As you may have noticed by now, Darkside isn’t a part of the standard weight lifting culture. We are neither the extreme bootcampesque idolisation of vomit and never giving up, nor the hardcore back slapping masculinity of old school powerlifting. We are something else entirely, an almost unique presentation within the typical societal perceptions of weight training.
Led by women, for women, without the trappings of our modern preoccupation with sexualisation, the ‘thin ideal’ and distorted, internalised, media representations of ‘health’ at any cost.
Darkside’s inception, three years ago, was a turning point for my own interests in female health and the accessibility of weight training for the female population and as we expanded into our own space, only 19 months ago, I began to think very carefully of what Darkside might become.
Drawing influences from and working with our Darkside coaches has been a wonderful exploration of how we can best meet the needs of the women in our community. From specialist coaches in pre/post-natal training and physiotherapy to the development of an entirely Darkside approach to methodology, programming and the coach-lifter relationship.
It is essential that Darkside continues to provide an environment for women that is both accessible and effective in its training methods – the foundation of which is attracting women who have never lifted before and helping to develop within them a sustainable base of safe technique, progression and healthful behaviours. This involves the plentiful application of cake, coffee and sweets along with an open and honest dialogue that includes plenty of laughing.
And some actual weight training, of course.
You guessed correctly, we’re quite serious about not taking ourselves too seriously.
So, to the vision.
There is a dearth of research into the female weight training population, particularly with regard to beginning females, and what little there is tends to focus purely on technical programming and physiological effect. Not on how to get women lifting in the first place, not how to make them feel better about themselves (without resorting to punishing behaviours and food morality) or even just how to help them progress within their busy lives.
This is, quite frankly, a disgrace.
No wonder so few women partake in an activity that could play such a huge role in their health, wellbeing and overall confidence.
Darkside is, and forever will be, here for the average woman, who needs the space and time to carve something for herself. There’s no short term, unsustainable ‘body transformations’ here because we have a much greater interest in helping you to change your life than your level of body fat.
We seek to be provocative. To change the landscape of women’s health and participation in weight training through our own published research, practical applications and meaningful reflections. To help women achieve their full potential through innovative methods of coaching pain perception and proprioception (feeling where your body is in space and moving it correctly), management of eating disordered behaviours and mental health conditions and approaching food mindfully, without moralisation or guilt.
Therein lies our uniqueness