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5 Ways for Boosting Your Mental Health Everyday


Mastering the methods that can boost your mental health should be a daily occurrence, and not reserved for Mental Health Awareness month, but May is as greater time as any to take stock of our lifestyles and ask ourselves if we are nurturing our minds with the level of care that we deserve.

Here, M&F takes a look at 5 ways that you can make positive changes to your mental health today, by focussing on the mind-body connection, and maintaining homeostasis.

Small steps can boost your mental health by leaps and bounds.

When we are suffering with poor mental health our motivation levels suffer, leading us to feel even worse because of our inactivity. The idea that getting out of our comfort zone is great for our long term happiness is a proven concept, and a study conducted back in 2005 reviewed more than 275,000 people across 225 studies to show that those who sought out new life goals were more likely to feel positive emotions and enjoy greater self-confidence.

The good news is that making a positive change today can start with just the smallest of steps. A simple daily walk forces you to get off the couch and carry your own bodyweight, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, not to mention the self confidence boosting effects of increasing muscle and endurance, while losing fat. And, when you are ready to take the next step, try interval walking where you undertake short bursts of walking above your normal pace, followed by a period of walking at your normal level. You’ll throw away that brain fog in no time, feeling sharper and more positive. Heck, even your memory will improve. “My lab tested the benefits for memory by enrolling 64 sedentary but cognitively healthy seniors in our community-based program held at our local seniors’ gym; the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE),” says Dr Jennifer Heisz, an expert in brain health and Director of the NeuroFit Lab. Exercise sessions were supervised, three times per week for 12 weeks. As the participants’ fitness improved, we increased the speed or incline of the treadmill to achieve the target intensity. After just 12 weeks of interval walking, the seniors’ memory had improved by 30%, and this better memory was directly related to their fitness gains. During the harder intervals, you’ll know you’re working hard enough when it becomes difficult for you to carry on a conversation; researchers call this the ‘Talk Test’.”

Man Running on Treadmill to boost your mental health
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Move Your Myokines To Boost Your Mental Health

We’ve all heard of the ‘runners high’, experienced as a result of the endorphins released by the brain when we exercise intensely, but medical science is also discovering that your muscles also secrete chemicals that may be of benefit to your mental health.

“When we exercise, our muscles release these amazing factors called myokines, which facilitate crosstalk between the muscles and other organs of the body including the brain,” says Dr Jennifer Heisz.” Myokines are proteins that are released by our muscle cells following their contraction. There are thought to be more than 100 different myokines, with more being identified all the time, and their benefits appear to include improved metabolic function, tissue repair and brain health.

“Myokines provide a mechanism through which exercising can impact brain function to alter mood and cognition,” says Dr Heisz. “One way that myokines impact brain function is by reducing systemic inflammation. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with drug-resistance depression, whose low mood is linked to high levels of inflammation.”

Man sitting on a bench eating salad to boost his mental health
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Your Gut Health Can Boost Your Mental Health

The alimentary canal (the walls in the long tube of your gut), is often described as the “second brain” and is thought to play a role in our emotional wellbeing. Therefore, it stands to reason that looking after our gut health will have a positive impact on our overall happiness.

Good gut health and function is dependent on a number of things,” says Dr Bill Cole, the founder of Key Cellular Nutrition and the Cellular Health Accelerator Program. “For one, a healthy gut lining acts as a barrier keeping things out of the gut that should stay out, and also keeping things in that aren’t supposed to leave. A leaky gut, otherwise known as intestinal permeability, is epidemic in our society. That’s where damage to the gut lining creates microscopic holes that allow things like undigested proteins, toxins, bacteria and viruses to flood the bloodstream. This can create an immune response that can lead to autoimmune conditions and chronic inflammation throughout the body. Leaky guts can be caused by a poor diet, too much stress and certain medications such as antibiotics.

