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Thursday, June 23, 2016

TPB Fitness Series: Not Just for Guys- Why Women Need Strength Training

I was just thinking this week that we're almost half way through the year. What?! And not that I want to be this person, but I thought I'd ask: how are your resolutions for the year coming along? Haha, mine are so- so. That being said, there's still 6 months left in the year to work towards our goals, whatever they may be, so let's not be too hard on ourselves just yet.

Fitness and health- related goals always seem to be popular choices at the beginning of a new year, but following through with them and actually making the changes tends to get lost in the shuffle of daily life as the year goes on. Motivation diminishes, and with it the promises we made to ourselves. Sound about right? I'm totally guilty of this and with June winding down I've been taking stock of where I am with my goals for the year. I'm not going to beat myself up over it- and you shouldn't either!- but the only way to make changes and achieve those goals is to hold ourselves accountable and actually make the effort. Even if the path getting there is imperfect and inconsistent, it's better than nothing- and really, isn't that how life works anyways? It's about the journey, and so on. With that in mind, I'm going to hand it over to Irina and her great tips on strength training (don't miss her 10 minute workout- great for getting in a few minutes of exercise in the day). Ladies, we've got this. Cheers to making the second half of 2016 even better than the first!


In a previous post, 4 Simple Ways to Make Cardio your Friend, we explored cardio and how it can be easy to incorporate it into our lives if we do it in short bursts. In this post we will add on to that knowledge and address strength training.


Strength training is the other side of the coin. While cardio is excellent at burning calories in the moment and working our lungs and heart, strength training helps to build muscle and, as the name implies - strength!  And while it may seem like strength training is only for the guys, women can benefit tremendously from it as well.


Here are some of the benefits of it:


  • Increases muscle mass and thus strength
  • Tones and gives you a sexy, lean body
  • Increases your basal metabolic rate and makes your muscles continue to burn calories even after you've completed your workout
  • Teaches you proper form: how to lift, how to reach, how to engage your core - all of which in turn make you less prone to injury in the real world.


If that sounds pretty awesome that's because strength training really is amazing!


In this post, I'll teach you where to start, what equipment to use, and how to make sure you have proper form so you don't injure yourself.


Remember your goal!


Too many people jump right into it and end up doing a bunch of random exercises with no purpose. Does that sound familiar? The thing is, if you're going to get any results you need to plan and think about it a little.


What's your goal?


A great butt? Core strength? Arm strength? Chiseled shoulders? Each of these will require different types of exercises.


To start, pick some simple exercises that you are familiar with. Most people know about squats, bicep curls, mountain climbers, lunges. Think of exercises that you know that target the “thing” you're trying to work then focus on those.


If it sounds a bit daunting it's ok to ask for help. That's what a personal trainer is for! My job is to put together kick-ass workouts specifically targeted for my client's goals.


Pick your weapon!

There are TONS of different types of equipment you can use for strength training:
  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Kettlebells
  • Stability balls
  • Gym machines, and the list goes on!


I don't believe any of these are needed, but if I were to pick one, I highly recommend resistance bands. They are cheap, durable, they don't take up a lot of room and they are light.


As for me, I'm a fan of body weight training mainly because it means I can take my workouts anywhere and I'm not limited by the equipment I have available. Here is a quick total body workout that you can do right now in your living room and won't take you more than 10 minutes!


  • 10 push-ups (on your knees is OK)
  • 20 alternating forward lunges
  • 1min mountain climbers
  • 20 squat pulses  (squat, pulse 3 times then come up)
  • 10 step back burpees
  • 1min hold plank


Use proper form

As a personal trainer I see a lot of people doing exercises wrong so I've compiled a short list to help you avoid some common pitfalls and make sure you always have stellar form:


  • Check your alignment:
    • Are your knees right above the ankles?
    • Are your shoulders right above the wrists?
    • Is your core tight and engaged?
    • Are you looking out straight ahead? Never tuck your chin!


  • Remember to breathe:
    • Your muscles need oxygen and blood to work. If you hold your breath, how will you perform your exercises well?


  • Check in halfway through the exercise
    • Are you are starting to use body momentum to get you through the move?
    • Are your arms/legs shaking?
    • Are you taking a break more than you are exercising?
    • If “yes” to any of the above, you need to stop


Proper form is extremely important! You want to work out not injure yourself. Again, this is where a few sessions with a personal trainer can be incredibly valuable. I can teach you proper form, range of motion, breathing technique and proper speed. Then when you're on your own, you know what to do.


In summary, strength training is an extremely important element of fitness! For ladies it means a more toned physique, increased stamina and increased metabolic rate. So don’t be afraid to experiment with it!


And remember to check out the other posts as part of this series, for more fitness education tips for moms:




About Irina

Irina discovered fitness by accident after having her daughter and started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals such as moms juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active. Irina’s loves teaching people about fitness and working with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes.


To get in touch with Irina about her personal training services please email her at irina@toneeveryzone.ca, or get in touch through her website. You can also follow Irina on social media for more great fitness education tips:




About Tone Every Zone

Tone Every Zone is a mobile personal training company servicing New Westminster, as well as parts of Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Surrey. Tone Every Zone comes to you, saving you the cost gym memberships, and eliminating the need to adhere to a schedule set by a commercial gym. To learn more, please visit: www.toneeveryzone.ca.



Thank you to these partners for collaborating on this post series:



Photographer: Catherine Hilcove Photography Facebook | Instagram

Workout Apparel:
Underables Shown in this post: GROCERIES workout tee & leggings (worn by Irina)

LNBF Shown in this post: Melissa Light Active Hoodie & Suri Leggings (worn by Katherine)