Kill It in the Weight Room With These Tips from an Insta Fitness Star
When you work out, are you thinking about weight? We’re not talking about dieting — we want your workout goals to be about getting stronger, faster and feeling better mentally and physically for life. If you’re looking to up your typical fitness regimen (or you just can’t take another minute of HIIT cardio), it’s time to check out what workout fit women are obsessed with and give weight training a try. We got some tips on the benefits of lifting, nailing proper technique and overcoming gym jitters from weight room superstar Holly Perkins.
In addition to being a #fitspo Instagram legend, Holly is a trainer, the author of Lift to Get Lean and a contributing health writer for Women’s Health, Prevention, SELF, Shape and more. And in 2015, she launched the Women’s Strength Nation movement, which helps women find internal strength by getting physically stronger. We couldn’t think of a more perfect person to advise you on your journey to getting jacked (or just fitter and stronger) than Holly.
B+C: What are some reasons that women should get into lifting?
HP: Strength training is the only tool that allows you complete control over redesigning your body. At some point, cardio and toning efforts won’t change your shape or metabolism, but lifting weights will. Muscle *is* your metabolism and is the gatekeeper to body fat. Diet and cardio are important in decreasing body fat, but strength training is the driver. Beyond that, strength training improves your bone mass, helps to balance hormones and gives you a major boost of confidence and self-reliance. Numerous research studies now show that strength training is a powerful tool in fighting stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
View this post on Instagram
There is a moment just before you attempt to push or pull a heavy weight. It's a weird, amorphous fear that is illogical. Something just feels scary, as if... "I don't know if I can do it" I can't tell you how many times I've watched people back down to that fear. And yet, if you just confront it, ask it what's up, and take action despite the fear, you'll find something really cool and glorious on the other side. #WomensStrengthNation ▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃ #fitness #fitspo #fitfam #strength #gym #workout #exercise #fitnessaddict #fit #fitspiration #fitnessmotivation #girlsthatlift #bodybuilding #fitgirls #healthy #instafit #GirlsWithMuscles #Women #squat #deadlift #WomensStrengthNation
A post shared by Holly Perkins, BS CSCS (@hollyperkins) on
B+C: What are some basic form and safety tips you would give to first-time lifters?
HP: First and foremost, commit to learning excellent technique. (Check out my Women’s Strength Nation website for free workouts and video tutorials.) This allows you to build your body the exact way that you want. Slow down and pause at the point of the move where it’s hardest to stop and hold. For example, if you are performing a squat, the bottom position would be very hard to pause at, right? Pause there for two seconds and continue each rep. This helps to ensure muscle activation, great technique and strength building. Mirrors are in gyms so that you can observe your technique. USE THEM! Observe yourself and watch to make sure you’re using the right and left sides of your body equally. And don’t be afraid to approach someone to help give you some pointers or for feedback on your technique.
B+C: What are some good types of lifts you like beginners to start with?
HP: When starting out, I am a big fan of using single-joint moves, so that you can learn to activate the right muscle groups. I LOVE leg extensions for quads, leg curls for hamstrings, the leg press for quads, hamstrings and glutes, the cable lat pull down for the back, the seated chest press for the chest muscles and the seated overhead press for shoulders.
View this post on Instagram
You're not the only one; strength training IS confusing and an imprecise system. When you add the complexities of the human body, it gets WAY confusing. When you add the twists and turns of a woman's body, things get down right cray. I needed to find a system to address the confusion, and ended up creating 3 easy steps to make things simple. Step #1 of my book Lift to Get Lean is "Technique Trumps All" It's critical to ensure gorgeous execution of your strength training moves. The goal is to correct your weaknesses and reinforce your strengths. Start light, learn right, and soon you'll be a pro. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 ▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃▃ #fitness #fitspo #fitfam #strength #gym #workout #exercise #fitnessaddict #girlsthatlift #bodybuilding #fitgirls #healthy #instafit #GirlsWithMuscles #Women #WomensStrengthNation
A post shared by Holly Perkins, BS CSCS (@hollyperkins) on
B+C: The weight room can be full of big, burly dudes. What advice would you give to someone who feels nervous or intimidated going into the weight room at their gym?
HP: The most important thing to remember is that nearly everyone is a bit unsure in the gym — even men! Think of the gym like a playground. Go in with the intention to play and learn. It helps to have a program to follow too, which is another area where Women’s Strength Nation can help. Also, see if you can find a friend to join you to help disperse your nervousness. Remember, this is YOUR life, fitness and health. You can’t allow a bit of intimidation to keep you from being the best and brightest you. Even one trip to the gym will give you tons of new confidence. Just think how you’d feel if you went three times per week for two weeks!
B+C: Do you have any recommendations for home exercises or equipment for someone who wants to lift, but doesn’t belong to a gym and can’t afford to buy their own weights or machines?
HP: You can get a great workout at home with little to no equipment. At a minimum, you’ll want one to two sets of dumbbells ranging from five to 15 pounds. You’ll also want one or two resistance bands. That’s all you really need to get an effective workout. You can do dumbbell squats, lunges, deadlifts, bicep curls, overhead presses and tons more moves. Check out this workout on my site to get started at home.
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.