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The Summer of Strong

Here, model trainer Heather Marr introduces her new weight lifting class, Liftologie. 

Welcome to the summer of strong. With Wonder Woman cleaning up at the box office and ushering in a new era of female superheroes, it's time for women to stop being afraid of lifting heavy weights and owning their power.

Since coming to the U.S. from Canada in 2014 to train models and celebrities, I've noticed that a lot of women in this country don't lift heavy weights because they are afraid of getting bigger and losing their feminine shape. But my business partner, former magazine editor Tatiana Boncompagni, and I are determined to bust the myth that heavy strength training results in a bulky physique.

As a model trainer—and a woman—I understand that many women want their bodies to be lean, fit and strong. But I also know that weight training can deliver those results—and others that cardio-based workouts cannot. Strategically increasing your muscle mass in certain areas of the body can create the illusion of a balanced hip or smaller waist, for example. It can create a beautiful hourglass physique, chisel your arms, and lift your glutes. Aside from the obvious aesthetic gains, weight lifting has many health benefits as well. These include lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, blood pressure and reducing the risk of diabetes among many others. It can also be a very useful tool for relief of anxiety, stress and depression. 

That’s why I decided to launch Liftologie, my new fitness class, available exclusively at David Barton's TMPL gym. A one hour, full-body fitness class, it focuses on strength training and body weight exercises that put all body parts to work, including those often undertrained and overlooked, such as the back. The class will move through a variety of fun and challenging exercises that incorporate advanced training techniques such as compound sets and drop sets, designed to take your fitness to a new level.

Most group classes that incorporate weights encourage participants to lift light weights at higher rep ranges. And these sets are great warm ups or cardio sequences—but heavy weights offer a completely different set of benefits. Our method, by contrast, puts the body to work in an entirely different way, building muscle mass and boosting your metabolism. As a result, we can deliver the aesthetic results women aren't seeing from their cardio-based workouts. Cardio workouts performed alone often result basically in a smaller version of your current physique provided that calories are not increased to compensate for the increase in activity. Strength training can increase lean muscle mass and change body composition and body proportions.  

In addition—and this is a huge part of why Tatiana and I feel so passionately about what we are doing—weight training makes women feel strong and capable. That is incredibly empowering, and I think we can all agree that in today's social and political climate, that's more important than ever.  

This has been an exciting year for me personally. Since 2014, I've been working toward earning my extraordinary ability green card for personal training. This year, all of my hard work finally paid off, and I earned my green card and the privilege of staying and working in this country. With that came many opportunities, including being able to branch out and work not just with models but with the general public as well. I'm so excited to finally be able to launch Liftologie and educate more women out there on the benefits—mental and physical—of weightlifting.

Liftologie takes place at New York’s TMPL gym, Mondays and Wednesdays at 7 a.m.