‘Women ahead in academia’ is the current topic of this academic year. UMsport takes it further and offers a programme called Women on Weights (WOW) to make women familiar with gym and resistance work-outs. This programme is given by Crystal Ceh a fitness instructor at UMSport and a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. Crystal is the embodiment of a strong, fit and feminine woman who immediately debunks the conception that women turn into a ‘Hulk’ from strength training, to the land of the myths. Sounds great, but how does a regular WOW training look like? I thought it was about time to find out myself and attend a training!
During the weeks of the WOW programme, Crystal is busy teaching three evenings a week. As the sign-up was a big success, three classes had to be made. Level 1 is given to class A on Tuesday and to class B on Wednesday, Thursday is reserved for the Level 2 class which consists of women who are a bit more familiar with weight lifting.
The session starts with a meeting in a conference room wherein Crystal explains concepts of training and nutrition, also the homework and possible problems are being discussed. Furthermore, this get together is basically to create a group feeling and make the participants talk about what they experience and obstacles they stumble upon. After this 30 minute talk Crystal announces that it’s enough talk and time to hit the gym!
The Work-out starts with a warm-up to increase the heart rate and get the blood pumping. After this, the weights need to be lifted by the women. The strength session starts with some squats followed by benching, lunches, dumbbell lateral raise, kettle bell swing and he training ends with some core work on the mat in order to cool down.
Crystal Ceh on the WOW programme
What is WOW?
CC: WOW, or Women on Weights, is a 1x/week, small group resistance training program, supervised by me along with weekly training “homework”, and runs for 7 weeks. You receive a WOW T-shirt, a UM Sport water bottle, and the weekly workouts all for a very modest price. The classes start off with an educational component, where we bust some common myths associated with women and weight training, followed by a 90-minute resistance training session in the gym. It’s motivational, you improve your strength and conditioning, and it’s a lot of fun!
For who is WOW?
CC: WOW is for women of any age and training experience. I created 2 levels: Level 1 is a great option for women who are new to lifting weights, who are unsure of their movement techniques, and/or have little knowledge of training principles. Level 2 is appropriate for women who have been resistance training regularly for at least 3-6 months, who feel confident with most major lifts (Eg barbell squat), and who have basic knowledge of training principles and want to learn more.
What do you learn in WOW?
CC: In Level 1, you learn how to perform a variety of free weight exercises, such as the barbell back squat, bench press, & dead lift, while also learning basic weight training principles, such as progressive overload, recovery and overtraining. In Level 2, we take the basics from Level 1 and turn it up a notch, by introducing more advanced techniques, such a super sets, split routines, HIIT, and program design.
Why was the WOW programme needed?
CC: WOW was created for women to help them learn proper lifting techniques, principles of training, to help them build knowledge and to improve confidence in themselves. Too many times we as women hold ourselves back, in addition to feeling held back or intimidated by our male counterparts. My favourite part of the entire program is seeing how the women go from shy, sometimes timid individuals in the gym, to women who take over the squat racks and demand mirror real estate when training. It’s super motivating to see more women lifting seriously in our gym!
When is the next WOW and how can people sign-up?
CC: The next 7-week courses will be offered in January 2015, with dates/times TBD. We will be sending a university-wide email letting people know when registration opens. You will be able to register online through the UM Sport web shop, or in-person at UM Sport Randwyck. We will also be having info sessions for those who are interested in learning more about the program or who are unsure of which level to join (dates also TBD)
Great that the work-out looks cool and Crystal is happy, however, it is all about the experience of the participants of the programme. Therefore, I decided to interview Carolina.
Carolina, 19, International Business student and in the level 1 group:
Why did you sign up for WOW?
I signed up for WOW because I am interested in fitness for quite a while now and I have been going to the gym regular for 1.5 years but I had a 6 months break and needed someone to motivate me again. Therefore, I saw this course and thought it would be a good way to get back to weight Lifting
What did you expect from WOW?
I expected from WOW to help me with my fitness and my nutrition. So I know how to do the exercises properly without risking any injuries.
What did WOW gave you?
WOW gave me a lot more confidence. I have never felt awkward to train “where the guys train” but I do feel more comfortable now because I feel that I now know the basics of training, giving me confidence to start a work-out on my own because I know what, how and why I am doing it.
Would you recommend WOW and why?
I definitely recommend WOW. Crystal did an amazing job. She makes everyone feel comfortable regardless age or level of fitness.
So if you feel like you need to hit the gym after the Christmas holiday, sign-up for the next WOW!
NOTE: a valid gym license is required in addition to purchasing the program