Now I'm far from a gym addict. If I could go through life without exercising I would, but I know how important exercise is to good health and good mood too. So to make sure I get some physical activity, I find things I enjoy. One of those exercises for me is kettle bells. Kettle bells are a great way to get some strength exercises into your routine, but when I mention strength training, many women think it's going to make them 'bulky'.

So I asked the lovely Emma Ludlow, owner of Swing Out Sisters Personal Training if she would write a guest post for my fabulous readers and she said yes . In this post she shares four ways that strength training will make your body and life better. Over to Emma.......

Tone up

Ask any woman how she’d like to improve her body and the answer is nearly always the same. ‘I’d like to tone up,’ many say. ‘Shed some fat,’ is another answer. ‘I’d really like to lose my wobbly bits’ is also common. However, when it comes to attaining that physique, most women will enter the gym, head straight for the cross trainers and brace themselves for an hour of pedaling while watching The One Show.

Not only is this incredibly boring, but it’s also ineffective and will NEVER give you the toned physique you want. You won’t lose your wobbly bits without muscle and to build muscle you have to lift heavy. Lifting weights won’t make you bulk up. Women have a fraction of the testosterone men have, meaning strength training has a different effect on the female form. Start lifting and you’ll soon lose fat, build sexy curves and improve body tone.

Kiss goodbye to diets

Too many women are fixated on diets and take this approach into the gym. Training is simply about burning off that third hobnob which they really shouldn’t have eaten at teatime. Trust me, there are more positive and motivating goals!

Start strength training and you will be aiming to deadlift your own body weight, perform 10 push-ups, or achieve your first pull-up. You cannot achieve these strength goals without adequate nutrition. That means eating to nourish your body, not deprive it. When you swap quick-fix solutions for real, varied and nutritious food, you will lose fat, stop unhealthy cravings and feel satisfied after every meal. This approach is sustainable and will give you the body you want for life. Yo-yo dieting will not.

Better health

Aside from looking pretty damn hot, you’ll also be feeling pretty damn good too. Better health, increased energy and improved sleep quality are just some of the pleasing side effects of an effective fitness programme.

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass which leaves us vulnerable to weight gain and associated illnesses such as diabetes. Strength training directly combats this process and improves muscle to fat ratio.

Weight bearing exercise will also help prevent conditions such as osteopenia, osteoporosis, back pain, arthritis and heart disease.

Increased confidence

Women are made of strong stuff, but a lot of us forget this. Self doubt, negative thinking and worry can crowd the mind and stop us getting the things we want in life. I’m not saying strength training eliminates this crazy talk, but it helps.

Lifting weights relieves stress and demonstrates what you are made of. When you start achieving your goals in the gym, you will discover new depths of physical and mental strength. This carries into every area of life and makes you think twice next time you say ‘I can’t.’ With better health and a determined attitude, you will become a role model for those around you. If you have a daughter, you will demonstrate body confidence and show her there are more important concerns than being skinny.

Get started with strength training

Emma holds classes at the Harrow School Sports Centre and also does mobile sessions in Pinner, Eastcote, Ruislip, Northwood, Ickenham and Harrow.

For more information about sessions and classes with Swing Out Sisters Personal Training, please visit or contact Emma Ludlow on 07500 454365 or

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