This month we are focusing on our pocket-sized blondie, Laura Hoggins, aka Biceps and Bronzer. Don't be fooled - she's a strong, powerful and lives by the mantra that 'nothing looks as good, as strong feels'. She has an infectious passion for everything fitness and is here to shed some light on women who lift.
Q. For some women weights can be intimidating. What advice would you give women who are new to lifting?
I remember how intimidated I was starting lifting weights. I now realise the importance of resistance training in development a strong and lean body for all round functional fitness. My advice would be to find something you enjoy, a safe class environment, if you can, get a Personal Trainer who can help asses and develop your movement fundamentals. This will greatly help building your confidence and guide your form and technique when lifting.
Q. Lets do some myth busting, does lifting weights really make you bulky?
The short answer, NO! The long answer is, lifting weights combined with a strong mix of cardio, mobility, nutrition and recovery will deliver you a strong and lean physique, and despite some of the myths, it's not going to make you bulky! Bulking requires a significant calorie surplus alongside your training. We all put on muscle at different rates due to our genetics, metabolism and activity levels. Even for men, who have significantly higher levels of testosterone to support muscle development, it will take a lot of lifting and a lot of eating to gain mass.
Q. What top 3 strength training exercises should women take on?
Compound strength movements, like the deadlift, the squat, and an upper body push & pull like a shoulder press, or a bent over row, a full body circuits. These movements target specific areas, your glutes, your hamstrings, your core, your arms, that will help you shape, sculpt and tone your body, build lean muscle definition. Mixed with the right amount of cardio conditioning and HIIT, will reveal that strong lean physique.
Q. Weight training burns fat, boosts your metabolism, and increases bone density. Is there anything else?
There are many benefits to weight training, and although it may seem that in that 1 hour, cardio burns more calories, due to the intense recovery your body goes through after a strength session, your body will be burning calories for hours after your session due to a metabolic spike. Also, not just physically, lifting something you didn’t think you could, not only makes you look like a boss, you feel like one too!
Q. What does your typical training week look like?
I am currently in Strongman competition training so I tend to focus a day each week on the main lifts, deadlift, squat and bench, switching between high volume (10-12) and low reps (5x5) and I mix conditioning in 4 times a week. Mainly HIIT or some cardio endurance, something that is a bit of a lung buster. I always have at least one full rest day per week. I would love to tell you I do yoga once a week, but I don’t, I really should, I might be strong, but mobility is the key to reaching the correct positions of the movement to be able to use my strength efficiently. Once a week I do a big Strongman events training session, yoke carries, atlas stones, log work, heavy sleds etc. I am also a CrossFit L1 Trainer, and this week is the last week of the CrossFit Open, 2018, so I can properly focus on Strongman training. Always training!