Eating a whole food diet, consisting of things like grass fed meats and organic meats, wild fish, pastured chicken and eggs, raw dairy products, organic fruits and vegetables is one of the very best things we can do to help heal damaged guts. Taking probiotics and eating raw fermented vegetables will also help to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. One tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water before a meal or two each day can aid in digestion and with healing as well. Additionally, L-glutamine powder, an amino acid, has been shown to help heal the gut lining too. The benefits of a healthy gut are numerous. Science is showing that Hippocrates, who is the father of modern medicine, may have been on to something since he believed that all disease begins with an unhealthy gut. I don’t know if it’s entirely true, but almost 40 years in the health field has shown me that so many conditions have their basis in an unhealthy gut.”

Man-Sleep-Sleeping-Akward-Position
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Get a Good Night’s Sleep For Mind And Body

If your mom always said, “Things will look better after a good nights sleep,” then she was really on to something. Exercise and great shuteye go hand-in-hand when it comes to maintaining a strong mind and body.

“The more we move during the day, the better we sleep at night,” says Dr Heisz. “This is because exercise breaks down ATP (the cellular energy currency) into adenosine, which is sensed by the brain and triggers sleep. As we get older, we are more likely to experience symptoms of insomnia, which include difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. We may spend less time in deep sleep, which means the brain has less time to be refreshed or recharged at night, and this makes it harder for us to think and feel good the next day. Scheduling exercise at the same time every day can help synchronize your circadian rhythm so you fall asleep faster. You can also exercise depending on your chronotype. For example, ‘night owls’ who want to wake up earlier can try exercising in the morning or early afternoon, whereas “morning larks” can try exercising in the evening.

Female eating an apple while pushing away a plate of unhealthy foods.
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Boost Your Metabolism While Boosting Your Mental Health

If sleep isn’t hitting the spot when it comes to rejuvenating your energy levels, make sure you power up with the right nutrients, and don’t overload yourself with highly processed comfort foods that will leave you feeling lethargic after that initial rush. “Hormones play a very significant role in our energy levels,” says Dr Cole. “As an example, the hormone insulin is responsible for driving glucose into the cell which is an important fuel source.

Additionally, the thyroid hormone; T3 is our major metabolic hormone. When produced in sufficient amounts, T3 can enter the cells it’s responsible for, increasing metabolism. The metabolism is the chemical reaction in the cell that turns food into energy, so the person will have good energy, lose weight more easily, and gain good gut and brain function. The old saying about an apple a day keeping the doctor away may not be entirely true but it points to something that is: Whole natural foods and a healthy lifestyle can immensely mitigate the need for doctors’ visits and medications as we age. Our ace in the hole is that we have a body designed for health and healing. Science calls it homeostasis. It’s our bodies natural ability to adapt to ever changing internal and external environments. We can create the environment in us that supports homeostasis or we can create an environment that interferes with that.”

Healthy and Happy Couple Stretching on a Grassy field

For World Mental Health Day, Try These Steps for a…

On Oct. 10, we should reflect on taking daily steps for body and mind wellbeing.

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How Do You Know If Gym Leggings Are Squat Proof?


What Is Squat Proof?

Before we discuss how we know if gym leggings are squat proof, let’s first find out what squat proof gym leggings actually are. We’ve heard the expression, but what exactly are squat proof gym leggings? In short, squat proof leggings are anti see-through leggings. When we exercise and stretch the material of our leggings in certain poses, such as squats, if the material isn’t thick enough, it becomes see through. These are not squat proof leggings. When you can bend and squat without your leggings becoming see through, they are squat proof.

How Can You Tell?

The best way to be able to tell for sure if your gym leggings are squat proof or not, is through trial. Try your gym wear on in front of a mirror and literally squat and bend, checking that you’re not exposing yourself or your underwear in the process. It can often be best to check with darker underwear, to ensure there is no hint of exposure.

gym leggings

However, sometimes this is not always possible. If you are buying without the chance to try on, or purchasing online from a thumbnail picture, you want to ensure the goods you are purchasing are up to standard, to prevent having to continually return items. If this is the case, ensure you are buying from a trusted gym wear brand, as opposed to a high street shop. Generally speaking, the quality of gym wear items is more suited to workouts and often tends to be more durable and better equipped for the job. Materials are more able to help to control your body temperature and remove sweat, making your workout more comfortable.

