Forget trying to achieve a TINY WAIST or a THIGH GAP, training trends are focused now on building a POWERFUL BODY, with a MENTAL STRENGTH to match. We show you how to transfer this attitude to your WORKWEAR, so you can bring power to every aspect of your life…
If you’ve ventured inside a gym recently (it’s January, you’re not alone) you will probably have noticed some subtle changes in the weights area. Whereas not too long ago this space would have been wall-to-wall bulked-up men grunting at each other, now it’s just as likely to be filled with women of all ages looking taught and toned. And yes, some of them will probably be grunting, because they’re #girlswholift (search the hashtag on Instagram for a taster) – and they lift big.
Ornagh Lee (above) is one such woman for whom strength training has changed her life. Hailing from an athletic background, her fitness slipped during adulthood but discovering Crossfit, a cult-like strength and conditioning programme, rekindled a deep-seated love of training competitively.
“It didn’t take me long to become hooked on Crossfit,” Lee says. “I became a lot more confident and I felt accomplished and proud of what I was achieving. For me, strength training is about discovering and learning what your body is actually capable of. I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin and my quality of life improved dramatically.”
Lee herself has seen a rise in the number of women swapping the treadmill for barbells and her clients range in age from 18 to 50+. “Women of all ages are starting to see the benefits of strength training and want to take charge of their health and fitness no matter what age. They are starting to realise they too can become strong and find it liberating.”
In the same way as we train our bodies to be strong, our mental muscle can be developed to make us better able to cope with everyday – and extraordinary – stressors. Emotional resilience is the mental muscle that makes you tough enough to bounce back and carry on. “Resilience is the ability to keep moving forward despite being knocked back time and time again,” says psychologist Owen Fitzpatrick, whose recent TedxTalk focused on strengthening the positive inner voice, one aspect of learning emotional resilience.
How to start training that mental muscle? “Write down one of your goals and the potential setbacks you may have to face as you strive for this goal. Decide how you need to use that setback and learn from it in order for you to achieve the goal. Mentally rehearse yourself doing this over and over again.
“Another exercise would be to notice the kinds of negative thoughts you are having when you face adversity. Challenge these thoughts by questioning their accuracy, their evidence or their reasoning.”
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our February issue, out Thursday, February 2.
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