Back in the day, when I first started training, I was the only female in the free weights area all the other ladies were busy waiting in line for the treadmills. The game has changed dramatically now and I am so glad that girls are realising that you won’t turn into Fatima Whitbread (showing my age) overnight if you lift some weight and with a whole range of sportswear labels designing with the female lifer in mind it’s never been a better time to lift.
My girl, Melissa (Thru The Blue) knows how to bring her fitness fashion game to the gym floor, whilst lifting the kind of weight that would make most grown men weep. Check out her must-have fashion tips for the ‘lady that lifts’.
Now I mostly lift barefoot. Mechanically is makes more sense for you to be in the most neutral position when lifting heavy and wearing any kind of cushioning underfoot can take away from that. Saying that, for some people who may not be practical; maybe your gym bans barefoot lifting or maybe you’re just self-conscious about it. In those cases, you need to find a training shoe that mimics that barefoot feel but gives your protection and hopefully a little style too. There’s been a recent surge in barefoot footwear, from my shoe of choice, Nike Free but you can also get similar barefoot shoes from Adidas, Under Armour and Vibram to name a few.
STRAP THOSE PUPPIES DOWN
I talk a lot about boobies…usually the chicken ones, but today it’s all about good sports bras! Ladies, I beg…strap those puppies down! A wonder bra does not a happy gym boob make. It offers no support and I can’t imagine it is very comfortable when you’re sweating in the gym. Depending on your bust size, you can wear pretty much any kind of sports bra to lift as it doesn’t involve any jumping around. It’s all about comfort and aesthetics really, unless you are blessed in that area and will need some extra strap downage for those bent over rows! I have many sports bras from Nike but recently discovered Aviva from TK Maxx…amazing colours and designs. I don’t suspect they would offer much support for a larger boobed woman but they look great!
Gloves is a very personal thing. I used to wear gloves but the heavier I lifted, the more distracting I found them. I also found they effected my grip as they made the bar bigger, so on heavier lifts I felt like they would have the bar slipping. I changed to bare hands about a month ago, and although my hands are a little bit rough, my lifts are much more successful as a result. I guess there comes a time in your training when you have to decide how serious you are, and if the choice is a slipping bar and baby soft hands or high performance and a couple of callouses (which can be managed and moisturised) then I’m always going for performance. I use liquid chalk to keep my hands moisture free while I lift. There’s an art to using it mess free, although its unlikely you’ll be completely successful with that! You can get liquid chalk on-line or anywhere that sells climbing gear. On the flip side, if you must wear gloves, then RDX do some nice ones, as do Nike (although they come out small so try on if possible) or the very sexy g-loves!
The wonder of lifting, is I would say anything goes. Unlike running where you have to think about chaffing and all that run stuff, with lifting you just need to think about two things; comfort and flexibility. You don’t want to be feeling sweaty or hot and you must be able to move with full range of motion on your lifts. Anything restrictive around your joints will just be a distraction. I go with running tights much of the time as they have mesh in all the right places and are nice and stretchy or if I’m feeling brave, some shorts but I wouldn’t say either is superior, just be comfortable and able to move freely. Yes, when trying on in the shop, do some deep air squats to see if they’ll cut it or ride up! A bonus is many brands are starting to cotton on to the fact that black tights are boring and are bringing out some really cool prints! If I do wear black, I’ll always pair with a shocking bra and maybe a vest. Yeah I’ve got it like that! During the summer I like to rock cut off t-shirts which I custom cut at home to make fly-ass training vests! I always choose one with a bold slogan, my Watch the Throne one is my favourite! You can rock anything from shorts to oversized sweat bottoms to lift, just be comfy!
The thing I love about lifting, is it is my time to be me 100%. I love it and in terms of kit, it’s all about expressing how I feel. Lifting makes me feel strong and sexy and my clothes will reflect that. Also, as a traditionally male dominated atmosphere, I like my clothes choices to be confident as sometimes I feel as a women we have to assert our right to be there more than we should!
Pic: Crop Top Aviva, Nike Swift Capris and Nike Socks