• Mission: to share the physiological and psychological benefits of training for strength.

I spent a good deal of my life fixated on the way my body was “supposed” to look. I’d often wake up in the morning, weigh myself, and have the number on the scale dictate my mood for the rest of the day. I spent so much time obsessing over something with no real end goal. What’s worse, I never considered what achieving this vague ideal would grant me– the only person living inside of my body, the only person who should decide what my body is made for. My self-worth was tied directly to the scale. Before I began powerlifting, I was ten pounds lighter than I am now, and yet I’ve never felt better.

When I started lifting heavy, my focus gradually shifted away from how my body looked, to how my body performed- this focus on building strength has brought me closer to my original aesthetic goals, while boosting my confidence and giving me real, measurable data to assess my progress.

  • Lifting heavy is an excellent way to maintain a healthy body fat percentage.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention writes:

“Strength training is crucial […] – individuals who have more muscle have a higher metabolic rate. […] Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for (fat) loss and long-term weight control.”

Instead of spending hours on the treadmill burning calories, I was able to increase the number of calories I burned at rest by increasing my lean body mass, and subsequently my resting metabolic rate.

In a recent study titled Comparison of Effects of Aerobic Endurance Training With Strength Training on Health and Fitness Variables [1], authors found:

“[An]  increase in lean body mass through strength training, no increase through aerobic training. [And] significant increase in basal metabolism rate through strength training [and an] insignificant increase through aerobic endurance training.”

  • Building a foundation of strength can guarantee a better quality of life.

“We lose so much muscle as we age, that by the time we’re 70, we only have about 50-55% of our muscle mass left, […] that explains why we feel weak and tired as we age, and we can prevent some of that with strength training.” – Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of medicine, Director of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center at the Northwestern University School of Medicine

Not only do we lose significant amounts of muscle as we age- our bone density decreases and put us at greater risks for fractures.[2] The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases writes:

“Chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are a woman – [we] lose bone more rapidly than men in middle age because of the dramatic reduction in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause. […] Bone loss builds up over time, and your bones become weaker as you age. The evidence suggests that the most beneficial physical activities for bone health include strength training or resistance training.”

The CDC also concludes that “strength training increases bone density and reduces the risks of fractures among women.” Another positive systemic change is the increase of hormonal regulations in the body, hopefully counteracting further bone loss and making for more manageable menstrual cycles by increasing the production of testosterone.[3]

In their book, Principles and Practice of Resistance Training, authors Michael Stone, PhD, Meg Stone, MS, and William A. Sands, Phd, noted an increased (although subjective) level of confidence in elderly women (aged 75-80) learning how to lift. Activities that once “seemed impossible, were newly accessible” and their “general level of activity increased over the duration of the study.”

This means that lifting weights can improve your health and quality of life in both the short and long term, even into old age.

  • Lifting heavy can help you appreciate your body in an entirely new way.

I am stronger, leaner, and best of all happier than I have ever been before.

It’s no surprise. Amy Cuddy teaches others about body language, specifically the way training our bodies and minds that we are in control can lead to a feeling of power. From her recent New York Time’s article:

“Let your body tell you that you’re powerful and deserving, and you become more present, enthusiastic, and authentically yourself.”

  • Intelligent Strength Training is not another body pump or bootcamp-style class that will simply get your heart rate up and tire you out.

Mark Rippetoe, arguably one of the most famous powerlifting coaches and author of Starting Strength, differentiates the difference between “exercise” and “training” thusly:

“First, training and exercise are different things entirely. Training is the process of directed physical stress, which results in an adaptation that satisfies a performance goal. […]

Exercise is what happens when you go to the gym and do exactly the same thing you did last week, or when you do P90X, Crossfit, or any other randomized program.

These activities are performed for one reason: the effect they produce for you today, right now. […] You showed up, moved some stuff around, got sweaty, tired, and maybe out of breath. [These programs] are about the “burn”, the sweat, the heart rate […] the perceived physical effects of the workout immediately after the exercises are performed.

Training is not about today. It’s about the process of going from where you are now to where you want to be later for the purpose of meeting a specific goal.”

Intelligent Strength Design will teach you the fundamentals of powerlifting, and what it means to train for strength with  intelligent and  individualized technique. Through the compound lifts: bench press, deadlift, and squat you will experience great carryover to nearly all physical performance or aesthetic adaptation goals you could have.

  • You will not get “bulky”.

Women simply do not have the hormonal makeup to achieve large, bulky muscles without supplementation. Female body-builders achieve their physique due to a combination of testosterone supplementation, anabolic steroid use, and years of hard, dedicated work. Saying you’re afraid to start lifting because you may accidentally get bulky is akin to saying you’re scared to go for a jog because you may accidentally end up running a marathon.

As a beginner IST trainee, strength improvements will happen at a neurological level. This means that before new muscle is even built, intra- and inter-muscular coordination is greatly improved. Your body will learn when to fire which muscles and in what sequence- allowing for greater proprioception and movement capabilities outside of the weight room. These adaptations happen very quickly in new trainees- you should see crossover almost immediately.

  • What is powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a sport comprised of three compound lifts: the back squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. In competition, an athlete sets out to lift as much weight as possible for a single repetition: their one rep max (or 1RM).

Powerlifting training then needs to differ greatly from most sports, as the trainee is working with the specific goal of increasing their 1RM. Therefore, most of the work will be done at lower repetition ranges with higher weight percentages, as this will yield great strength gains in new trainees and carryover better to 1RM improvement. Longer rest periods between sets are utilized to allow for better recovery and performance. This foundation of strength will later allow for a healthy mix of low and high intensity sessions to produce long-term results.

Intelligent Strength Training will focus on the three basic movement patterns present in the compound lifts to allow for the neurological and muscular development of the whole body. Accessory exercises will be performed to create balance, as well as address any weak points an individual trainee may have.

Over the course of eight weeks at IST, we will:

  • Teach and demo cues for the squat, bench, and deadlift
  • Help you find the right form for your particular body (with consideration to limb length/leverages)
  • Address any form errors through specific exercise additions for you, in real time
  • Teach you how to safely “fail” a lift
  • Demo and instruct on the important common accessory lifts in powerlifting
  • Complete full workouts in the third week under supervision of trainers, in a powerlifting style (low number of sets/reps, high relative intensity)
  • Compete in a meet in the last week, where trainees set out to perform their best 1RM for squat, bench, and deadlift!

So sign up, learn a new sport, and share the experience with others. See how strong your body can be!

Introductory Rate (One-time offer, for current clients only): $389

Dates: Sundays, (January 16—March 5) Two Months of Training (Off Saturday February 6th)

Time: 5pm-6:30pm


  1. Pollock M, Franklin B, Balady G, Chaitman, B. Comparison of Effects of Aerobic Endurance Training With Strength Training on Health and Fitness Variables. Circulation. 2000 Feb;101(7): 828-833
  1. Cummings S, Black M, Nevitt, M, Browner, S, Cauley, J, Genant, H, Mascioli, S, Scott, J, Seeley, D, Steiger P, Vogt. Appendicular Bone Density and Age Predict Hip Fracture in Women.JAMA. 1990;263(5):665-668
  2. Schoenfeld B. Post Exercise Hypertrophic Adaptations: A Reexamination of the Hormone Hypothesis and its Applicability to Resistance Training Program Design. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013 June; 27(6):1720-1730.