Materials

When high quality materials are used, your workout is more comfortable because of the temperature control and sweat wicking. It also makes your workout more comfortable and supported, because of the compression materials; this helps to protect your muscles and joints. High quality gym wear is also made to be either seamless or with double seams, but usually ensures that the seams will not rub or chaff the skin.

gym leggings

Brands

Just because something is labelled as athletic wear, it doesn’t always mean it is squat proof. You don’t want to be buying the incorrect items and finding out through sniggers at your gym class that your gym leggings aren’t as squat proof as promised on the tag. It is often a good idea to use trusted workout brands to ensure that your gym leggings are exactly what you need them to be. Thankfully, there are trusted suppliers, such as GymWear UK, who specialise in supplying gym clothing and accessories, which have been tried and trusted.

GymWear UK have some of the very best squat proof leggings, suitable for a variety of shapes and sizes, suitable for any activity. They are squat proof guaranteed, with brands such as Famme, V3 Apparel and Combat Dollies, to name but a few. Visit www.GymWear.co.uk for your perfect pair of squat proof gym leggings.



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‘Coach Sarah’ Is Here to Take Your Kettlebell Training to the Next Level


Over the last decade, kettlebell training has become increasingly popular, making its way into bootcamps and CrossFit classes across the globe. Yet somehow, the full-body conditioning tool is often overlooked and underutilized in regular fitness routines.

As an effective strength training alternative to dumbbells and barbells, the kettlebell is a fantastic way to shape up and strengthen your body from head to toe. By its design, the dome-shaped iron weight can be used to boost strength and power development, build core strength and stability, and increase endurance. All while beating boredom and blasting plateaus.

The reason behind kettlebells’ effectiveness? “Kettlebell training combines explosive strength with muscular endurance to provide efficient and athletic training,” says Sarah Gawron, a New York City-based strength coach ONNIT-certified kettlebell flow expert, and founder of Kettlebell Strong, based out of Solace NYC.

Gawron, aka “Coach Sarah,” who is also certified with CrossFit L2, USA Weightlifting L2, and Kettlebell Athletic, is here to smash the myths surrounding kettlebell training while providing all the reasons you should be adding kettlebells to your regularly scheduled training routine.

Coach Sarah Debunks Common Kettlebell Myths

If you’re one of many gymgoers still reluctant to commit to kettlebell training for fear of injury or just uneasiness regarding the training tool’s technique and benefits, Gawron says don’t let these common kettlebell misconceptions. Knowing kettlebell truth from fiction is the first step toward making additional gains to your training.

1. A person can’t to gain strength with kettlebells

  • Truth: “Building strength and size can be done in many different ways, and depends on numerous factors such as genetics, diet, training program, body type,” Gawron says. Case in point – Yes, kettlebells can build strength, but the end result comes down to how you train, how/what you eat, your genetics, lifestyle (and more) that create an environment for growth (or lack thereof).

2. Kettlebells can cause back issues.

  • Truth: “Using kettlebells takes technique and skill development; Therefore, many people don’t use them because they think they will get hurt and end up bruised,” Gawron explains. If you are new to using kettlebells, she encourages working with a trainer and taking an online course or class that goes over the fundamentals. This will ensure proper technique and safety.

3. There is only one way to lift and use kettlebells.

  • Truth: Short answer: FALSE! “There are many ways, styles, and schools of kettlebell training,” Gawron says. “All will confirm and encourage the movements should be done efficiently and pain-free.” She explains.

“Some people get confused by seeing hardstyle, Kettlebell Sport, or some hybrid of the two and want to know which style is ‘correct,” she says. But since movement can take so many different forms, there is no “wrong” way to move.

The Difference Between Kettlebells Training and Dumbbells

Although both kettlebells and dumbbells do a body good, there happens to be a surprising difference between the two.

