Women In Fitness and Strength

Molly Collins

Meet the Author: Molly Collins

Women In Fitness and Strength

I want to start off this article with a quick activity. Can you list the characteristics of a person living an unhealthy lifestyle? Go! 

Now, list the characteristics of a person living a healthy lifestyle? Go! 

Does anywhere on these lists say, male or female? How about strength training? 

This brings me to my point. An unhealthy lifestyle isn’t based on gender, and neither is strength training. We, as women, may not have the same anatomy, but we have the same needs to stay healthy. I believe part of that process is strength training. 

But why is it that women and strength training aren’t spoken about or seen together often? Granted, strength training for women has been talked about more recently, but it is still not a comfortable combination for most.  

For women to feel confident and comfortable in strength training, there needs to be an opportunity to learn and succeed in an environment built to do so. 

Women’s Fitness Class

This need is why I created a class called Women’s Fitness. I designed this class to promote a healthy lifestyle for females. Its main goal is to teach students the foundations of fitness and overall wellness. This way, outside of our school walls, female students are more willing to take their health into their own hands. 

I created this class because almost 90% of my class rosters, if not more, were males. Whether it was a traditional physical education class or a weight training class, it was almost always all boys.

By creating a class with all females, we break down the barrier for stereotypes immediately. The class slowly introduces girls to fitness through foundational movements and body awareness.

 I structure this by introducing activities like yoga, dance, and calisthenics. After that, we progress into strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). We focus on mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health in each unit.

With the confidence built in the Women’s Fitness class, women then feel comfortable transitioning into mixed-gender weight training or other physical education classes. 

I have noticed the women that have taken and excelled in my women’s fitness class are more in touch with the way their bodies move. Some of the best form and technique from students in my weight training classes comes from those women who took Women’s Fitness. It goes to show, mastering the foundations, trusting the process, and putting the focus on mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health all play a huge role in creating a healthier generation for the future. 

Want to see how you can incoporate fitness and strength training for all your students?

Training Males and Females – Same Or Different? 

And while there are different variables to consider, I want to explore a frequently asked question: Should males and females be training the same? 

Yes! I do believe males and females can train the same. Unfortunately, males and females learn gender stereotypes early, and it is hard to rewire these assumptions. These stereotypes make teaching strength training to females or yoga to males both hard to do. I have not let that challenge deter me from exemplifying to any student, male or female, the importance of understanding how your body moves and works. 

Women 100% belong in the conversation of strength training, just as much as males belong in the conversation of yoga and dance. Who are we to tell young women and men what they are supposed to do to be considered healthy?

Instead, we need to provide them with many different tools to make them stronger in all aspects of health. Developing those four aspects of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, then help students to make decisions for a healthier future. 

So, take those lists you made at the beginning and rip them up. We, as educators and coaches, need to lead by example and show and respect that women and men can train shoulder to shoulder with one another. Learning and challenging one another to be healthier as a generation and society. 

We can all learn from one another. We just need to start somewhere. For me, it was with Women’s Fitness. 

My Class In Action

Panther Wall

Motivating Students In PE – 5 Tips From Molly Collins 

‘Every student comes every day motivated and excited for class.’

If you think that statement rings true, then you can probably stop reading. If you are a teacher and found this statement almost laughable, then keep reading. 

Any class or subject is going to have its group of students that need a little nudge. Physical education class is no different. 

Molly Collins takes a positive approach when thinking about the challenge of motivating students in her weight training and fitness classes. Check out the full article below.

Molly Collins

Meet the Author: Molly Collins

Motivating Students In PE – 5 Tips From Molly Collins

Motivating students in Physical Education class is tough. It is something as a PE teacher, I honestly struggle with quite often. When you are teaching upwards of 50 students at a time, there are a lot of different variables to try and manage when it comes to motivation. 

As a teacher, one of my main goals is to help students develop intrinsic motivation. (Easier said than done when working with high school students. Trust me, I know.)

Try these five tips to help instill intrinsic motivation in students during Physical Education class.

1: Create A Welcoming Environment

As teachers, we need to create a welcoming environment by having a clean and safe space. Is the room boasting with color, light, and energy? No one wants to be in a space that is dirty, blah, or dull.

Students benefit from a clean facility that has structure and flow throughout the space. Having little things like phrases, pictures, or branding on display shows what you are striving for. 

For energy, is music playing to set the tone you are looking for? Go grab a speaker and get your kids feeling excited. 

While the space and music can be electric, we still need to meet the students as individuals. 

2: Establish A Relationship

As teachers, we should strive to greet each person by name each day.  A name is one thing that characterizes a person, so calling students by name is the first step to establishing a relationship. 

A lot of students feel a bit of anxiety when entering a physical education environment because they think they don’t belong. 

Let each student know that they belong here. Having someone welcome you and converse with you instantly can help put any student’s nerves at ease. 

3. Start With The Basics

No matter what level of students you are teaching, everyone should have a solid foundation of the basics. Starting with the basics sets the students up for success right away. It gives them that instant satisfaction needed to build confidence. 

