Women's Health & Fitness:
relationship-based solutions for female clientele of any age
By Dr. Stacey Naito
Many women can often be intimidated by health club or gym environments for a multitude of reasons. Women who don’t have a clue how to use unfamiliar exercise machines may find the experience of navigating through a whole collection of them rather terrifying.
As if that isn’t enough, some women question their ability to perform exercises with the necessary degree of coordination, balance and strength. Other women may hold onto the common misconception that lifting weights will make them extremely muscular and masculine, so they will shy away from free weights and weight machines, opting instead for more aerobic style activities. What is remarkable is that once these women are educated on the importance of regular exercise and proper nutrition, they experience profound health benefits which impact every aspect of their lives.
Gym owners who are willing to make an effort to address the unique concerns of women have a wonderful opportunity to build trust in their female clients, while also potentially increasing revenue by offering classes, training packages, classes, supplements and apparel which are designed for women.
If one-on-one training is offered at your facility, make sure to develop a group of trainers which can motivate female clients and address their unique concerns without making them feel inadequate or overwhelmed. Women also tend to have more questions about how to eat healthy, and often practice chronic caloric restriction which their bodies eventually adapt to, making it more difficult to drop those last few pounds, so it also makes sense to offer nutritional advice or refer female clients out to a dietician or nutritionist who is affiliated with your facility. Once the clients begin to experience physical and mental transformations, they become great cheerleaders for the gyms in which they train.
On a personal note, I am a proponent of weight training and supportive nutrition, especially in older individuals. One of the cruel consequences of aging is that a progressive loss of muscle occurs, beginning as early as one’s 20’s. I explain to clients that resistance training and an increase in protein intake are both critical for combating the insidious deflation of muscle and sagging skin which are the dreaded signs of advancing age.
It is important to make clients aware of the fact that resistance training will increase muscle-fiber diameter and overall strength, as well as naturally boost growth hormone and testosterone levels in the body.
Such hormonal and metabolic boosts can be incredible blessings for a menopausal woman who has been riding the unpredictable and often uncomfortable wave of hormonal decline, which is fraught with hot flashes, mood swings and, insomnia.
Basically, it is never too late to begin strength training!
For more information on age-related muscle loss in older women, please read my feature article in the September 2014 issue of Muscle & Body Magazine.