Why Climbing Should Become Your 2022 Hobby

March 18, 2022

Written by Kylie Tidmore, Rock Wall Manager

Six years ago, I began climbing. I clung to the rock, struck with new anxiety, breathing heavily — my mind is racing trying to figure out the puzzle before me before my body gives out. My toes edged higher and higher on tiny holds as my hands sunk into white-coated pockets. The higher I climbed, the better I felt. Climbing centered me. It allowed my brain and my body to work together in an all-consuming and focusing way that grounded me.

Six years ago, I walked into an indoor climbing gym for the first time and was overwhelmed by colorful rocks, rope, tape, and puzzles. This was it for me; the beginning of a grand romance–love at first sight–if you will. Climbing became my safe haven. It became a way to push myself when I felt mentally blocked. It became a release and a distraction from anxiety and fear. I climbed for 3 hours the day I graduated high school in order to distract myself from the life change happening later that day, and I climbed after getting in the worst fight with my best friend (and sent my first v5).

So, what’s the appeal of climbing?

If you are someone who has never experienced the sport, I hope that I can do it even a bit of justice in the following paragraphs. I also hope that you will give it a chance in real life as well.

To start, rock climbing is physical. It’s a unique workout that is dynamic, widely varied, and always changing.

Rock climbing is also mental; it’s a puzzle that requires a specific solution. While climbing does require physical strength, it also requires mental tact—the ability to problem solve and figure out a way to make the route work for you.

For example, I am far from the strongest climber at the gym, but what I lack in brute strength I make up in my ability to creatively use my body to make sets work in my favor. In climbing, you fail a lot. Climbing is not really a sport someone can try for the first time and be shockingly good at. It requires a keen sense of body awareness as well as development of specific muscles and tendons that aren’t really used for other activities. Climbing takes work and perseverance. Failure in this sport is a big part of success, which will inevitably come through hard work.

Community & Camaraderie. Aside from all of the individualistic benefits to climbing, I’m willing to bet that 99% of climbers will agree that the best part of the sport is the community and camaraderie that takes place in a climbing gym. Climbing is a good way to make friends from all parts of Liberty’s campus and get acquainted with people you might never meet otherwise. In my almost four years working at the LaHaye Rock Wall, I am certain I have met at least one person in every school/department and have learned so much about different majors and fields of study through it. I have made some of my best friends through climbing and know that as long as I continue this social sport, I will always have a group of people to practice it with.

What are you waiting for?

If you are looking for a new hobby this year, I implore you to come to the LaHaye Rock Wall and give climbing a go. It will stretch you mentally and physically, and will leave you feeling encouraged by a new community of people.

Making Time for Intramural Sports

January 21, 2022

Written by Sammy Flecker, Intramural Sports Coordinator

Is your class schedule full? Stuck in labs or studying in the library more often than not? Does your significant other need a date night, but you have an Intramural basketball game scheduled? If you didn’t know, there are other sports you can play where the scheduling is more flexible, with single-player or doubles formatting. Playing tennis, cornhole, spikeball, disc golf, or racquetball allows you to avoid the stress of time management and multiple-day commitments while continuing to get your competitive fix.

Individual Sports

Disc Golf, Racquetball, and Tennis are three of the individual roster sports Intramurals offers to students. Participating in these sports requires extra communication but benefits players with flexibility. Participants schedule matches directly with their opponent. Each sport has a specific facility to be used, but you work with your opponent to plan a day and time. You could play at 6 a.m. on a Monday or at 11 p.m. on a Saturday. You get to choose!

To schedule a match for these 3 sports, players can access participant information on IMLeagues to connect and set a date to compete. Best part? You qualify for playoffs if you play at least one game before the regular season comes to an end. Solid ground rules, right?

Doubles Options

Tennis is also available in a doubles format. You can sign up with a roommate or friend or join as a free agent team to meet new people. These are scheduled the same way as individual matches.

