Using the gym to improve body confidence
For this year’s International Women’s Day, we want to share what our female members are doing at Xercise4Less Gyms to reach their fitness goals but also improve their confidence and become happier.
Sophie Dickson, 29, joined Xercise4Less Newcastle-upon-Tyne 3 and a half years ago and in that time has worked incredibly hard to become healthier and now has a lot more body confidence. What has had the biggest impact on the positive changes? Weight training. Sophie swears by weight training and says that it has helped her to gain muscle and weight – something that she has always struggled with.
Turning nerves into excitement
We see lots of woman using our free weights zone and resistance machines zones, but we’d love to see even more! For some Xercise4Less members, adopting a new style of training can be daunting and intimidating but once you give it a go, you’ll realise how much fun it is.
Sophie wasn’t always as confident as she is, she was actually really nervous when she first joined Xercise4Less Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was underweight and her doctor suggested going to the gym to gain weight. Fast forward 3 years and she’s upped her weight from 7 and a half stone to 9 stone 6 lbs and loves her time spent in the gym.
“People think that if you do weight training, you’ll look bulky and ‘manly’ with big muscles but that’s not the case. I used to think that but you don’t get like that, you just look toned, healthy and happy.”
It’s taken Sophie a long time and hard work to get to the weight she is now. She used an Xercise4Less personal trainer to help her on her weight/muscle gain journey too. Her PT not only showed her what to do in the gym, but made Sophie realise how important nutrition is and what she needed to do to achieve her goals.
“My personal trainer made me aware of things like how much protein I needed, how much carbohydrates I needed and how many meals to eat a day. He taught me all about protein shakes and things like that too. All of this alongside my gym routine really helped me.”
Weight training can help you achieve your goals
It’s unfortunate that some women avoid weight training and strength training but it’s an amazing and really effective form of training that could take you closer to your fitness goals. Whilst weight training isn’t easy (especially when really pushing yourself), once you start to see results, it makes it all worth it. Sophie’s weight training is varied. She visits Xercise4Less Newcastle-upon-Tyne twice a week – this works for her and her goals to keep her in a calorie surplus. By sticking to 2 workouts a week, she focuses on a leg workout and an upper body workout.
“My training is varied but involves heavy compound movements at the moment because they really help to build muscle. I do things like pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, front squats, use the leg press and bench press. I’m not super strong but I probably weigh around 59kg, but I can squat 60kg and deadlift 65kg! When I go to the gym, I can get all my stress out and get on with my workout and feel better about myself.”
The People’s Gym – inclusive and friendly
We’re so proud of the communities at Xercise4Less Gyms and Sophie has had a great experience which confirms that and shows that no matter your gym experience, our gyms will welcome all women with open arms and make you feel part of the family.
When Sophie first joined the gym, she had very little confidence. She even asked her personal trainer to have their sessions in the Ladies Only zone to focus on her squatting technique. For 3 months, she worked on her strength and confidence and then started working out in the main gym.
“Everyone at my gym is really friendly. Both members and staff really help and look out for you. When I see familiar faces, they ask if I need them to spot me or if I need any help with the weight. It’s nice that people are always there to help you out. When you join, someone shows you around, so you know where everything is and you have an idea of what to do in the gym.”
“The gym has everything you need to start weight training – it’s well equipped. The group classes are really good too. Most of the classes are focused around weight loss so I don’t do those ones but yoga, core conditioning and legs, bums and tums are really good.”
Step out of your comfort zone for International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day 2020 is all about equality. At Xercise4Less, all of our members are equal and that’s why we encourage our female members to use all of our facilities and equipment, especially weights. Sophie had no experience of weight training when she joined and now, she swears by it – give it a go and see how you feel, it might be the best thing you ever do!
“Don’t be scared of weight training. Go for it. You’ll be toned, fit and healthy. If you’re wanting to gain weight and muscle, make sure you get your nutrition right too. My advice is just focus on you and what you want and ignore what people think and say. I’ve had people making snide comments to me, but I’ve stuck with it for 3 years and I’m much healthier now.”
Become an Xercise4Less Gyms member today and pay only £10 for your first month with NO extra fees. Happy International Women’s Day from Xercise4Less Gyms!