By: Kay Rivera

Barbells and deadlifts are not to be feared in the House, especially for this Athlete who took up our STRENGTH sessions with no prior lifting experience.

In September, we unveiled the counterpart component to our well-known Conditioning program, STRENGTH. 

Each STRENGTH session focuses on either upper, lower, or full body muscle groups. Upper body days will target chest, back, biceps, and triceps. Lower body days will target glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Each session is guided and assisted by our knowledgeable coaches to ensure your safety, while also pushing you to your full potential. 

Athlete and Ladykiller, Hiba Irshad, has been a frequent Athlete in the House pre-2020. So, once we began in-house STRENGTH sessions, Irshad jumped at the opportunity to learn how to lift properly while building her muscular and physical endurance. She shares her experience below: 

Hiba Irshad, Tone House Athlete
  1. How would you describe your history with fitness? I played sports as a kid through summer camps, but never stuck to playing [organized] sports. I began implementing cardio and light weight training in college, and have continued that on my own through group fitness. 
  1. How long have you been coming to Tone House? I began attending regular conditioning sessions in April 2019. TH announced Strength sessions which excited me because I always wanted to get into weighted lifting and strengthening.The first day TH announced [Strength sessions], I signed up. I’ve been coming consistently, 3-5 times a week. It has been game changing.
  1. Did you have any experience lifting prior to Tone House’s STRENGTH sessions? Not any barbell lifts, mostly dumbbell training that I would do on my own. 
  1. What were your expectations going into your first STRENGTH session? How have they carried out? My expectations consisted of having 1:1 time [with the coaches], and that is exactly what TH delivered. The sessions are small; you are broken up into smaller groups. You get lots of attention from the coach in each session. They correct your form, ensure safety, while pushing you, which I really appreciate. [The coaches] can tell what you are [capable of] lifting, and if you can [lift] more.
Hiba and Coach James before an Upper Body lifting session.

“There is always a challenge when I am facing heavier weight, but I overcome it by staying consistent to ensure no gaps in training. I tell myself ‘you’ve been coming here, you are getting stronger, you can do this!” 

  1. What is your favorite new lift you’ve learned in TH Strength, and why? I have to say I love doing deadlifts. The trap bar is something I have not worked with before. You have to utilize your whole body; making sure your core is stabilized, keeping a flat back, really using your glutes, engaging your lats. It’s total body lift even though it is targeting mostly your lower body. The rest of your body has to be engaged to ensure you are doing the lift properly and safely. 
  2. What do you wish to accomplish by partaking in regular Strength sessions? I just want to get stronger to be honest. I want to build muscle. I am already accomplishing that by regularly attending since September. 
  3. What were some ‘misconceptions’ or ideas that may have shifted on heavy lifting from before trying TH Strength and now? Many say how ‘girls do not need to lift heavy to gain muscle,’ that [women] just need to do high reps, low weight, but obviously that is not true. I have been focusing on lifting really heavy, gaining muscle. People also say ‘lifting makes you bulky,’ again, not true. All of those ‘misconceptions’ have gone away. If I were to hear those [misconceptions] now, I would explain how lifting is beneficial for everyone.
  4. Do you have any measurable successes that you’d like to share from TH strength? I have never deadlifted, squatted, or bench pressed as much as I have before [Strength sessions], so every time I come back, I am adding more weight, which is measurable for me, as every time I can do a little bit more. 
  5. Do you have any words of advice for someone who wishes to start attending regular STRENGTH sessions? Overcome your fears. Tone House is the place to do it. The environment is welcoming, supportive, and ensures your safety. It is a place to learn the fundamentals of strength training as you are coming into an encouraging and safe environment. And it is a lot of fun! [Strength sessions] are something that I look forward to every day.