Spikeball and Cornhole are other doubles options that don’t require a full roster to play on game day. However, you do need to fulfill an adequate number of roster players when creating your team. The difference between Spikeball, Cornhole, and the other sports mentioned is that these two sports are on a set schedule. The benefit is the commitment level is lower than most sports and only 1 night per week!

Tournaments

Looking for even less commitment? Intramural Sports also offers multiple tournaments throughout the semester! Ranging from billiards to kickball to dodgeball to wiffleball and more, these tournaments consist of round-robin play and then a single-elimination playoff.

Ready to give Intramurals a shot this semester? Registration is open! View the Spring 2022 schedule and register on IMLeagues today.

 

Finding True Fitness in 2022

January 6, 2022

Written by Heather Salvia, Associate Director of Programs and Fitness

When you think of fitness — what comes to mind? Maybe it’s big muscles, marathon runners, CrossFit athletes, or any of the like. You’re not wrong, but as we approach another new year, maybe we can look at fitness in a new way. Here’s my definition for fitness in 2022:

Fitness is how well your body functions and responds to stress to help you thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Many of us are stressed out, depleted, and burnt-out day in and day out. We may not be able to control the stress of our circumstances and schedule each day but finding true fitness can help your body become resilient to stress in the days to come. Here are a few ways to do this.

Intuitive Exercise

Exercise can be a great asset to health and fitness or its greatest foe. Here is how you can use intuitive exercise to keep stress down:

Use the Two R’s

  • Ask yourself before your workout, “Am I rested? Am I replenished?”. When you sleep well and feed yourself well, your workouts will glean greater gains than beating it when it’s down.

Assess Your Stress

  • If you have a workout program that requires you to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) or heavy strength training 4-5x week (or more), check that. Exercise is expensive — it is a stressor. If you are already stressed one day, maybe opt for a nice walk outside or a slow yoga class.

Sync Your Cycle

  • For females: your monthly cycle can be synced up to how you exercise. There are certain times of the month that offer greater opportunities for higher intensity work, and times that offer greater opportunities for rest and reflection. This will have a positive impact on your cycles each month.

Nourish Your Body

Most of us are not eating enough or at the right frequency to keep our body’s metabolic functions working at tip top shape. The primary role of your metabolism is to produce energy (ATP) for your body systems to function optimally. Here are some ways to nourish your body and help your metabolism thrive:

Eat Enough

  • Make sure you have a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat at every meal. There are tools to determine your caloric and macronutrient needs depending on your basal metabolic rate and activity level.

Meal Frequency

  • Eat nutrient-dense meals/snacks every 2-4 hours to keep blood sugar and energy stable throughout the day.

Micronutrients

  • Prioritize the micronutrient content in your foods (vitamins and minerals).

Fasted Workouts

  • Avoid fasted workouts to prevent the body from rising stress hormones and further mineral depletion.

Breakfast

  • Eat a nutrient-dense breakfast with protein, carbs, and fat. This change alone can work wonders for energy stabilization.

Intentional Alone Time

Whether you are a student, a parent, or just in the thick of adulthood with all the expectations and responsibilities, it can be hard to take intentional time to refill your cup. This depends on who you are and what you like to do, but here are a few tips for getting this time:

Get Outside

  • Whether you’re buried in your studies or glued to your work computer, take a break (or two, or three) for just a few minutes to walk outside. Breathe. Be in the sunlight. Pray and release. Repeat.

Schedule Family Creative Time

  • After a long day, a couple of nights a week before bedtime, throw on some relaxing music, bring out the markers for the kids and have individual creative time — you can journal, paint, draw, color, or just breathe as a time of intentional meditation. Not a parent? Do this on your own or find ways to creatively rest with your roommates.

Schedule It Out

  • If you’re a tight-locked scheduler, pencil in time every day (or every few days) for you to have a predetermined amount of time to yourself to participate in your favorite activity. Your friends, co-workers, and loved ones will thank you!

Finally, you don’t have to do everything at once. Take it slow, implement small changes and see how you react. Each person will need different recipes of resilience to find their true fitness.

