Spreading the Word: How to Recruit More Girls Gone Strong
If you’re reading articles on this website, you probably don’t need much convincing that lifting heavy friggin’ weights is not only super fun and empowering, but it is the quickest way to lose body fat, gain shapely lean mass, and most importantly, get STRONG!
However, many of you have written to us on a regular basis asking for advice or guidance regarding convincing other women in your lives to lift heavy too. Some examples include:
- Trainers who have a hard time convincing female clients that heavy lifting is the way to go.
- Women who are consistently approached by their friends and family asking for training advice, only to turn a deaf ear when they mention weight lifting. (Ugh! This one is extra annoying. I mean, they asked YOU for the advice, right?)
- Women who are struggling because they feel alone and don’t have a community of women near them who enjoy lifting, and they are looking to build one.
Regardless of the reason, many of you ladies (and guys too!) have written in asking us for advice about getting clients/friends/family/girlfriends in the gym and lifting weights, and I am thrilled about this! You have the same goal that I/we do, and that’s spreading the word and recruiting more women to join the Girls Gone Strong movement. So thank you!!
Look no further, because I have some great advice below that will guide you step-by-step through the process of getting other women interested in lifting:
Listen to her
If a woman tells you that she is afraid she is going to get bulky and you tell her that that’s stupid, she is instantly going to tune you out. Instead:
1. Listen to what she has to say, and ask questions regarding why she feels that way.
2. Validate her emotion (i.e. “I completely understand why you have that fear. A lot of women do. It’s very common.”)
3. Ask her to define “bulky.” If she defines it as an IFBB pro female bodybuilder-type body, she may have a point. If she defines “bulky” as a Jessica Biel-type body, you may not want to waste your energy trying to convince her otherwise.
Women are constantly seeking knowledge regarding nutrition and exercise, and unfortunately, they don’t always get it from the best sources. Be the good source that she can turn to for top-notch information!
1. Explain to her how the “bulky” myth has been perpetuated by mainstream media and explain why it’s difficult for most women to gain an appreciable about of muscle mass. You can also point out that those that do (i.e. the IFBB pro bodybuilder mentioned above) are often taking anabolic steroids to gain that much mass.
2. Show her pictures and videos of strong, fit, healthy women who love to lift.
3. Introduce her to sites like GirlsGoneStrong.com and the GGS Facebook Community so she can start doing some reading/researching on her own if she wants to.
Start her off slowly
One of the quickest ways to get a woman to shy away from lifting is to do too much too soon. This often leaves a woman feeling intimidated, overly sore, inept, or even like a failure. This is no joke. I see it time and time again with women who are thrown into programs that are too advanced. Heck, I have made that mistake with my clients and my friends in the past.
1. Start her off with some really basic stuff like: wall sits, bodyweight box squats, planks, band pull-aparts, glute bridges, etc. This will allow her to have some success almost immediately because these movements are easier to perform and she will likely master them quickly. This also allows you to start giving her a lot of praise right off the bat, which will motivate her even more to keep going.
2. As she progresses, assuming she has good form and good movement patterns, you can start loading those patterns or progress her on to more challenging bodyweight exercises like inverted rows, chin-ups, and split squats. Or, of course, you can integrate both into her program.
3. Make sure you always leave her with a little left “in the tank” in the beginning. Completely destroying her when she first comes in the gym may turn her off to lifting, period.
Let her fall in love with lifting
I have literally never worked with a woman who didn’t end up at least liking to lift, and the majority of them absolutely fall in love with it!
1. If you start a woman off slow, get her to move well, and help her master the basics, once you start loading her up with weights she will begin to feel that sense of empowerment that comes with moving heavy weights. And chances are, she’ll start loving it. And she will be prepared to do more advanced movements.
2. Let her ask to use more weight. It doesn’t take long to happen, and when it does, you’ll know you’re doing a good job. Why? Because she feels confident in her abilities and excited to be increasing the load she’s using. Plus, it feels like her idea, so of course it’s a good thing.
You may be wondering how exactly I came to these conclusions about getting females to fall in love with lifting. My answer? I learned from the best — my business partner, Jim Laird. He is the man who initially introduced me to heavy lifting and helped me fall in love with it, and over the last decade I have seen him get more women to fall in love with heavy iron than anyone I know.
In our Bootcamp/Group Personal Training Classes alone, we have numerous women deadlifting close to 200 lbs. for reps. In addition to that, Jim helped 5 of our Bootcamp clients compete in their first powerlifting meet this year! They all did primarily Bootcamp classes (some of them did 1 semi-private a week as well), and they all fell in love with lifting and decided that they wanted to do a meet. So through doing Bootcamp classes, and then running a 2 cycles of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, all of our women set NASA State Records in the squat in their first meet! The cool thing is, none of these women started training with us with the intention of wanting to powerlift. They all simply fell in love with lifting because Jim used the guidelines above.
So if you’re wanting to help women in your life fall in love with lifting, whether they are your friends, family members, or clients, take the advice above and let the magic happen. ‘Cuz it will!
Check out our awesome clients below:
Many women we know fall so hard for lifting that they decide to go down the path of becoming a trainer themselves. There are few greater joys as a coach that watching your clients go on to motivate and educate other women. If you’re a trainer, or an aspiring trainer, and you are curious about the template we use in our Bootcamp/Group Personal Training Classes that make our female clients fall in love with lifting, you MUST check out Bootcamp in a Box. It’s an incredible product that I made with my partner Jim Laird and world class trainer and corrective exercise Guru Mike Robertson.
Bootcamp in a Box includes 200 pages of information detailing EXACTLY how we run our Bootcamps, the exact progressions and regressions we use for every major exercise, how to modify exercises on the fly, as well as 6 months of done-for-you workouts that will produce maximum results in minimal time, and much, much more.
Bootcamp in a Box is an invaluable resource for trainers. Working with clients every day, you must realize that you are limited by how many hours there are in the day, but might also be skeptical as to how you can run a successful bootcamp business with quality and integrity. BCIB is your answer. This product has taken us over 6 months to put together because we wanted you to have the ability to reach more people, change more lives, and do so with methods that are proven to work.
Running group training using Bootcamp in a Box methods are what got our girls this strong-and we are so proud of them!