We all know the stereotype: women aren’t as confident in the gym as men. This common misconception has manifested itself in the minds of many girls and women and has caused us to feel anxious to even step foot in the gym. When we do gather the courage to purchase a gym membership, we often feel restricted to the cardio machines which, let’s be honest, gets BORING.
Of course, this mindset does not apply to all women. Each individual has her own opinion, and I’m not trying to apply one label to every single woman out there. But speaking from experience, I was extremely nervous to go to the gym when I began my fitness journey, and I would have loved a place that recognized this common fear and worked to combat the stigma. Fortunately, I found CHAARG, but for women on the westside who cannot join this college-aged organization, they can turn to Forte’ Ladies Fitness Studio in Westwood.
Founded by certified personal trainer and bodybuilding champion, Barabra Wenning, Forte’ offers a variety of female-only classes that allow women to experiment with different types of strength and resistance training and cardio. As a trainer, Wenning appreciates that every woman is on a different fitness journey and her classes reflect this. From yoga and pilates to kettlebell to TRX, Forte’ encourages clients to step out of their comfort zones and push their bodies and muscles in new ways.
Recently, I attended the 30-minute kettlebell class, and honestly I underestimated how quickly I could fatigue my muscles in just 30 minutes! Immediately after walking through the door, the welcoming atmosphere of Forte’ was tangible. From Wenning welcoming my mom and myself with open arms to other clients offering to help us gather the equipment we needed for the class, there was not a shred of uncomfortableness throughout the entire workout.
One thing I love about the kettlebell class at Forte’ is how different it was from what I had expected. Wenning suggested we use lighter kettlebells in addition to three different resistance bands. The class started on a yoga mat where we used a loop band and a kettlebell and dumbbells to transition through a variety of ab moves. My core has never been so sore.
The lower body circuit was the portion of class I was most hesitant about. Since I had opted for a lighter 10-pound kettlebell, I worried that I wouldn’t be challenged enough. Yes, I’ll admit, I was wrong! Wenning led the group through a circuit which included kettlebell swings, squats and squat pulses, with no rest in between, repeated two to three times. I’m sore just thinking about how much my legs were ~shaking~ and how challenging the circuit was!
The class ended with a few upper body moves [again, I was dying] and I left the studio with one of the best total body strength training workouts I’ve done in a while. The 30-minute time limit on the class means that there were very few breaks in between each move, so my heart rate was constantly up. But, it also means that this class can easily be squeezed in during a lunch break or before/after working, making it the perfect weekday sweat sesh!