the joy of strength training


August 26th, 2012 at 7:46 pm

To stretch or not to stretch?

Many people ask me about stretching, especially post workout.

Walk into any gym and you will see personal training clients being intimately stretched by their trainers after a workout (it’s called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation but often looks a bit saucy to me).

You might reasonably think that this is because stretching is a vital part of training but the truth is that clients just like being stretched. It does feel good after a tough workout.

That is not to say that there isn’t a role for PNF stretching, just that it is often used as a superfluous ‘service’ that people have come to expect, regardless of their mobility needs, and is taught as such on PT courses.

There is no need to be hugely flexible for weight training; in fact, being hyper-mobile, which is much more common in women than in men, is detrimental to joint stability.

In my experience, most women need to be stronger, not more flexible.

That said, people do get stiff and tight in particular areas, so some targeted stretching can be a good idea to improve mobility.

Remember, though, that training the full range of motion in a variety of movements will, over time, provide the requisite mobility without lots of additional static stretching.

For example, you can improve squat mobility by squatting, rather than stretching the relevant muscles individually.

I tend not to stretch my clients (or myself) post workout and yet we still improve our mobility. This is because we focus on the warm up, utilising muscle activation and light movements to get the body moving better. We also strengthen our postural muscles by doing full body weight training, so no single area gets tighter than another.

Pre workout

Your warm up should include dynamic stretching, which is another way of saying that you should move your joints through their full range of motion with no external load.

For example, air squats and lunges will warm up your legs and lower back nicely and will improve mobility in those movements over time.

Most people (and quite a lot of trainers) get this the wrong way round; they warm up on a cardio machine, moving through a limited range of motion, and then do lots of static stretching after their workout.

Pre workout is also the time to do activation of particular muscle groups, such as the glutes, which are often inhibited or ‘switched off’ in people who have sedentary lifestyles. I have all of my clients do glute activation exercises before training. I used to be quite sceptical about it – it was never something I did myself when I was learning to lift and I still got on ok! However it seems to help people, so nowadays I tend to include it.

If you know any yoga, you can utilise these movements in your warm up as yoga is essentially dynamic stretching.

Post workout

If you are doing full range of motion movements in your training, there is no need to stretch everything after a workout as it will have been mobilised during the training session.

However, it can be a good idea after your workout to stretch anything that is unusually tight, or where you are habitually tight.

Common problem areas for women are: calves (from wearing high heels), hip flexors (from sedentary job) and shoulders (from bad posture associated with computers, TV etc).

The bench press and similar horizontal pressing movements are notorious for causing tightness around the shoulders and chest, so it is recommended that you stretch these areas after a pressing workout.

Another tactic is to do a pulling exercise straight after your pushing exercise in the same plane; for example, after bench pressing, do some horizontal rows. This will prevent you from getting too tight across the chest.

Does stretching prevent soreness?

No, neither pre nor post workout stretching relieves soreness (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

The most effective relief from DOMS is exercise, so a walk or other active rest is the best way to relieve soreness after a workout.

Does stretching prevent injury?

It used to be thought that static stretching before a workout prevented injury but we now know it doesn’t.

What has been found to help is a dynamic warm up – doing full range of motion movements with no or very light load.

Foam rolling and soft tissue release

Habitual tightness is often more effectively solved through soft tissue release techniques. This can range from a simple foam roller for performing your own myofascial release, to a therapist using massage, ART or other therapy to release tight areas.

If you are going to do foam rolling, it is best used pre workout, but can also be done at other times of day (e.g. while watching telly in the evening).

Personally I find that release techniques really come into their own when you are rehabbing an injury but I have not noticed a great difference at other times.


  • The best way to improve general mobility is to perform full range of motion exercises. You don’t have to do any static stretching after your workout unless you have a particular area that is very tight or inflexible.
  • You shouldn’t do any static stretching before your workout. Warm up using light full range of motion movements such as air squats, walking lunges and band pull aparts.
  • Consider soft tissue release to work on very tight areas.


July 17th, 2012 at 10:48 am

10 bodyweight strength goals for women

Girl squattingThere’s something magical about being able to chuck your own bodyweight or its equivalent around in a variety of ways!

It makes you feel strong, able, agile and athletic.

If you can push, pull and otherwise move your body around, you’re self sufficient in movement.

So if you are looking for a goal or you just want to know how you compare to other people, try working your way through this list!

(See below for more on the rationale behind the list.)

