By Maria Howard
I have been attending the gym for almost two months now, three times a week. I have brought new trainers, a couple of gym tops but I’m still missing one thing...the lean and toned muscles!
Although I don’t yet have the body to grace the cover of a fitness magazine, I shouldn’t complain. I am making good progress. I can see it, I can feel it and I’m also starting to have more energy in my daily life. But being the impatient person I am sometimes known to be, I’m keen to see more.
Powerlifting for men and women is having something of renaissance in terms of participation and the coverage it receives in fitness magazines and websites.
Many different styles of fitness come in and out of fashion but powerlifting has always been there and at the moment it seems to be getting the recognition it deserves.
In the United States alone, the number of women powerlifters has doubled since 2015 – and this includes only those women who compete in powerlifting events, not the uncounted number of women who enjoying the training each week. “It’s simply because it works,” said coach Scott Halliday (left). “Powerlifting is a great and efficient way to workout. The three fundamentals of squat, bench press, and deadlift engages muscles across the entire body.”
Starting as a complete beginner, the first month or two is about getting the movements and technique correct. Once that becomes familiar, then you can make real progress. Keeping a sense of humour and enjoying the sessions during the learning stage is easy at PFG as coach Scott keeps it fun but challenging. It’s a supportive environment and you don’t feel self-conscious as everyone has to start somewhere.
Learning the proper form for the three main power lifts takes a bit of practice, which is why you should find a local coach.
One of the things that can put women off is the thought of ‘bulking up’ but in my experience that hasn’t been the case. I have a healthy appetite, but unless I start eating for three people, I’m not going to get bulky. The plan for me is to continue to eat well and aim for a leaner and stronger body and thanks to the sessions, I can see that starting to happen.
This week I was working on ‘Scott’s Squats’. You lift the bar on to the shoulders and when you are ready, you bend your knees into the squat position until the hip is lower than the top of the knee. You then return to an upright position and lock the knees. It’s great for hamstrings, hips, stomach and also the entire back. As with the deadlifts, technique is more important than brute force. After a few warm ups, I managed 67.5kg, which is 7.5kg more than when I first started. Another bit of welcome progress on what has been an enjoyable and rewarding journey so far.
The lean and toned body isn’t there just yet, but just like my latest new gym top, it’s in the post.