All the motivation in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t have a strong fitness plan to follow. To that end, here are some simple and effective training strategies to follow at the gym to help you reach your goals. It centres on weight lifting, which is an awesome “you against you” empowering sport activity that anyone can enjoy! If you have never really tried weight training before it may feel intimidating. Or ladies in particular may steer clear of the weight area in the gym in fear of getting “bulky” or looking manly. Throughout my more than 15 years as a trainer, athlete, and educator I can assure you, that isn’t going to happen. Women simply don’t have the genetics or testosterone naturally present to add “manly” muscles rapidly or dramatically. What will happen as you start training regularly with weights? Muscles Develop: They become denser and burn more calories all day long, and night! By adding just 5 lbs. of lean muscle you can burn an additional 250-300 calories per day. That being said, if you lift weights, develop muscle and then eat a surplus of unmeasured calories, male or female, you will get bigger. Bones Build: Over time, strength training has been found to increase bone density and therefore help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Reduced Back Pain: Keeping your core abdominal and lower back muscles strong will improve your posture and reduce the risk of strain. Better Mood Boost: Strength training has been shown to have a positive impact on levels of depression, anxiety, stress and self-confidence. Lifting weights is a spiritual experience for me and gets me through to the other side of many situations that can be challenging to deal with. Less Chance of Injury: The more fit your muscle tone, the easier it is for you to carry out everyday tasks and physical activities without injuring yourself. Increased Independence: The stronger your muscles, the less likely you are to fall as you age. Falls in the elderly population are a major cause of injury and hospitalization. The moral of the story is that muscle-building matters. Look after your muscles by keeping them strong through weight bearing exercise and they will look after you.