Common Aquatic Myths Debunked

October 14, 2021

Written by Luke Leach, LaHaye Aquatics Manager

Many of us love going to the pool to swim for exercise or fun. Little do we know that many of the common “facts” we associate with the pool are myths. In today’s post we are going to dive into some of the most popular myths.

Myth 1: I should wait half an hour after eating before swimming.

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s false. The primary reason for this myth is specifically because of younger children. We do not want children to throw up or poop in the pool. When we encourage kids to wait 30 minutes after eating before entering the pool, the time allows their stomachs to settle and helps decide if they need to go to the bathroom. This also greatly reduces the chance of a pool closure because of an unexpected accident.

We would recommend having a sandwich, protein bar, or other light foods before engaging in a swim workout. Each person reacts differently to the food they eat, but in general swimming before the 30-minute mark is not an issue.

Myth 2: Chlorine will turn my hair green.

Chlorine does not turn your hair green, but there is another chemical in the pool that can — copper sulfate. Copper Sulfate is used in many pools to help combat the growth of algae in the pool. When exposed to this chemical for long periods of time, you can start to see hair turn toward a greenish color. Chlorine still dries out hair, so remember to wash and rinse well after being in the pool or a hot tub.

Myth 3: I should hold my breath when I do my strokes.

It is not recommended to hold your breath for a long period of time while you are swimming. Instead, to be more efficient, you should gently and continuously breathe out of your nose while you are underwater. Blowing bubbles when under the water is beneficial because it empties your lungs, allowing them to prepare for the inhalation when you breathe.

To practice this, we recommend blowing bubbles out of your nose and breathing every three strokes. If you are interested in improving your stroke or breathing techniques, feel free to check out our swim lesson program.

Myth 4: Peeing in the pool is harmless.

Okay let’s admit it, we’ve all done this before. Frankly, peeing in the pool is perceived as harmless but that is also, you guessed it, false. Urine is considered a contaminant, and in large amounts, it can be harmful to the chemical balance of the pool. Fortunately, we can combat urine and other contaminants with chlorine and other treatments at our facility.

At the LaHaye Aquatic Center, we are very fortunate to treat our pool with UV light. UV light is great because it allows us to use less chlorine in the water and makes the water less tough on skin and hair. Both the UV light and chlorine kill any bacteria that may be accidentally secreted into the pool. The used-up chlorine is then filtered out of the pool each hour.

While this is a really cool way that we keep the pool clean, just remember, the pool is not your bathroom.

Myth 5: I don’t need to shower before entering the hot tub or pool.

Most people don’t shower before entering pools or hot tubs. Because a hot tub is a much smaller area of water, all the oils and dirt on your body will mess up the chemical balance causing the hot tubs to close for rebalancing. In addition, pools can quickly become out of balance if enough people get into the water without showering. We kindly ask that people shower to help keep LaHaye Aquatics Center clean, healthy, and open more frequently.

Myth 6: You’re too old to learn how to swim.

A lot of people who never learned how to swim as a child feel like it’s too late to take lessons as adults. Adults can learn just as quickly, if not quicker, than children. If you learn the basics of swimming form and technique and spend time practicing, you will be doing laps in no time. As an adult, you can stay focused for longer periods of time, allowing you to hone in on the practice aspect of swimming. Not to mention that children’s motor skills are not fully developed, which is why they usually take a little longer to learn how to swim.

Campus Recreation offers swim lessons for people of all different levels of expertise. We have a variety of swim instructors with various skillsets to meet the needs of our members! If you are interested in becoming a better swimmer, please check out our Swim Fit program.

The Benefits of Intramural Sports

September 16, 2021

Written by Kailey Bandara, Intramural Sports Manager

As a manager who has played and worked for Intramural Sports, I can say first-hand that there are many benefits to participating in Intramural Sports. Not only did it help create hundreds of memories with teammates and coworkers, but it was also the perfect starting point to getting involved on campus. Here are four of the major benefits of participating in Intramural Sports:

Meet New People

College is a time of transition. Getting plugged in can be a daunting task when navigating class schedules and settling into a new dorm or apartment. The person you sit next to in class can become your best friend, but sometimes it can be a lot harder than that to form friendships and meet new people. Speaking from a place of personal experience, joining an Intramural team opened the door to having opportunities every week to make memories in a fun and competitive environment. You can join a team with your hall or play the role of “General Manager” and add people to your team that you have met from other places on campus. Whichever route you choose by building a team or joining one, you will never know the fun and lifelong friendships you can build when you decide to participate in Intramural Sports.