Ten bodyweight goals for women

1. Bodyweight deadlift

2. Press up

3. Bodyweight squat

4. Bodyweight floor to overhead

5. Dip

6. Pull up

7. Bodyweight bench press

8. Handstand press up

9. Muscle up

10. Bodyweight strict press

More about this list

Sally doing pull upsMovements that are performed with external weight such as a barbell are noted as ‘bodyweight’, e.g. bodyweight deadlift means a barbell loaded with the equivalent of your bodyweight.

Movements that are performed just with your own body, like a pull up, are just named as usual. These would be performed strictly in their full versions with no momentum, kipping etc.

The list is roughly in order of difficulty. Of course, you can argue variations, such as bodyweight bench press should come before pull up, but it’s a rough guide. Your size, weight distribution, biomechanics, athletic background and training regime will hugely impact on what you achieve in what order.

The great thing about a bodyweight goal is that it is relative to you, not an arbitrary number.  You can more easily compare yourself to someone of a completely different size, introducing a bit of friendly competition.

There’s a caveat to this: bodyweight goals are generally harder for heavier people. The upside is that if you are a heavier person and you achieve a bodyweight goal, you can be extra proud of yourself!

This list is also specific to women. A list for men would have many of the exercises in a different order, due to the different muscle mass distribution of a man.

Is the list achievable?

Well, I’m pretty sure that Samantha Briggs, top UK Crossfitter of Train Manchester can do them all, so yes, they are achievable.

The first five could, in my opinion, be achieved by most women during the first year or two of training, if you had access to a good trainer and a decent training facility.

The second five would take more work and focus. A couple of the movements are quite technical, such as floor to overhead (e.g. the clean and jerk or snatch) and the muscle up, and require specialist coaching.

I suspect that many women would be able to do all of these if they trained them consistently, but it doesn’t always happen in the real world. I don’t know many women who seriously train the strict press, for example. It doesn’t seem to capture the imagination for women in the way that getting a pull up or a muscle up do.

To be fair, although it is good to do some shoulder pressing, there’s some justification for not devoting your life to pressing your bodyweight if you’re a woman, as it’s not as useful for general health and fitness as, say, squats. However, if you fancy a challenge, I reckon far fewer women can press bodyweight than can muscle up. Just sayin’.

So what do you think of the list? Are you inspired to go out and work towards some of these goals? Would you change anything?

More from Gubernatrix

Bodyweight or bust!

Strength standards for women

How to deadlift

How to handstand push up

No more girly push ups!

July 14th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Interval training for fitness and fat loss

Interval training on a rowing machineThis post was inspired by a friend of mine who wanted to know what he could usefully do on a crosstrainer apart from watching the news on its screen.

Interval training is the best way to use any cardio machine, whether it’s a treadmill, a crosstrainer or a rower, for improving fitness and losing fat.

You can also do interval training the traditional way, by running or cycling outdoors.

For fitness and fat loss, interval training is better than just steady state cardio, i.e. going for a run.

All you need to know to get started are a few simple principles and you have a lifetime’s worth of training sessions at your finger tips.

What is interval training?

Interval training is where you go as hard as you can for a given period of time, say, 30 seconds (the ‘work’ interval), and then go very easy to recover (the ‘rest’ interval).

The principle behind interval training is that by working at a high intensity for short bursts, you keep your heart rate higher than steady pace cardio, raise metabolism and burn more calories.

You also get much more post-exercise calorie burn than you do from steady cardio – your body continues to break down fat stores for up to 36 hours after intense exercise in order to recover.

So if you are wanting better fitness or more fat loss, or a combination of both, interval training will help you reach your goal – along with resistance training, of course, but that’s another post!

How is it done?

The key variable to manipulate is the work:rest ratio. For example:

1:1 – e.g. 2 mins work, 2 mins rest

1:2 – e.g. 1 mins work, 2 mins rest

1:3 – e.g. 30 secs work, 90 secs rest

If you rotated through these ratios, you would work all your energy systems (aerobic, anaerobic etc).

It’s important to note that you go as hard as you can during the work interval, so a 30 sec interval should be faster than a 2 min interval because you are going all out for only 30 secs.

The recovery period should be very easy, not just slightly less fast. We’re talking a very slow trot or even a walk. It is important to recover properly so that you can give it everything in the next interval, where the real work gets done.

The way to organise your interval training session is as follows:

  • Warm up for 5-10 mins starting easy and getting progressively harder until your heart rate is moderately high (on a scale of 1-10, around 7).
  • Perform 5-10 intervals at your chosen work:rest ratio, for example:  1 min work/2 mins rest x 6
  • Cool down for 5 mins, starting reasonably hard and getting easier so that you bring your heart rate down in a controlled manner.

