Embracing Our Strength

By Barbara Queen, owner of Grip Fitness

I have been a personal trainer for over twenty years. During the past two decades I have observed the gradual recognition of women in the fitness industry. The perception of a woman’s role has expanded in exciting ways, yet women everywhere still face intense scrutiny about their appearance…especially their bodies.

Size Matters

When I first began my training career, gym equipment was manufactured with men’s proportions, strength, and goals in mind. I launched my own private training studio in 2007, and one of my first priorities was to build a gym that also took women into consideration: lighter bars and top plates, benches for slight frames, and grips for small hands. To this day, anything I can’t find, I make myself. I believe precise ergonomic setup is crucial to excellent execution.

Glass Ceilings

There are still very few female coaches working with professional sports teams, but the landscape is changing. It has always been important to me to maintain an even ratio of male and female clients. Years ago, many men would not have considered hiring a female trainer, but knowledge and experience are not gender-based.

Strong Versus Skinny

I encounter women every day who are nervous about “getting big” if they lift weight. It is time to dispel this myth. Women do not have enough testosterone to build bulky muscles. In fact, building muscle actually makes a woman’s body leaner. Being strong should be more valuable than being skinny.

Claiming Your Space

We need to examine what is threatening about a woman taking up her rightful space in the world. The presumption still exists that the domain of strength belongs exclusively to men. I coach my female clients about how to feel confident in the weight room.


We have the power to reclaim our bodies by refusing to play into the notion that we should be frail and petite. Honoring your body is one aspect of self-respect. Exercise not only improves your physique, it strengthens your mind. Lifting weight has transformed my relationship with my body. I appreciate my body not just for how it looks, but also for what it can do. It is an exhilarating feeling. Don’t be a delicate flower, be a warrior!

Six Ways to Reach Your Potential:

(visit my Facebook page for specific exercises.)

  •  2 days a week: exercise with weights
  • 2 days a week: exercise with body weight
  • 1 day a week: work on balance and symmetry
  • 4 days a week: cardio
  • 5 days a week: stretch and foam roll
  • 1 day a week: rest and eat whatever you want

Be Part of the Solution

Grip Fitness supports Chime for Change, a global campaign to raise funds and awareness for girls and women around the world. Declaring our intention to create a world that is equal for women requires vision and courage. We can build a worldwide sisterhood of supportive, strong women. Transformation begins in each of us first with a stirring, then a yearning, and finally a striving.