Interestingly, the design of the kettlebell allows for a fuller and greater range of motion when training. “For example, the strict press, (when using a kettlebell), you can use the full range of the shoulder joint,” Gawron says. “When using a dumbbell or barbell, because of their design, the movement is shortened.”

Unlike barbells or dumbbells, kettlebell exercises allow the body to train different planes, where movements executed with a dumbbell and barbell are typically done in just the sagittal plane), recruit stabilizer muscles more, therefore making joints stronger, and require the body to evenly generate force in order to execute movements efficiently.

“The design of the kettlebell makes it unique and different compared to conventional tools like dumbbells,” Gawron says. “A kettlebell’s center of gravity is offset from its handle—it rests several inches away, requiring the stabilizer muscles to engage more to balance the weight during a movement,” she says, giving you more bang for your buck when pumping iron.

Fitness Coach Sarah performing a kettlebell training exercise in NYC
Courtesy of Coach Sarah

The Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Get ready to add kettlebells to your sweat sessions as they have proven themselves to be an excellent tool for total body conditioning. “Kettlebell training is a fine balance of improving mobility, building stability through joints, increasing muscle, and developing power,” Gawron says.

The conventional and traditional movements of kettlebell training such as the swing, clean, and snatch are all power and strength movements. “It is important to have such power movements in your training to help develop stronger, more resilient connective tissue; specifically, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and joint capsules,” she explains.

Kettlebell training also develops grip strength and helps aid in improving coordination and mobility. And of course, kettlebells crush the core as well.

“You can use kettlebells in a variety of ways: circuits, flow, strengthen exercises to build strength and improve cardiovascularly,” Gawron says. And you can train anywhere; the beach, a park, in the comfort of your own home, or your local gym!

Top Kettlebell Brands to Get You Started

You don’t need to invest much to get started in Kettlebell training. In fact, a person can accomplish a lot with a light, medium, and heavyweight. Here are Coach Sarah’s top three favorite Kettlebell Brands for you to choose from:

Keep in mind: Each company’s kettlebell mold is slightly different. One brand might have a long or thicker handle and the kettlebell will sit differently in the rack position. Consulting with a kettlebell instructor or professional will help take the guesswork out of what kettlebell works best for you.

Go with the Flow

Oftentimes, people may get intimidated by kettlebell terminology, one of those being a flow. A flow, according to Gawron, is like a dance, a combination of one move, say, a kettlebell swing, leading into another, like a clean, and continuing in what looks like a choreographed routine. It’s almost like a zen-like state with a kettlebell, and before you know it, you’re moving the bell for five minutes without putting it down. keeping up with those around us that but if we can really channel in and move with purpose. So I find that flow work really helps with that. Because now your focus on the movement, you’re in tune with your breath. So that way, you can move with the bell for five plus minutes at a time without putting it down.

“I find with a lot of students or people who are interested in wanting to start using the tool is that they see all these crazy flows, or they look really impressive on social media. But as simple like flow could be a swing, even simplify, it’ll be like a clean, a press a squat. That’s it. And you can just do the clean squat to overhead. And once I explain or tell people that that’s a flow, they’re like, oh, I can do that.

Inspired to kettlebell train? Let’s begin!

Fitness coach performing a kettlebell swing as part of her kettlebell training for beginners program
Courtesy of Coach Sarah

Coach Sarah’s Entry-Level Kettlebell Training Workout

Block A (3 rounds, done as a circuit). Use this as a warmup for the two blocks that follow this.

