thing, having the supplemental strength in your physical life is something that can go a long way toward your mental health. One thing about the crowds I work out with these days is the fact they are primarily female. While there are a few guys that pop up, much of the time is with women. They are all of various backgrounds and ages of course, but you do see one thing about them as they progress in their weight lifting regime….the confidence. One woman was particularly giddy about the fact she is getting stronger little by little as she continues her workout regime with one of the Parsons Training trainers named Hannah. As she has gotten better on the bench press, she has been going for heavier weights. She even proudly announced that her doctor called her a “beast.” There is another woman I typically work out with as well, and over the weeks has gotten stronger and stronger with her Olympic style weight lifting. Let me tell you, she has some fire, especially since she has some money riding on the possibility of winning a fitness challenge. Now both of these women may have some different ideas about their health and the way they approach it, one thing si for clear…the confidence from the lifting can really be seen in their effort. You don’t keep showing up and putting yourself in the grinder if you are not making any progress on your life. So not only si their health improving, their piece of mind and their idea of self is also improving. I’m a little envious myself, for I constantly have conniptions about my effort and abilities. I was getting a little down on myself for only being able to do 295 deadlifts and 165 benchpresses. But you know, much like the typical problem I keep running into with my life, I got to learn how to relax. I did 18 reps at the 295 and then turned around and did 20 reps of the 165. So in retrospect, that is not too bad. Just means I will go back to over 300 on the dead lifts and he 175 on the bench press sooner than later.
Now ladies, I’m not doing this to “mansplain” or dictate the effort of fitness for women in America, I am just basing this on the personal experiences that I have seen in my life. While attaining confidence in yourself is one thing, attaining better health is still primary goal. Looking better isn’t the primary goal of course, but it can play a large role. Believe me, this is the part that I am struggling with myself at this moment, mainly because I really want to improve my body and the way it looks to the outside world. For me, that is my goal. That is what I have on my docket. The one weird thing I see when I peruse the articles about female fitness trends, it rarely seems to focus o the personal satisfaction of it. There is always focus on the trendiness, the cool factor and how it will make you more appealing. But there are some really good health benefits. I will always use my mother as the prime example, who was busting hump even though she had a 90% blockage in one of her heart arteries, and was ablate quickly recover due to the fact she had built up a strong enough body to withstand the stents and the procedures. There is another reason that women may want to get into weight lifting as well, for it is showing great promise for those that survived breast cancer. http://nursing.onclive.com/web-exclusives/weightlifting-shows-promise-for-lymphedema-prevention Some new research has indicated that some light strength training (as well as some resistance training) helped with some of the swelling that occurs for the women who are post-treatment. While the initial study was small, the results might be enough to get a larger one moving forward to help examine a better understanding between weight training and great cancer survival.
I’m gonna go ahead and say this about the ladies at Parsons, as well as three superb female trainers I typically work around in Christa, Jenny and Hannah….you all rock! Keep doing what you are doing, because even though this ridiculous stigma about women and weights is still prevalent in the freaking 21st century. So get on with your bad selves. I guess this means I will have to start working harder, for you all are catching up to me!
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About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.