Look around any gym these days and you’ll see seemingly more people than ever before lifting weights.
And it’s not just the numbers which have changed.
Now, women as well as men, from all ages and backgrounds, are increasingly using weights and resistance work in their exercise regime.
And a passion for weight training is something two Fylde coast fitness professionals are hoping to spread even further.
Friends Nicole Booth and Alex Meighan – both in their final year of a sports and conditioning degree course at UCLAN – set up Fylde Coast Weightlifting Club as a non-profit venture, to offer weightlifting to more people in the area.
Since then it has gone – pardon the pun – from strength-to-strength.
The club, which holds sessions at Fortitude Fitness, in Poulton, covers various aspects of weightlifting and sports training – including Olympic lifting, strength training, plyometrics, agility and mobility.
It is working towards gaining accreditation as a British Powerlifting club too.
It is the only club within 18 miles to hold a British Weightlifting Licence – which requires it to meet strict criteria and standards, so members can be assured they are in safe hands and will get expert help.
Nicole said: “The club now has more than 30 members, about 15 of which attend once or twice a week at the sessions. Others just come once a month for technique work, as they do other sport or activities such as Crossfit. The club specialises in Olympic lifting, but we do different types of lifting, sports training and resistance training. We try to tailor things around what our members want.
“I love Olympic lifting, it fits well with other sports I enjoy such as dancing.”
Nicole – a personal trainer and level two British Weightlifting Coach – says she has noticed an increase in the range, not just numbers, of people lifting weights over her nine years in the fitness industry.
“It’s changed dramatically. It used to be just me in the free weights area in any gym, but it has gradually changed. You used to only really see women using the cardio equipment in the gym or in classes, but they have been stepping away from that and more towards the weights – which is really nice to see.
“And the age range is great to see. At the club, we have a wide variety of ages, from 14 to 60 plus.
“There is a lot of research which shows weightlifting can help with bone density, muscular strength, resistance to dementia, and fall and injury prevention.
“There are so many benefits to lifting weights. Olympic lifting is good for sports performance. Research has shown it can improve vertical jump height, great for sports like basketball. It improves speed and it’s also a sport in its own right.
“There are all the other benefits too – like toning, building strength and lean muscle and improving fitness levels. It can help improve confidence and give you a sense of achievement. These things are especially important and that’s why we foster a real community within the club.”
The club is non-profit and works with local sports colleges and sports teams.
Nicole said: “We both really enjoy what we do, we want to pass on that love of weightlifting. It’s a real passion project. We bought the equipment ourselves, invested in the club, and marketing, and any money goes back into improving the club, paying overheads and providing some sponsorship for members who want to compete.
“We just want to give more people access to weighlifting coaching.”
Alex, a personal trainer and level one British Weightlifting coach, added: “Since the club started it’s been fantastic to see so many individuals step out of their comfort zone and try weightlifting.
“Not only are the physical benefits endless, but there is a real sense of a community growing within our club too. We’re not here to just lift weights, we are here to learn, watch and most of all, enjoy it.”
The club is now aiming for Clubmark status with Sport England.
* Visit www.fyldecoast weightlifting.com