  1. Squat to Halo: 10 reps
    What it does: This is used to warm up and help mobilize shoulders as well as loosen up the lower body.
    How to do it: Start by holding a light kettlebell upside down (bell facing up) while grabbing onto the bell’s horns. With feet at about shoulder width, squat, then drive up, and rotate the bell around your head from left to right, then bring back to your chest. That’s one rep. Repeat for five reps before switching rotations (right to left). 
  2. Suitcase + Rack Carry: 30 sec per side:
    What it does: This is used to warm up and stabilize your core as well as to help activate the shoulders.
    How to do it: Hold one light kettlebell in one hand in a front rack position (holding bell to your chest while keeping your wrist strong and elbow tight). Hold a heavier kettlebell with your other hand at your side (like a suitcase). Walk a straight line or in place, focusing on keeping your core tight and hips straight.  After 30 seconds, switch sides.
  3. Chest Swings: 15 reps
    What it does: This hip hinge movement is used to warm up and help activate the hamstrings and glutes. (You shouldn’t be feeling this in your lower back.) It’s also a great starting point for learning how to master the kettlebell swing.
    How to do it: Start by holding the kettlebell with both hands at your sternum with feet about shoulder width and directly underneath your hips. (Keeping the weight close to you close to your center of mass will eliminate the possibilities of feeling it in your low back). Hinge at the hips, then, pushing your feet into the floor, engage your glutes and stand up. That’s one rep.

Block B (Strength): 3-4 sets / Rest as needed between sets. Try to keep the flow going from one move to the next.

  1. Two-handed Clean to Squat: 5 reps (each side)
    What it does: This is a great move for developing lower-body power and explosiveness.
    How to do it: Keep feet at about shoulder width as you place a light to medium kettlebell on the floor, between your ankles. Send your hips back, and reach for the bell with both hands. Then, using legs and glutes, pull the bell toward your chest. Standing straight with bell still at your chest, lower into a squat then place the kettlebell back onto the floor. That’s one rep. Reset and repeat.  
  2. Standing Seesaw Press: 6 reps (each side)
    What it does: Develops shoulder strength and power
    How to do it: Hold a pair of light kettlebells from the rack position (focus on keeping your elbows close to sides and thumbs at your collarbone). Press one bell toward the ceiling until lockout. Then lower that dumbbell while simultaneously pressing opposite kettlebell. Continue this “seasaw” pattern for the remainder of the set. 
  3. Deadstop Swing: 12 reps
    What it does: This is a great hip-hinge movement that is an outstanding building block for advancing to kettlebell swings.
    How to do it: Taking a similar approach as you previously did with the chest swing — feet underneath you, bell between ankles, only this time the kettlebell is placed on the floor. Send your hips back, reach down for the bell and tilt the bell toward you — that’s your starting position. From here, “hike” the bell like a football, keeping it close to your hips, push your feet into the floor, engage your glutes, let the bell swing forward. Allow it to swing back, then lower to the floor and reset. That’s one rep.  

Block C (Core Cashout): — 3 sets of 30 seconds on/15 seconds off

  1. High Plank Drag
    What it does:
    Focuses on core strength and anti-rotation.
    How to do it: Set up in a strong high plank position, with kettlebell along one side of torso. With opposite arm, reach across chest and grab the bell, dragging it to your other side. Then with opposite arm, reach across again and grab bell to other side. Keep alternating for 30 seconds. (Note: If you’re losing the plank position, lower to your knees and continue performing drags.)
  2. ½ Kneeling Windmill
    What it does: Focuses on rotation as well as hip and shoulder stability.
    How to do it: From a half-kneeling position, with one foot in front and the other leg down. Holding a kettlebell on your front-foot side, press it overhead, keeping it locked out for 30 seconds. Rotate your torso toward the kettlebell side, looking at the bell, while lowering your opposite hand to the floor (place your hand on a yoga block if you have mobility issues). Return back to original half-kneeling position and repeat.  





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An Updated Guide on Training Truths and Muscle Myths


The golden age of bodybuilding (think Arnold Schwarzenegger before Terminator and Predator) produced much of the training wisdom that trickled down to everyday lifters in commercial gyms. They were ahead of the curve and the science, figuring out a lot of what you use in today’s workouts. Many of the classic ideas also missed the mark but live on in the gym next to you.

Here are four classic updated training principles and training myths that will keep your muscles up and progressing toward your fitness goals.