An interval session can be a standalone session or can be done after a resistance workout.

Choosing the right variables

As for how many intervals to do, start low at around 4-5 and increase every session or every week until you are up to around 10.

The shorter the intervals, the more you can fit into a session. Aim for around 20 mins of intervals to start with.

For example, if you chose to do 2 min/2min, that is a total of 4 mins per interval set. If you did that 5 times, the total work time would be 20 mins.

If you were doing 30 secs/90 secs, that is a total of 2 mins per interval set. So in 20 mins you could get twice as many intervals done. Due to the higher intensity and greater number of intervals, this session would be more demanding than a 2 min/2 min session.

I recommend starting with work intervals of 1-2 mins. As you get fitter you can try work intervals of 45 secs and then 30 secs.

The most demanding type of session is something like 30 secs/30 secs. Very short work period and very short rest period. It takes experience to be able to perform this effectively, i.e. to really push yourself hard for 30 secs, and then recover sufficiently to be able to perform the next interval at a high intensity. If you can do 10 of these, you’re hardcore!

My tip for short intervals of 30 secs or less is to avoid using a treadmill as it takes several seconds to speed up/slow down.

Better machines are the rower or the bike. If you want to run, simply run outside.


Make sure you progress over time by gradually increasing the speeds/levels at which you can perform each interval.

Progression is the key to results. Your body adapts to the stress you put on it, so you need to gradually increase the stressor to force the body to keep adapting – i.e. getting fitter and burning calories.

It’s a good idea to put a programme together for yourself, rather than waiting until you get to the gym to decide what to do. Sticking to a planned programme should yield better results.

Let’s say you go to the gym 3 times a week. You could do a different work:rest interval each day, for exmaple:

Monday: 2 min on/2 min off x 4

Wednesday: 1 min on/2 min off x 6

Friday: 30 secs on/90 secs off x 8

Then the following week you could either increase the number of intervals or keep the number of intervals the same but increase the speed/level at which you perform each one. Increase only one variable at a time.

My suggestion is to take a 3-4 week period (a training cycle) and pick one variable to change. For example, the number of intervals.

Using the example above, your training cycle might look like this:

Week 1 Monday – 4 intervals

Week 2 Monday – 5 intervals

Week 3 Monday – 6 intervals

When you had completed that cycle, you could then pick another variable for the next training cycle, such as speed. In that scenario, you would keep the number of intervals the same, but increase the speed/level  each week. For example:

Week 1 Monday – 4 intervals @ 11 kph

Week 2 Monday – 4 intervals @ 11.5 kph

Week 3 Monday – 4 intervals @ 12 kph

Why not try putting together your own 12-week programme, using these principles? It doesn’t have to be perfect; you might find once you start doing it that you’ve been over-ambitious or under-ambitious – if so, tweak it. Following a programme is the best way to make progress.

There are so many ways to do interval training. What I’ve suggested here is a starting point, but there are many paths you can take to continue. Good luck!

More from gubernatrix

Indoor rowing training

Interval timers

Improve your running mile

June 12th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

More WonderBar! workshops announced

Wonderbar One 7 July 2012Due to the great success of the first WonderBar women’s strength training workshop, we now have three more dates in the diary – and three different workshops for you to expand your strength skills!

For those of you who missed the last one, WonderBar is a joint venture between my Gubernatrix/Ladies Who Lift projects and Crossfit London.

Wonderbar! One – covers the basics of the squat, press, deadlift and pull-ups. Next workshop Saturday 7 July 2012.

Wonderbar! Two – expands on the content in One, and covers the front and overhead squats, the push press, kettlebell swing and gymnastics ring dips. Next workshop Saturday 15 September 2012.

Wonderbar! Three – covers the olympic lifts (the snatch & clean & jerk). Next workshop Saturday 20 October 2012.

Note that Wonderbar One and Two are standalone workshops requiring no previous experience on WonderBar.

However attendance on Wonderbar! Three requires you to have attended One and Two beforehand, as it builds on the skills you will cover in those sessions.

And don’t forget that if you want a more in-depth course, there is always my Ladies Who Lift 3-week course. As well as perfecting technique on the main lifts, we also learn about training for different goals (e.g. strength, fat loss, sports performance), nutrition and recovery strategies, gym etiquette and how to look like a pro in the weight room! You finish the course with the skills and knowledge to start weight training in your own gym.

