“I worried I’d get big if I lifted weights, but I actually dropped a dress size!”

Nicolle Smith, 49, on taking up strength training at age 46

I started lifting weights three years ago at the age of 46. I wanted to find a physical activity that would challenge me. If you’re not a runner (and I never enjoyed running), the options for fitness in the middle years really narrow down to a handful of activities. Many play tennis (which yields a high chronic injury rate in those of us over 40), take up yoga (which is fine, but doesn’t really get the heart rate up or develop strength), or try golf (which isn’t my thing).

Weight lifting for women

I considered CrossFit, but there was no way I was going to master all those complicated moves. And realistically, I wasn’t in good enough shape to even think about something that advanced. Group exercise can be fun, but I like to work at my own pace – and to be honest, I really hate cheerleader-type exercise instructors.

I was intrigued by strength-based exercises and set out to find a qualified strength and conditioning trainer. My personal trainer started me off with a few basic body weight exercises and moves, but the first time he asked me to pick up a dumbbell, I told him I didn’t want to lift heavy weights. I worried that I would get big. He guaranteed me I would not. I thought about the lean, firm women I’d seen lifting weights, and agreed to give it a shot.

Lifting weights has a huge health impact for women as they age. I am stronger and more capable than I was in my 20s. I had a bone density scan last year, and the technician told me mine was “off the charts”. I have also dropped a dress size as fat has gradually dissolved and been replaced with muscle.

Strength training provides the perfect challenge for me. And I love the training environment. No one is there to show off. We’re all there to do our best and to get better. It is really empowering.


weight lifting for womenIf you’d like to find out more about hiring a personal trainer to have fun lifting weights, getting strong, toning up, and dropping (at least) a pants size, contact Basics and Beyond to schedule a phone call. Don’t wait – We tend to fill up fast!