The Weider Principles

The Weider Principles

Build the perfect routine – or make any workout better -— with these tried-and-true training princip…

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Four Updated Training Principles:

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What Gym Leggings Are Squat Proof?


What Is Squat Proof?

We hear the expression squat proof leggings frequently when referring to gym wear, but what does it actually mean? Surely, all gym leggings are suitable for squatting aren’t they? I guess you’re able to get into a squat position in most pairs, but to be truly squat proof, gym leggings are required to be made to a high quality.

Squat proof gym leggings are leggings which don’t go see-through as soon as we bend down. If cheap material is used, it can often be too thin and therefore, becomes even thinner as you bend and move and the material stretches. This leads to you showing the world what is beneath your leggings, whether you like it or not.

squat poof leggings

Squat proof gym leggings are made of high-quality materials, to ensure that we can bend and move in all directions, without this see through occurrence. In addition to this, the materials also offer more support and comfort when working out. They help to compress your muscles to reduce the onset of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and also help to keep you cool throughout your workout. The materials help to wick the sweat away, keeping you cooler and more comfortable for longer.

Gym leggings which are not squat proof are also renowned for sliding down mid squat. So, if people aren’t looking through your leggings they can be peering from the top, and let’s be honest, a builder’s bum is not a good look on even the sexiest of bottoms. Squat proof gym leggings are made with more stretchy material, which ensures your leggings move with you when you squat, they stretch in all directions, ensuring the waist band is held in place. No more unwanted flashing in inappropriate places.

How Will I Know?

If you don’t want to wait until you’re squatting at the gym, to be told by the person behind you that your leggings are not squat proof, simply give them the squat test. Grab a mirror, put your back to it and squat deep. Downward facing dog even, any intense stretch will do, to allow you to check your own reflection to ensure you have chosen squat proof garments.

squat poof leggings

Where Can I Find Them?

However, if you’re shopping online and you don’t have the luxury of a changing room and a mirror, and you can’t be bothered with returns and refunds, Gym Wear UK is your online solution. All of the leggings from this trusted supplier have been tested and are guaranteed to keep your private parts private.

Gym Wear UK stocks squat proof gym leggings from a range of brands, including Famme, V3 Apparel, Combat Dollies and many others. Their range is versatile to suit all shapes, sizes and preferences. You can browse the items, ratings and reviews online to ensure the item is perfect for what you need. So, whether you’re a runner, yogi, cyclist or more of a class fanatic, you can find your perfect squat proof leggings at www.GymWear.co.uk



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Pro Strongwoman Gabriele Burgholzer Displays Strength in Sport and Service


Imagine being at the Arnold Sports Festival and standing among the best in the world in your sport preparing for competition. Gabriele Burgholzer knows that feeling well. At the 2022 Arnold Pro Strongwoman contest, Burgholzer stood as one of the 10 strongest women on the planet to compete in Columbus, OH.

Burgholzer placed eighth, but the connection for Burgholzer goes far deeper than just being a contest participant. The native of Austria feels a connection to its host, fellow Austria native Arnold Schwarzenegger — she’s even known as the “Austrian Oaktress.”

“I almost want to say I followed in his footsteps a little bit because he also left Austria to go overseas and to make a name of himself,” said Burgholzer.

Burgholzer spent her entire childhood in Austria. In her native country, the men are required to join the military before moving on with the rest of their lives.

“In Austria, it’s mandatory for all males to serve in the military for a couple of months to get the experience,” she said. “So, my two brothers, my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so on, all served in Austria.”

Gabriele Burgholzer in full military uniform
Courtesy of Gabriele Burgholzer

GABRIELE BURGHOLZER HONORS BY SERVING

After graduating high school, Burgholzer came to America in 2007 to be an exchange student. Because she loved being in the United States so much, she opted to stay here permanently. However, she wanted to do more than simply live here. She wanted to show her appreciation for the country she now calls home. That’s why she enrolled in the United States Army.

“I’ve been granted a lot of opportunities here that I think I would have not been granted in Austria. I just wanted to give back to the community. I wanted to thank the U.S. in a sense for letting me be and stay here, and for all the opportunities I’ve been given.”