Graduates of WonderBar One and Two will benefit from going on to Ladies Who Lift to consolidate technique and learn more about barbell training on an ongoing basis.

So a vertiable smorgasbord of strength training is coming up – take advantage and get booked in!

To book a Wonderbar! course, go to the Crossfit London site.

June 1st, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Are you ready for strongwoman?

It’s strongman season! I’ve just written a guest post for VikingR clothing on strongwoman. Read it here.

Gubernatrix competing at strongman

More from gubernatrix

What’s the difference between powerlifting, olympic weightlifting and strongman?

Strength revelations: what I’ve learned from strongman

April 25th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

WonderBar! Strength training masterclass for women

WonderBar strength training for women

WonderBar! is a women-only masterclass on real strength training – by women, for women. I’ve been asked to help instruct the afternoon, along with female trainers from Crossfit London. I can’t wait to meet a new host of women wanting to get into strength training!

The class is on Saturday 19th May in London. This is the first one – if it’s a roaring success, hopefully there will be more!

Click here to book

The class is suitable for all ages and fitness levels – we are keen to get as many women involved in strength training as possible.

It’s going to be a fun, friendly atmosphere and full of inspiration, so come along and bring your female friends too. You can work at your own level – all exercises will be scaled as appropriate.

For you fans of strength, this is a great opportunity to persuade a sceptical mate that strength training is eminently do-able, fun and effective.

We will focus on the deadlift, the overhead press, the back squat and the pull-up, classic strength exercises that work the whole body. You will be taken through technique step by step, with encouragement all the way.

And I’m sure there’ll be chances to ply the expert team of instructors with any other questions you have.

The masterclass takes place at Crossfit London’s gym in London, E2. You can book via the Crossfit London website here.

I hope to see you there. Let me know if you’re coming along!

February 27th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Women’s lifting – will it ever really take off?

Woman lifting dumbbell from the 1950sI have just finished another successful Ladies Who Lift course and have been musing on the changes I have seen in women’s lifting over the last few years.

Women have trained with weights for centuries, but it has flowed in and out of fashion. Right now, it’s a growing trend. But is it growing fast enough to gain real momentum?

Rising standards

There’s no doubt that more women are lifting weights than ten years ago.

The growth of personal training has much to do with this; women who have personal trainers are much more likely to be doing some kind of resistance training on a regular basis than women who don’t.

Expectations have risen; clued-up personal trainers – still unfortunately in the minority – now understand that most of their female clients, with the right training and guidance, can aim to squat and deadlift more (sometimes much more) than their bodyweight.

This is progress indeed; I remember a time when even wanting to use a 20kg Olympic bar caused consternation and presumptuous concern for one’s wellbeing! ‘Are you sure you want to lift that?’

In fact, I had to revise the Strength Standards for Women that I originally put together in 2008, as the standards of the ‘normal’ weight training woman have risen. If I need to revise it again in 2 years’ time, I’ll be happy.

Positive influences

Eva T from Crossfit HQ front squatThe growth of Crossfit has been a positive influence and – the occasional controversy aside [who can forget Albany Crossfit?] – has done a fantastic job of presenting women’s lifting in a positive light and actively encouraging women to get stuck into serious lifting.

Crossfit has been particularly successful in busting the ‘lifting will make you bulky’ myth, with its focus on leanness, performance and fitness.

I remember seeing those early Crossfit videos around 2005 with Annie, Nicole, Eva and the rest and being impressed and inspired. My first experience of olympic weightlifting was through Crossfit; now it’s my favourite hobby and I’ve just qualified to lift at the British Championships. So I have good reason to be thankful for Crossfit.

The internet and social media have made it much easier for women to access good, reliable information about weight training, be inspired by elite female athletes and meet like-minded women online. Stumptuous from Canada remains the mistress in this category, still going strong. Girls Gone Strong is a recently-formed US collective that will no doubt be influential in years to come. I do my bit here in the UK, with this website and my Ladies Who Lift courses.

I am, however, looking forward to seeing women’s strength training getting beyond the ‘mutual validation’ and ‘aren’t women brilliant?’ phase (which we women do so well) and into a more practical phase where we just do stuff and enjoy ourselves.

Worrying trends

There are one or two aspects of this social media growth that I’m less enthusiastic about.

Of late, I’ve noticed a conflation of weight training with being super lean. There’s a trend of posting images of very cut women as role models for weight training or even strength. In my opinion, they are more role models for dieting than for strength.