Great Source of Exercise & Stress Relief

Through the craziness of classes and other responsibilities students might have during their time at Liberty, it can be difficult to get a healthy amount of exercise into their weekly routines. While going to the gym to workout is a good solution, doesn’t playing a game with friends twice a week sound more fun? Whether a student is running down the field to catch a touchdown pass or dribbling the ball down the court on a fast break, Intramural Sports provides a great source of exercise every week without even lifting a weight. In addition to exercise, participating in Intramural Sports is also a great way to manage stress and to give a student a quick break from their studies. Many students have used their weekly Intramural Sports games as a way to relieve the stress of school, life, or whatever else they are dealing with.

Work AND Play

One of the newer benefits to participating in Intramural Sports is that we now offer the students the opportunity to play in the sport that they work. This means that if a student is working for basketball as a referee, they can also create or join an Intramural basketball team and enjoy playing in the league. This means you can still get your work hours in AND relieve a little stress in the same night. This policy allows students to have the best of both worlds — to both compete and work in their favorite sport.

Free T-Shirt Opportunity

The general consensus about college students is that they are obsessed with opportunities for free t-shirts. Whether it is their attendance at a Liberty basketball game or staying until the fourth quarter at a football game, t-shirts are a huge motivating factor for college student’s participation. This remains the same for Intramural Sports. Many students have expressed their determination to win the championship in their league because of the bragging rights that wearing an Intramural Champion t-shirt brings.

Intramural Sports is a great contribution to a student’s college experience. Because of its influence on building friendships, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and providing a fun competitive environment, Intramural Sports has become a huge factor in what students look forward to every year. Have we convinced you to sign up? Visit Liberty.edu/IMS to learn more about Intramural Sports & register for the Fall Season!

Preparing for Your First Rock Wall Visit

August 20, 2021

Written by Kylie Tidmore, Rock Wall Monitor

In the two years that I have worked at the LaHaye Rock Wall, I have encountered countless people that “really want to come climb, but they are nervous or intimidated.” I have heard countless people say they wish they had taken advantage of the rock wall while they had the opportunity.

First of all, at the wall we love new climbers! Most people will agree that the best part of climbing is the community—and you being a part of that community will only make the experience better! If you’re nervous, use this blog to learn some basic rock wall lingo as well as some at home exercises you can do to prepare for your first rock wall visit.

Checking In

When you come to the rock wall, the first thing you will see is our silver desk, shining brightly with the sun’s reflection. We will be sitting behind it, smiling, and ready to welcome you in! You will have the option to climb on the bouldering wall, the grasshopper board, or the auto-belay tower.

We do have free shoe rentals as well, but a lot of climbers do bring their own shoes. If you find yourself wanting to pursue this sport, check out some great options for climbing shoes on REI’s website!

Bouldering and Hold Types

Bouldering is a shorter version of climbing. When bouldering, no ropes are used and the climber falls safely onto a padded surface when they are done. The bouldering wall, as well as the tower, is covered in brightly covered rocks that we call holds. If you were to walk around and try out these holds, you would notice that there are different shapes and grips required to use these.

Jug

The easiest hold is called a jug and is a deep pocket in a rock where you are able to hold on well.

Crimp

Another type is called a crimp, where the rock is a thin edge on the top and the climber may only be able to get their fingertips on the hold.

Pinch

Another type is called a pinch, where the climber has to literally pinch the hold to stay on. The last major hold we often use is a sloper, which looks like a ball, and the climber has to hold with an open palm.

