Great article: 3 Steps to Getting Your Girl to Train (or CrossFit)


This article from T-Nation is aimed at guys, who want their girlfriends to start training. We loved the article and think that a lot of the arguments made can be directly transferred to CrossFit.

christmas abbot

(picture: CrossFit athlete Christmas Abbot featured in Inked magazine)

Highlights from the article

Every guy wants a sexy, confident, in-shape woman on his arm. If you want to help your girlfriend or wife effectively change her body but don’t know where to start, then look no further.

Step one is knowing what you’re up against. Virtually everything ever written in mainstream media about exercising “for women” sticks them in the cardio room with ankle weights, ready to pump-n-tone.

This can lead to considerable conflict for your lady, especially on day one when you usher her towards the scary squat rack and start adding weight. So since we’re dealing with women, let’s start with these “emotional” considerations.

1. Make a plan and be supportive

Good support is a blend of the practical and emotional. At first it will be hard for your gal to commit to training and create the habit, so set her up for long term success by helping take care of the practical considerations.

2. Give her some external motivation so she can build her internal motivation

There are two types of motivation to consider. Controlled or external motivation comes from external sources. This kind of motivation is best for jump-starting the process.

On the other hand, autonomous or internal motivation comes from personal conviction, the “I do it for me” kind of motivation. That’s the kind we’re aiming for in the long run, but it takes time to develop.

The best way is to add the intrinsic stuff as she progresses, to give her something to work for by using “reward” strategies.

3. Emphasize Weight Training

This will have huge overall benefits, especially if she’s skinny fat. Getting women to weight train properly while ignoring all the misinformation is a big step. So, she’s got the time scheduled and you’ve convinced her not to be scared of the weights, what’s next? (…)

Stick to slightly higher rep ranges in the beginning, even for the bigger compound movements. She won’t be lifting heavy enough to benefit from anything fewer than 5 reps anyway. The key here is practicing the movements and getting in enough reps to stimulate her neuromuscular system and induce growth.

The focus should be on strength first. Only after a strength base is built can training be manipulated to suit more specific personal goals. You can’t sculpt muscle if you don’t have any to work with.

To that end, focus on increasing strength through progressive overload to develop a base that will benefit whatever type of training style she ends up liking best, and any body parts she wants to focus on changing even more later on.

Finishing off with some short metabolic style workouts 1-2 times a week like Tabata, HITT, or intervals will get her sweating a bit and make her feel like she “worked more” (one of the reasons women love spin classes and cardio boot camps).

(read the full version here:


5 thoughts on “Great article: 3 Steps to Getting Your Girl to Train (or CrossFit)

  1. If a woman wants to work out or not that’s her damn prerogative. Even if the training she’s doing keeps her (oh no) skinny fat!

    If you’ve got an issue with your woman’s body and you want to start shaping and moulding it. You don’t deserve her. What gives you the right to have any say in how she should look if she’s happy with herself?

    And the way this is written makes it seem like woman are so sensitive and fluffy; “the scary squat rack”. How abput we consider your woman just isn’t interested in lifting weights and you need to man up and accept this.

    • You’re clearly stressed out. You should go hit the weightroom, blow off some angry energy, then come back. Start at the squat rack.

    • This is mostly a great article and I agree that the attitude towards weight training is wrong and women need not fear the squat rack! I play volleyball so I appreciate that running on a treadmill is not going to increase my power or jump height. The point I believe you are trying to make is at the problem lies in the start of the article.

      ‘Every guy wants a sexy, confident, in-shape woman on his arm. If you want to help your girlfriend or wife effectively change her body but don’t know where to start, then look no further.’

      All you needed to do was state that the girlfriend/wife has initiated the want for change. The attitude cannot come from someone else – especially the boyfriend/husband as this would only reinforce a negative attitude.

      It’s just badly worded and makes it sound like the boyfriend is saying ‘get fit or you’re dumped’

  2. There in lies the issue, most girls aren’t happy with their bodies regardless of the way they train. If they are, then great, there is no issue, but it just isn’t so in a majority of cases. What’s wrong with a man or a woman, helping their partner to achieve the results they are after?

    Most of the girls I have ever known on a personal level are not happy about the way their body looks or feels. Most of these girls exercise and are still not happy with the results.

    Whether it be my obese friend who wants to feel good about her body and regain her confidence or my incredibly skinny girlfriend who feels lethargic and unhealthy despite her physique.

    Weight training and exercise is good for the mind and body. Just because a man, or woman for that matter, would like their partner to exercise or train with them, doesn’t mean they are not happy with their partners physical attributes. It simply means they are willing to invest the time into the relationship to make the other person feel better and more confident whilst also promoting a healthy lifestyle.

    This article addresses issues that a majority of people deal with on a daily basis in regards to negative body image/confidence issues and poor health, especially in women. As a male who trains for strength and conditioning weekly, I took it upon myself to help my girlfriend become the strongest and healthiest version of herself. I see nothing wrong with others wanting to do the same.

  3. This article is great. Is there a similar article for readers with a male s/o in need of extra effort? One thing I know about men in general is they also have a difficult time handling criticism about their own appearance; even if it is meant to be constructive.

    Side note: As both men and women can get more introverted about what they think of themselves in fear of appearing as though they lack self-esteem, it is usually best to approach the issue from an invited perspective.

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