I have no problem with women being super lean if they want to, I just think that the issue is getting confused. ‘Strong is the new skinny’ is becoming ‘extreme dieting is the new strong’ in certain quarters. Personally, I like ‘women are the new strong’. Maybe I’ll put that on a t-shirt.

Something else that hasn’t moved on as fast as I thought is the mainstream women’s media, primarily women’s magazines, catching on to this new trend of female strength and performance.

While the men’s magazines have picked up on the ‘functional’ craze and generally seem more diverse in their training coverage, women’s magazines still inhabit the comfortable, familiar realms of cardio, yoga, swiss balls and pink weights. I realise that strength training is never going to make the top story, but the odd feature would be nice.

Women-only training

Women training with other women is important and should be encouraged – your girls will make better progress.

My own Ladies Who Lift women-only courses are growing well and I’ve seen women-only lifting sessions springing up at a few other clubs and gyms (such as Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club, Crossfits London and Reading and Olympic Gym in Eccles).

I used to think that I would make better progress training with men because they lift heavier and often have a more aggressive approach to training, but I have changed my mind on this. Having trained over the years with both men and women, I find training with other women who are physically similar to be more motivating and productive than training just with men.

Women can train hard and be aggressive, it just looks a little different – and I will be expanding on this in an upcoming article. But it’s also true that many women, myself included, blossom under a more positive atmosphere. It doesn’t matter whether you rant and rave or not, if the outcome is that you improve your lifts and grow in strength and confidence.

On a side note, I’m pleased that the ‘train like a man’ trend has subsided. This phrase, often used by male trainers to berate their female clients, puts the ownership of weight training squarely with men. In order to do it properly, women are supposed to behave ‘like men’. Hmm, no wonder they didn’t come flocking.

Now the rhetoric is ‘train like a girl’ and this is coming from women themselves – a much more positive development.

Incidentally, I love Nia Shanks’ reply to a girl who approached her while she was deadlifting and asked, ‘Why do you train like a man?’ Nia replied: “Take a look around the gym. Most guys in here bench press every day and then spend an entire hour working on their biceps. And the closest thing to a ‘leg exercise’ they perform is walking to the water fountain. So you see; I don’t train like a man.”

The future

The future is bright for women’s weight training but there are a few areas that I would like to see develop and I will be doing my bit to make this happen:

  • More opportunities for women to lift with other women on a regular basis.
  • More recognition from women’s magazines that proper resistance training is something to aspire to and will get results.
  • Higher standards among female trainers in resistance training and being role models in their own gyms

And yes, we still need to make the argument that lifting weights won’t make you bulky and unattractive. This is a tricky one but more people are persuaded every year so I believe it is a case of, keep doing what you’re doing, to everyone who works hard to make this argument.

So what changes have you seen? Do you agree with my analysis or am I way off base? And what would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts below!

February 22nd, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Controlling your competition nerves

This is a guest post from Giles Greenwood, weightlifting Commonwealth Games gold medalist, now coach at Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club. Giles runs a REPS-accredited weightlifting instructors course aimed at fitness professionals who want to perform and teach the olympic lifts.

I have been coached by Giles for the last few years, and during that time he has given me much advice on how to address my considerable competition nerves. I’ve implemented his suggestions and am performing better as a result! Now Giles has brought his advice and experience together in this post, which I hope you find as useful as I have. Over to Giles…

Giles Greenwood weightliftingAs a weightlifter I was not a natural competitor, it was something I had to learn.

I was practically dragged to my first competition, bombed out at my first Commonwealth Games and performed badly at my second Commonwealth Games when I felt the pressure of being the favourite after Stefan Botev pulled out. I suspect that if Botev had lifted, I would have performed better as an also-ran.

Although disappointing, the second Commonwealths was certainly an improvement over the first, and my third Commonwealth Games was to be the best performance of my weightlifting career.

I had controlled my debilitating nerves, allowing me to focus on the task at hand and fulfil my potential.

Admit the problem

The first stage of controlling your competition nerves is to accept that there’s a problem which needs addressing. It is easy to admit to a physical weakness (that you need more leg strength if you want to get up with your cleans for example) and take the appropriate measures. A mental weakness is more difficult to accept but is just as trainable as a physical one.

Once you have decided that you need to work on your approach, familiarity and routine are your friends. What follows are some tips which worked for me.

Train for competition

When you are training, imagine you are in a competition. Lift correctly and try to picture a referee telling you to put the bar down at the end of each lift. That extra half second under the weight will accustom you competition rules so you don’t have to adapt to them on the day.