Exercises to Get You Ready

Climbing uses a unique set of muscles other exercises typically do not utilize, including hand and finger strength. Going into climbing slowly and carefully, with adequate warmups, is crucial to avoid straining a weak muscle that has not been trained yet. Pushups are a popular exercise for climbers because they counteract the muscles used to pull the climber up the wall. Climbers also like using hangboards which are specifically designed for rock climbers to train and condition for climbing. During quarantine, I found myself hanging on door frames and bricks that stuck out from my house, as a makeshift hangboard. Doing these exercises builds up finger strength, but again should be done gradually. Another easy ‘diy’ is taking a block of wood and attaching a rock, or other weight to it, and seeing how long you can pinch it (mimicking a pinch or sloper hold). If you’re serious about training, check out this link from REI on creating your own hangboard at home!

See You Soon!

Now that you have become more familiar with how the LaHaye Rock Wall operates, I hope you will have the confidence to come and see us this semester! Again, we love welcoming new people and want to help you fall in love with climbing just like we have! Grab some friends who are up for a challenge and head to the wall. Want to experience a class first? Check out our Fall 2021 offerings here!

Using a Treadmill for a Great Workout

July 26, 2021

Written by Heather Salvia, Associate Director of Fitness & Programs

On those days when you can’t workout outside, a treadmill can be a great indoor exercise tool. If you have ever thought working out on a treadmill sounds boring, you aren’t alone, but here are a couple of engaging, versatile workouts with varying intensity to try on the treadmill next time you are stuck indoors.

The Walk-Run

This workout is good for someone who doesn’t love to run for long periods of time, or someone getting back into running. The alternating of walking/running will also break up the impact. Incline can be between 0-2 or more if desired.

  • Start off with a 1-mile warm-up – light jog around 4.5mph
  • At the 1-mile mark, boost up your speed (between 5.5-6.5mph) for ¾ of a mile
  • Turn the speed down to brisk walking pace and walk for ¼ mile
  • Repeat this interval (can increase speed during the run beyond 6.5 if fitness level allows) for between 20-45 minutes
  • Cool down with a 1-mile walk

Mile Repeats

This workout is good for anyone who is looking into increase their speed in running or just looking for an overall good workout. Incline can be between 0-2 or more if desired.

  • Start off with a 1-mile warm-up – light jog around 4-4.5mph or a comfortable pace
  • Walk for ¼ mile to prepare for the 1st-mile repeat
  • After ¼ mile turn up your speed to your desired pace and run as fast as you can sustain for 1-mile
  • Turn the speed down to walking and recover for 4 minutes
  • 2nd mile-repeat – run as fast as you can sustain for 1-mile, seeing if you can keep your same pace or beat it
  • Turn the speed down to walking and recover for 4 minutes
  • 3rd mile-repeat
  • Turn the speed down to walking and recover for 1-mile

Incline Sprints (Hop-on/Hop-off)

This workout is more advanced and for anyone looking to amp up their conditioning. In the beginning of the workout, take a few practice rounds to make sure you can grab the rails and safely step off the treadmill during rest periods.

  • Rounds: 10
  • Speed: 10 mph
  • Incline: 10%
  • Work Period: 10 seconds
  • Rest Period: 10 seconds

The treadmill can be a great tool for a variety of conditioning work – if you know how to use it! I hope this blog gave you some ideas and inspiration for your next treadmill workout.

Upgrade Your Exercise: Swimming for Fitness

March 19, 2021

Written by Morgan Segner, Aquatics Manager & Swim Instructor

Swimming has long been seen as one of the best full-body exercises and can strengthen almost all major muscle groups without the concern of injuries associated with high-impact workouts. It acts as a physical and neural exercise through breathing exercises and the use of sharpened focus. In this blog, we’ll review all of the positive roles learning to swim and swimming for fitness plays to your overall health.

Swimming as a Full Body Workout

Since swimming is a high endurance sport, it allows anyone choosing to swim for cardio purposes a way to burn off a great deal of calories. As a rule, swimmers burn around 3 calories/mile per total body weight.  So a 220lb swimmer would burn around 660 calories/mile depending on the intensity. Swimming as a cardio workout compared to running is usually judged at a 4:1 ratio—this means that when you swim one mile you’re burning as many calories as a four mile run!  You can also differ your swimming strokes and techniques to work and train different muscle groups.

