Kayla Plume, 21, has been lifting weights for seven years, building a strong and healthy body.
Kayla Plume, 21, has been lifting weights for seven years, building a strong and healthy body. Sarah Harvey

Girls lift fitness to new level

DON'T bother telling Kayla Plume about the increasing number of women turning to weight training to stay in shape - she's been doing it for years.

It shows too.

Despite her tender age of 21, Ms Plume has been pumping iron for seven years, combining her regular low-repetition training with physically demanding sports such as soccer and touch footy.

Ms Plume is one of many women at her Raceview gym that use heavier weights to maintain a strong yet slim physical condition, bucking the misconception that big dumbbells are only for body builders.

Stronger female physiques have also been hitting the red carpet, with A-listers such as Cameron Diaz championing the trend of women obtaining a more cut look.

"I'm strengthening my muscles and boosting my metabolism, which makes it easy to maintain a healthy weight," Ms Plume said.

"I actually put on a bit of weight but lost dress sizes."

Personal trainer Paul Florence said hundreds of the Raceview Lifestyle gym female clientele were realising the benefits of regularly lifting weights.

"Apart from improved circulation and cardiovascular health you also increase bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis later in life," Mr Florence said.

"You can put on weight while you lose body fat but in girls you might only add three to four kilograms of muscle, while the fat will continue to drop off over time."

Strength training replaces muscle lost through age and helps increase metabolism, meaning the body is more likely to burn fat during rest periods.

Muscle takes up less space on the body, resulting in a more streamlined look.

Ms Plume said she couldn't deny that part of the benefit of her rigorous fitness regime was looking good.

"Of course it's about looking good - every woman wants to," she said.

"I think men appreciate a more athletic body over a flat, skinny one."

Although Ms Plume normally trains five to six times a week, Mr Florence said three times a week was enough to make a difference, allowing for rest days in between sessions.

The trainer recommended lighter weights and a higher number of repetitions - up to 20 - for increased endurance.

Those who lift heavier weights will also get a benefit from doing as few as eight repetitions.

Goodlife gym Ipswich exercise physiologist Steve Collins said weight training could also prevent injury and assist the body in healing quicker after injury occurred.

"There is more of an awareness out there now about the benefit of strength and resistance training," Mr Collins said.

"If you combine it with a good diet and other exercise, you will maintain muscle and lose fat.

"The end result will be less noticeable on the scales but more noticeable on the tape measure."


Buff celebrities

Famous female advocates of the dumbbell:

  • Pink
  • Halle Berry
  • Hilary Swank
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Jessica Biel

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