Change your training “spot”

You never know what you’ll be looking at when you lift in a competition so it’s a bad idea to get used to always lifting in the same spot in the gym. If your gym has more than one platform, train on a different platform each workout; if not, try turning to face a different way for some training sessions. It is also helpful to regularly visit other gyms for a workout.

All of this makes you more focused on the bar and platform than on the environment around. The one thing all competitions have in common is that you will be lifting a heavy weight on a platform. Whatever the environment, from a local gym competition to the Olympic Games, the competitor stands on a platform on his / her own and performs a snatch or clean & jerk with a weight which is challenging to them. Focusing on this helps you to stop focusing on, and being intimidated by, the surrounding environment.

Build a pre-training and pre-competition routine

Before each training session, watch the same video of your favourite lifter to inspire you to train hard. If possible, edit this together with video of your best performance so you start to associate your best performance and your favourite lifter with good training sessions. Listen to the same piece of music before each training session and eat the same pre-training snack.

If you routinely do all of these things, it is easy to do the same before each competition. This gives you a link between competing and training, reminds you that they are basically the same thing and helps settle your nerves. I used to use a different tune in the build up for each competition (ranging from Hanson to Motorhead) but kept the same video, Waldemar Malak lifting in the 1992 Olympic Games followed by some of my own lifting.

If nerves are affecting your performance, why not give these techniques a try? For me, they made the difference between missing all my lifts and getting a gold medal. It was worth taking the chance.

Giles adds: thanks to Professor Dave Collins, sports scientist and psychologist, who nagged me into trying these techniques and in doing so contributed significantly to my eventual successes.

Do you get nervous when competing? Have you tried any strategies to overcome them? Share your experiences in the comments below!


January 24th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Coping with negative comments about your diet

My BLT without the bread. What crazy nonsense!

Anyone who has successfully changed their eating habits away from the norm (sugar and fat laden processed crap and swathes of starchy carbohydrate) to a diet which keeps them lean, fit and energetic (generally speaking, high in protein, veggies and fats, with carbs appropriate to goals) has probably encountered anything from mild teasing to outright hostility from co-workers, friends or family.

It’s important to understand that they are the ones who feel uncomfortable and threatened – there is no need for you to feel that way.

Now, why other people should feel so uncomfortable and threatened by one’s lunch is complicated, but what I’m interested in is how do you deal with this?

Most of my personal training clients have this problem, and I did too when I was an office worker. You won’t be surprised to learn that I used to try to win people over by talking about it – proselytising, even.

The problem with ‘healthy debate’ in the office environment is that it can all too easily descend into outright argument as people defend their positions. People have been fed so much misinformation for so long, they aren’t going to change their views overnight. Anyway, no-one wants to look like the loser in front of their co-workers.

Although it is always good to discuss things with people who are receptive to it, I now think that this tactic was asking for trouble on many occasions.

Nowadays, I simply say to people, “I’ve had great results eating this way and I love it!” This is difficult to argue against. If you are just starting out and haven’t got your great results quite yet, another way to put it is to say: “I want to do something different and this is really working for me.”

Rather than saying something that implies the other person is wrong – such as “it’s healthier to eat this way” – make it about your own personal choice. It’s harder to get angry with someone who has simply made a personal choice to do something a particular way (although some people will always find a way…).

You can also mention benefits that you have experienced, such as “I feel more energetic eating this way” or “I don’t get as hungry as I used to.” Again, it’s hard to argue against someone’s personal experience, whereas it is easy to argue the toss over statements like “fat is good for you” or “wholegrains are healthy”.

I’m lucky enough to have come out the other side after many years, but what strategies have you employed? Has it hampered you in reaching your goals or did you shrug it off?

Share your experiences below!

January 20th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

10 good reasons why women should stay away from weights

Woman lifting a heavy dumbbell

Put it down, woman!

1. You might break a nail.

2. You could even bruise a male ego or two.

3. You’ll eat properly and still be able to lose fat. Work of the devil!

4. You’ll look more like an athlete and less like a runway model. Skeletal is sexy, right?

5. You’ll be able to lift heavy things without asking a man for help, thus upsetting the balance of the universe.

6. You will be seen in public without high heels.

7. You’ll grunt, sweat and feel sore. So unladylike!

8. You’ll be proud of your pert bum instead of being self conscious about it like a normal woman.

9. You’ll be more active and confident instead of sitting around looking pretty. What are you, some kind of feminist?

10. You’ll be stronger, leaner and sexier – and we all know where that can lead!