Freestyle — works your arm muscles the most, mainly your biceps and triceps, as well as your calf muscles with the kick.

Breaststroke — works your glutes and quadriceps muscles with the kick, and your pectoral chest muscles.

Backstroke — engages the latissimus dorsi or lats, your lower back muscles, and the triceps.

Butterfly — tones and strengthens your shoulder and arm muscles, mostly your deltoids and triceps, and well as your upper back and neck muscles.

Whether an experienced or amateur swimmer, it is possible to work major muscle groups that you may not be able to work with other forms of cardio—all while burning tons of calories!

Low Impact

Swimming is often hailed as the go-to exercise for athletes and non-athletes looking to recover or rest from certain injuries without further aggravating or damaging those areas. The resistance of the water while exercising allows swimmers vigorous activity at a low impact to joints and most muscle groups. If you are looking for a workout when you’re concerned about joint pain, looking to reduce muscle fatigue, or relive stress on certain muscles, swimming is definitely a great choice.

Hypoxic Workouts and the Neural Benefits of Swimming

Hypoxic workouts are best explained as a vigorous activity with limited use of oxygen. When swimming, this is best practiced as going longer with more strokes with less breaths or no breaths until the other side of the pool is reached. Hypoxic workouts are quite easily achieved when swimming since normally your face is submerged in the water, and your body is performing one of the stroke techniques. Hypoxic workouts are seen by some researchers as a decent way of improving aerobic capacity, essentially training the body to use oxygen more efficiently when exercising, however it is not universally agreed upon. That aside hypoxic workouts have other benefits:

  • Since you are breathing less, hypoxic workouts allow you to focus more on your stroke technique and address issues in form and allows for a more accurate movement patterns in the water.
  • Better control in open water is another benefit of hypoxic workouts. This is beneficial when swimming in rougher waters like the ocean and a regular breathing pattern may not be reliable.
  • Hypoxic workouts are a great way to warmup for a regular swim since they boost your heart rate without having to go a long distance or pushing yourself too hard. With your heart rate high, you can then do a regular swim while burning more calories.

When performed correctly and safely, hypoxic workouts can also help to improve focus in the water and are considered by some to be a form of aerobic meditation. There are many similarities between hypoxic workouts and popular breath control techniques that both help to reduce stress, improve focus, and improve energy levels for the day.

Swim Fitness

Though often seen as a very demanding exercise in terms of technique and form, swimming is a high-intensity aerobic exercise that can be performed by anyone with proper training. Swimming provides efficient forms of strength training, vigorous cardio, and low-impact/recovery workouts with the added benefits of higher energy levels and reduced stress if done properly. LaHaye Rec & Fit offers Swim Fitness and private swim classes for anyone interested in improving their technique or simply looking for a great cardio workout. So, if this interested you, get to a pool and start swimming!

What is the Grasshopper Board?

March 4, 2021

Written by Kylie Tidmore, LaHaye Rock Wall Manager

The LaHaye Rock Wall is a special place that hosts a unique, eclectic community who comes together to solve puzzles that flex their minds and bodies. Through the variety of competitions, challenges, and new sets the LaHaye Rock Wall has to offer, strangers have become unified friends as they work through problems and encourage others in their pursuits. The newly installed Grasshopper Board is a really neat training technology tool that can help advance anyone’s climbing skills—but it’s also much more than that. The Grasshopper Board is the newest thing at the wall that the community can use to come together.

So, What is it?

The Grasshopper Board features a variety of holds and uses an app to light up different routes. The app is super easy to navigate and houses a variety of problems at all difficulty levels, making it easy for climbers of every skill level to get involved.

Through the app, users have the opportunity to light up the board with any of the problems listed. One of the coolest features is the ability to create your own problems for the board. You simply select the holds you want and specify which are for feet only, start holds, and finish holds. Which, let me say, is WAY easier than dragging out ladders to set on any of the other walls we have!

