Whilst the concept of women training with weights is gradually starting to become normalised within mainstream media and culture, it is mostly polarized into two extremes. Fitspo, with its sexy and tanned models with breast implants, posing in a sexually suggestive manner, or hardcore powerlifting and bodybuilding advocates. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there for people who are just, dare I say it, ‘normal,’ those who have never really considered weight training and simply want to enjoy good health.
Neither of the above representations are particularly appealing to someone just starting out, they certainly weren’t for me. The former is often damaging and holds the implication that a woman’s worth lies within her attractiveness to the male viewer and that they have failed if they cannot achieve the unattainable physical or training ideals portrayed (though there are some decent examples of fitspo, occasionally). The latter can be intimidating and imply an end point (competing) that the beginning lifter may not foresee for themselves.
It is with this in mind that when I started to seriously think about what Darkside could be, its ethos and purpose, I knew that it had to appeal to those who didn’t really think that weights were for them. Women face enough barriers, in life as well as in the gym.
Darkside’s purpose is to dispel some of the long-term myths surrounding women and weight training and to encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go. Strength is too important for a woman’s health, physically and psychologically, to ignore. So, I shall sign off with what is essentially my mission statement:
Darkside Training – Changing Perceptions of Femininity, Masculinity and Health.