Updated: Apr 22
Have you ever been afraid of strength training because you thought it was only for bodybuilders and athletes who want to bulk up? Those days are long gone.
According to Club Industry fitness trend statistics, strength training has jumped from 6th place in 2007 to 2nd place in 2023, just behind wearable technology.
Women, in particular, used to fear strength training because they were afraid of getting too bulky. But thanks to some badass women like Rachel McLish, Jane Fonda, Kiana Tom, and Cory Everson, that stigma is a thing of the past. These women proved that strength training could give you a strong, muscular, and feminine physique.
The Fitness America competition was also a significant turning point for women in strength training. Created in 1989 by fitness industry pioneers Jim Lorimer and Jack Lalanne, this fitness pageant was designed for women to showcase their athletic physiques and stage presence. It's now part of the National Physique Committee and includes categories for both men and women, such as fitness, bikini, figure, physique, and bodybuilding.
Personally, I got interested in competitive bodybuilding after watching the Fitness America pageants, and one of my favorite competitors was Mia Finnegan.
But strength training isn't just for competitors or bodybuilders anymore. Resistance training has numerous health benefits that go beyond building muscle and strength.
One of the most significant benefits is its ability to prevent falls, especially in older individuals. Resistance training improves mobility, reducing the risk of debilitating stumbles. Plus, physical activity, in general, can help preserve brain power in older adults, improving blood flow to the brain and increasing BDNF, a protein that supports long-term memory and overall cognitive health.
Resistance training also plays a crucial role in helping seniors survive cancer. Studies have shown that seniors with higher amounts of lean mass are more likely to survive cancer with fewer complications and have a lower risk of recurrence.
And if that's not enough, resistance training helps older adults stay lean, keep blood sugar in check, and preserve metabolic health. Plus, research shows that adults who work out once or twice a week for 60 to 120 minutes have a lower risk of death from any cause.
So, whether you're a seasoned gym-goer or looking to get back into working out, strength training is an excellent option. You don't have to be a bodybuilder or athlete to benefit from it. Even using light weights and high reps can help you get rid of older muscle cells and replace them with new ones.
If you’re not already strength training, it’s not too late to start. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, you'll be amazed at the difference it can make in your life.