What Kind of Fitness Programs Work Best for Women?
Why don’t we work out as often as we’d like?
A study of British women may shed some light on that subject, according to celebrity trainer Holly Perkins.
The research revealed that 75 percent of women in the study want to exercise more, but they’re discouraged for fear of being judged by others. The women surveyed worried about how they would look while exercising in front of others, their inexperience in personal fitness and the idea that they’re putting themselves first, ahead of their children.
“Whether she’s a stay-at-home mom, a busy executive or somewhere in the middle, these are concerns most women have about fitness,” Perkins says. “I believe this reflects their self-image, and it’s a shame that so many women live their lives short-changing themselves.”
Even today, most fitness programs women come across neglect important parts of the average woman’s mindset, she says. Many gyms have spinning and other classes targeting women, but they lack the comprehensive aspect so many women are searching for, she says.
“There are plenty of women who frequent gyms, but I think the culture of most of those places are framed by a male-dominated attitude, which is more comfortable blocking out ‘gym time’ in their schedule,” says Perkins, who recently released a home-exercise system designed specifically for women called baladea (www.baladea.com), with regimens she developed to fuse fitness and wellness exercises. “I believe a woman’s attitude craves a more holistic approach, one in which overall well-being is factored into a how-to lifestyle program.”
Perkins describes what works for women in a fitness program.
• Fun. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t help us reach our fitness goals. As women, we are not afraid of a healthy muscle burn, sweating and commitment – we’re designed to carry babies for nine months, and then deliver them, after all. However, we are much more relationship-oriented, and we thrive in positive feelings. The way to a woman’s heart in fitness is fun.
• A purpose. For men who work out, the activity is almost a purpose in itself. There is a sense of accomplishment in lifting heavy weights and “gettin’ it done.” Women want to shine; we want to look and feel like we never felt possible. We want to be in touch with who we are, and fitness synergized with overall well-being can do that.
• A plan. It’s good for anyone starting a fitness program to have a blueprint for what they’d like to achieve, and steps for improvement along the way. If you’re inexperienced, an introduction and detailed plan can help you to ease into the process. It’s a waste of energy to be confused, uncertain or unfocused. Following a stage-by-stage Confusion or uncertainty is a waste of energy, and following specific new workout phases helps us to maximize our effort.
• Synergy. We benefit from using different types of exercise: If you think women don’t need weights, think again. Resistance band training increases your power and revs your body’s fat-burning engine. We also want to be lithe, supple and physically elegant. Yoga helps us reshape trouble zones, and something I call “flow” optimizes flexibility and beautifies posture. And, when we are done, we can enjoy a calm that reinforces our motive for inner and outer beauty.
Holly Perkins is a national fitness expert and developer of baladea (www.baladea.com)), a customizable fitness and wellness system for women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).