Burgholzer has been serving in the United States Army for nine years, and her current rank is as a Staff Sergeant. Her travels have taken her from Fort Jackson, SC, where she performed in Basic Training to Texas, North Carolina, and even Hawaii. She is currently stationed in Fort Knox, KY.

Among the honors she has received include the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, three Army commendation medals, and more. In February of 2019, she tried out for the US Army Warrior Fitness team. Since August of that year, she has been the only strongwoman competitor on the team. Burgholzer wasn’t involved with fitness as a kid, but she has become passionate about strength and power.

“I did try my hand at bodybuilding, but I found that it wasn’t quite my forte. I preferred lifting heavy instead of looking good onstage.”

Gabriele Burgholzer deadlifting truck tires attached to a barbell
Courtesy of Gabriele Burgholzer

STRENGTH AND SERVICE IS THE KEY

The sport of strongwoman turned out to be the correct choice for Burgholzer. She entered her first contest, a local competition, in 2019. By 2020, she was crowned America’s Strongest Woman.

“It used to be frowned upon to be a strong woman and have big muscles. So, (the cheers) got me going and kept me going in that direction, and I haven’t stopped since.”

Gabriele Burgholzer went on to place second at the 2021 America’s Strongest Woman contest the following year. Her first international contest came when she competed at the Arnold in March of 2022. Staff Sargeant Burgholzer explained the feeling of representing her new home country in an international contest under the bright lights of Columbus.

“It felt amazing. It was an incredible honor,” she shared. “If you were to tell me I would compete with the best athletes in the world in my sport and represent both Austria and the U.S. on that stage, I’d thought you were crazy. It’s a memory that I will cherish forever.”

Burgholzer may not have won that contest, but there are certain to be more international contests to come, and she will be ready. Aside from her dedication to training, her service and working in the Army has served as an advantage to mentally prepare as well.

“I think as soldiers or any servicemembers, we are taught from day one to have discipline. I think that for any sport, that is one of the bases you have to have. You have to be disciplined throughout your training, your diet, your sleep, everything to be in top shape,” she explained. “I truly thank the Army for helping teach me that discipline.”

Gabriele Burgholzer winning Americas Strongest Woman competition
Courtesy of Gabriele Burgholzer

DISCIPLINE ABOVE ALL

Gabriele Burgholzer made it clear that she was referring to discipline, and not motivation, because as all athletes that compete know, the motivation may not be there every day.

“Just like in the Army, there are some things that you have to push yourself to do, there are days you have to do that in the gym as well. There are always good days and bad days.”

After the Arnold contest, Burgholzer had to undergo multiple surgeries that have kept her from returning to the strength stage for the time being, but she will be back, and she already has goals in mind. One of those goals is actually in another sport – powerlifting.

“I want to set the world record in the bench press. I recently hit 325 pounds, and I have no technique right now. So, I’m working on that, and hopefully I can break the record in my weight class, which I think is 380.”

Gabriele Burgholzer credits a lot of her success in strength and life to the military, and she feels everyone should understand what it is like to serve this nation.

“I actually think everyone should serve in the military for a couple of years. It has really helped me learn more about myself, improve discipline, and it has given me an opportunity to look at a bigger picture of what service members do for this country,” she explained, “It has also given me appreciation for the freedom that we all get to have. So, anyone that may be considering joining, please do. Obviously, do your research to find which branch is best for you.”

Aside from being one of the best in her sport, she wants to be one of the best for her sport. Burgholzer wants to encourage more women to get involved in strength sports in general so they can become their strongest selves.

“To all women out there, not just in the service, but all women, come join me in a strength sport. Don’t let society tell you what you should look like or what you’re supposed to lift or not lift. Come join me.”

Follow Gabriele on Instagram: @gabi_theaustrianoaktress

The 11 Strongest Women of All Time

The 11 Strongest Women Ever

These legendary ladies lifted their way into the history books.

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