Create Your Own Routes

In my almost three years working at the LaHaye Rock Wall, setting has consistently been one of my favorite parts of the job (despite the aforementioned dragging out of ladders). This part of the job has challenged me as a climber myself and as a part of the community—we, as setters, have the desire to create things other people would rally around as well.

But now, through the Grasshopper Board, everyone gets to be a setter! It has been so cool to see climbers show their friends their new problems and it has been inspiring, as an employee, to see people with no setting experience use their creativity to create some super cool problems! The app does not only display sets created by the Liberty community; it also provides sets created by climbers around the world. Meaning, there is nearly an endless supply of boulder problems! This allows the Liberty community to climb sets by people like Josh Larsen, an Olympic Route Setter, and Nathaniel Coleman, an American professional climber, from the comfort of the gym they know and love.

The Grasshopper board is incredibly well done and has given the rock wall at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center a new and exciting edge. The board is open to all and we encourage you to give it a shot! Make a reservation here to try it for yourself.

Women on Weights

February 19, 2021

Written by Tabitha Earwood, Personal Training Manager

As a personal trainer, I hear women say these two phrases all the time: “Lifting weights will make you bulky,” and “I don’t want to be bulky—I just want to be toned!” Nothing is more frustrating for me than these two misconceptions. Since our perceptions shape what we do, believing something that isn’t rooted in fact can lead us to avoid the very practices that could help us grow. One of my passions is helping women understand their body’s physiology so they can be empowered to make educated choices.

I Promise, You Won’t Look Like a Man

Female physiology just doesn’t allow us to gain a masculine physique. Because males have more testosterone than females, women aren’t able to gain muscle at the same rate or size as men. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends similar general guidelines for both men and women, including strength training 2-3 days per week.

Carbs Can Equal Curves

Strength training can introduce you to a whole new world of understanding about your body’s physiology. Most people don’t realize that building muscle is one of the only effective ways to speed up your metabolism. The only two places that your body stores carbs as fuel (in the form of glycogen) is in your liver and muscles. Having more muscle increases your insulin sensitivity, which means that the cells of your body use glucose more effectively. Muscles are calorie-burning machine that we should all want more of!

Build Those Bones

What most women don’t know is this: bone mass usually peaks in a person’s mid to late 20s. Later in life you, cannot regain lost bone density; you can only slow down the rate of loss. Now is your time to build those bones to decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis. Strength training exerts healthy stress which stimulates bone growth, and it is the only way to improve your bone density.

Control What You Can

Everyone has something they want to change about themselves. Some things can be changed, and others cannot. One of the reasons I love strength training is that it helps you channel all your energy toward something you can control. You can control your effort. You can control your form. You can choose to show up consistently. While you can’t reduce fat in specific areas, you can train specifically to gain muscle in certain areas! 

Start Where You Are

Everyone in the gym started somewhere, and I can guarantee no one was born knowing exactly what to do. You must start somewhere. Your first step could be Googling exercise techniques. You could download any number of apps, including Apple Fitness, Motify, Freeletics, or Nike Training Club. Take it one thing at a time, and know that you won’t get it perfect the first time. Repetition is key.

Bring a Friend

Bringing a friend can also help to eliminate the nerves of trying something new. Just remember, you are not alone! The Women on Weights Workshop offered Saturday, March 6 is your opportunity to learn the fundamentals of strength training with other women just like you. Together, we will delve into basic movement patterns, learn the fundamentals of using free weights, and discuss how to create your own individualized plan to see steady progress. You can register for the workshop 24 hours in advance through the Membership Portal.

Ask for Help

Your next step could be reaching out the personal trainers at LaHaye to schedule a free consultation. Getting a professional to guide you can help to eliminate all the fears of not knowing what to do. Regardless of how scared you may feel, not doing anything at all is even scarier. You will grow both mentally and physically by learning to strength train. Taking the risk to try something new will be worth it!