Back view of an Asian woman wearing a blue sports bra, gloves, and white tights lifting dumbbells

The days of seeing only Johnny Bravos at the gym are long gone. An increasing number of women are incorporating weight training into their fitness routines. Discover why these six Filipinas consider an indispensable part of their regimen and how shattering gender stereotypes can be the ultimate display of strength.

Fitness Goals Achieved

Jeanne Oliva, a Slimmers World Great Bodies 2018 finalist, views weight training as a means to achieve any . "It is the key to reaching your desired physique, increasing strength, and improving longevity," says the former bodybuilder. To keep her workouts dynamic, she blends , strength training, , and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Find an activity or sport you enjoy and incorporate resistance training to create a well-rounded routine that excites you.

Jeanne believes weight training is suitable for everyone, regardless of gender or fitness objective. "Women don't develop muscles like men due to hormonal and biological differences. If you train for functionality, your performance will improve. Start small and gradually progress to achieve your desired results," she advises.

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A Creativity Boost

Juggling back-to-back meetings and can make squeezing in a workout challenging. For Eya Manginsay, weight training is essential to . "When my schedule gets hectic, I look for ways to stay active by moving, standing, or walking to keep myself mentally sharp. This helps me get my creative juices flowing during meetings, shoots, or while working with clients," Eya shares.

Keep a in your car or office so you can hit the gym when your schedule opens up. Enlist your bestie to train with you for extra motivation, especially when you lack the drive to exercise. It takes commitment to maintain a regular training schedule, but once you gain momentum, it will be easier.

"For women, weight training is crucial for a well-rounded workout. It helps maintain bone and ligament strength, and is essential for longevity and preventing injuries. By working my muscles, I not only enhance my , but I also feel stronger," Eya explains. Stronger muscles mean more than just a toned physique; they make everyday activities like carrying groceries or doing other chores a lot easier.

Better Quality of Life

Ian Banzon, an athlete and holistic health doctor, believes that weight training improves quality of life. "We need to make our body stronger to support the movements we make, not just in sport, but in life in general. Strength training will help us lift bags or heavy things, walk long distances, , and try new things. Improving your performance will help you live better and give you a chance to experience the world to the fullest," says Ian.

Many women may worry that weight training will result in a bulky or . Ian says this is not something to be concerned about. "Think of the benefits of a stronger and more agile body. It takes a lot to become 'too muscular,' and it's actually harder than you think, especially if you've never done weight training before.”

"There are different types of weight training, so find one that suits you and your goals best. The first step is the hardest, but what's important is that you start. You won't regret it,” she advises.

Stronger Today Than Yesterday

Bianca Cortez is a mom, triathlete, studio manager, and strength coach who does weight training to get stronger every day. “I ask myself: ‘How much stronger am I today versus yesterday?’ This way I can measure progress more efficiently and move with better functionality and confidence. There’s so much fulfillment and encouragement in that,” Coach Bianca shares.

Weight training isn't just about slimming down or , but rather redefining what it means to be strong. “Strength training has many benefits – it helps you carry out daily tasks more easily and protects you from injury, sickness, and disease. Women should incorporate strength training in their fitness routine for physical, mental, and emotional gain," says Bianca.

Building Strength to Be Strong for Others

Like Bianca, Shari Poquiz is a who manages her business while taking care of her children. Her weight training journey stemmed from her desire to keep up with her active kids. Shari believes that building and maintaining is essential for longevity and increased energy levels.

If you're new to weight training, consider seeking the guidance of a personal trainer to help you get started. "Becoming strong doesn't happen overnight. It took me several months to lose just five to 10 pounds. I highly recommend starting a program with a certified personal trainer to ensure you receive proper guidance with your form and progress," advises Shari.

Strong and Beautiful

For HIIT coach and digital creator Shai Habon, weight training was the key to overcoming her . "I used to be so insecure about my appearance, but strength training helped me improve my self-image. I've learned to embrace my arms and legs because of the hard work I put in," Shai reveals.

Weight training can be intimidating because of the stereotypes that come with it. Shai explains, "The fitness industry sends two messages: men to bulk up and women to slim down. Lifting weights can be daunting, particularly when the weights section is full of bulky guys. But my advice is to just do it, girl!" Shai says confidently.

Words like "big and strong" and "lean and thin" typically describe specific genders, boxing women into fitness stereotypes. For these Filipinas, weight training was a bridge to their best selves – one who thrives on discipline and raising the bar every day.