Hannah Richards – Female Ambassador at CSN & Editor of Barbelles Magazine
As a Masters in Journalism graduate from Cardiff University, I have been able to combine my two major passions in life, writing and fitness. During my 1st year in university I founded and edited the magazine Barbelles, a women’s weightlifting magazine for women, which has recently been short listed for the BBC Worldwide 2015 Magazine Awards. In my spare time, I am a CrossFitter. After competing in the 2014 CrossFit Regionals as a member of the RCFC team, I have had a taste of competition and am striving to compete at this level again in the future.
A Woman in a Mans World No More
Fitness is getting more coverage in the UK media than ever before. Instagram feeds are filled with motivational fitness quotes, Facebook plays host for numerous fitness blogs and even YouTube has become saturated with personal training videos.
This is a positive change, a step in the right direction and synonymous with rise of the influence of the UK fitness industry are the number of women who have become the faces of sport within this country. Take Maggie Alphonsi for example, one of the the first women to commentate on the ITV coverage of the RWC15.
On a more personal level, I have recently starting working at Cardiff Sports Nutrition, a supplement company based in Cardiff. The company is going from strength to strength and I am lucky to be a part of the company’s evolution. I think I am even more lucky though to have been accepted into a workforce consisting of solely men.
My whole team are male, and the majority of the ambassadors and sales representatives who regularly visit CSN are men. But there have never been issues with working alongside my colleagues and if anything they are happy to have a woman on board. It’s not only the most welcoming workplace I’ve stepped foot in, it’s the most fun and energetic company that I have ever had the pleasure of working for. I applied for this job in the hope that I would be able to combine my two passions, health & fitness with writing. It’s proved to be much more than that. I have learnt so much more about other elements of the fitness industry and how men and women’s fitness should not be looked at differently, women can train just as hard as men.
However, there is definitely some scope for changing the perceptions of women and training. One of the most frustrating factors for me is the fluffy women’s health magazines that are available on the market. Flicking through one of the glossies, you’re bound to find articles encouraging fad dieting, the fastest methods for losing fat and light bodyweight exercises. This is what inspired me to produce the magazine Barbelles, a more hard hitting and gritty take on a women’s fitness magazine…aimed at women who incorporate weightlifting into their fitness regime.
The fitness industry is opening it’s doors, gradually, but surely to women. Whether you’re a CrossFitter, Bodybuilder, Triathete etc. The perceptions of women’s training are changing in a positive way and the only way is up.
Motivation is key, within the workplace and in training. If you keep looking backwards or dwelling on the day you couldn’t hit new PB’s, or like me, feel patronised by magazines portraying women’s fitness entirely different to mens…don’t dwell on the negative. Move forward, use it to motivate you, to get into the gym, to work your ass off training, this will not only provide you with self-satisfaction but it will inspire others around you to reach out, achieve and exceed their goals too.