From there, students will progress at the pace they are ready to challenge themselves. From this foundation, students can set their own goals for what they hope to achieve next. 

Goal setting helps to build confidence in a way that only they will understand. The goals should be driven by the student and no one else. As a teacher, you are there to help and guide. As they get some self-satisfaction within their goals, it will hopefully leave them wanting more. 

4: Think Outside the Box, Change is Key!

After that foundation is built, challenge your students to step outside the box. Once students are ready to step outside their comfort zones, growth and development can really flourish. 

I think about it like the muscular system and training. Anyone doing the same exercises or weight day in and day out will reach a plateau. When we look for muscle confusion by switching up exercises, weights, or style of training, we can see that muscle growth happen. 

That same idea of switching things up is what we are looking for with growth and confidence in different physical education activities.  To change it up, we do game days, obstacle course challenge, or team workouts. Sometimes different military branches come in to do cognitive and physical challenges with the students. We even just take breaks from the workouts to talk or watch a video. 

Being able to read your students need for change, but also know when to stay the course and challenge them is a balancing act. This balance will help your students remain motivated throughout the whole year. 

5: Find the ‘Why’?

It is not for you, it is for them! So, what type of activity is going to engage the intrinsic motivation to give them a ‘Why’ to pursue a healthy lifestyle? Is it a way to manage stress? Could it be a way to prove obesity or diabetes wrong? Do they want to make a sports team? Are they wanting a career in Kinesiology? Maybe they have been wanting to join a fitness center or a fitness class? 

Everyone’s ‘Why’ is going to be different, and it’s our job to help direct them to their why. PE is meant to engage and motivate students in a way that allows them to have fun when doing so. (Check out my breakdown of “Why” in my New Age Of PE Article)

For example, take the softball player doing weight glute bridges. I explain it so that the softball player in PE sees that strong  glutes will help transfer to a powerful swing. Something so simple, that ties the days activity or movements to the ‘Why’ goes a long way for each student. 

Patience is a virtue

Our goal as physical educators is to promote a positive, healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that is healthy in all aspects including physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

In a society where instant satisfaction is constant, PE trains our students that patience is genuinely an important virtue when trying to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle is contagious. Once you take a bite, it leaves you wanting more. 

Its hard work to motivate students to participate and be motivated, but isn’t it ironic that it takes hard work to achieve success. 

Molly Collins Coaching

The New Age of PE: Purpose, Passion, & Pride

Molly Collins
Meet the Author: Molly Collins

Molly is a high school physical education teacher and coach at Pennfield High School in Michigan. She is also recognized as a PLT4M Coaches Club Ambassador.

Thank you, Molly, for your contribution to the world of physical education and athletics! 




The New Age of PE: Purpose, Passion, & Pride:

I believe everything in life is connected like a puzzle. In my life, I have three words to live by.

Purpose. Passion. Pride. I use them in my everyday life but also at school. I call it “P3 Fitness.”

It’s a way to embrace what’s important and start the chain reaction to an impactful life. A life that is your story, as flawed and imperfect as it may be. It’s a life being built through trial and error. 

How do I define P3 Fitness? Let me explain. 

What is Purpose? 

Purpose is your “why.” It’s different for everyone, yet everyone’s purpose is impactful. We all have a purpose in life, and for a young student-athlete, you most likely don’t have a clue of what your purpose is yet. Setting goals can often help develop that purpose. 

Through Physical Education, my goal is to challenge my students in ways they have never been challenged before. In other words, find the pieces to the puzzle. 

What is Passion? 

Passion is being strong and in control of your emotions. As young student-athletes, there are a lot of variables that come into play on a daily basis. 

Physical Education gives students the opportunity to push themselves past comfortable and to remain physically and mentally strong. In addition to controlling negative thoughts and staying positive, your passion follows and fuels your purpose. 

What is Pride? 

Pride means confidence and respect in one’s self and in others. It’s the key that leads to purpose. Having pride in yourself is to love and trust yourself.

High school can be a tough place. For most students, self-confidence lacks. Yet, day in and day out, when you are able to accomplish small goals while being surrounded by others doing the same, a school can become a powerful place. 

Pride fuels your passion to help you find your purpose. 

My Class and the PLT4M Connection:

How does my P3 Fitness philosophy blend so well with PLT4M’s mission? 

PLT4M has given me the chance to teach to the student, not just to the group. With large class sizes (up to 40 students), providing detailed individual instruction can be difficult. Yet, it’s what every student deserves. 

Through PLT4M, I am not teaching anything different in terms of lifts or exercises, but I am using technology to help reach more students at the level they individually need.

From a starting varsity lineman to the student who has never stepped foot into a fitness class, everyone can get their needs met by having access to in-person and online training. The app allows for the students to go at their own pace, yet face similar challenges daily.

Personalized weights for each exercise help challenge my students, and we have, in turn, seen personal growth through their individual log sets. The students all have goals, and fitness testing and leaderboards allow for those goals to have a purpose.

Finally, PLT4M allows for the students to see growth, not only in their physical appearance, but mental as well. This growth gives them confidence and self-respect to follow their purpose, all while having passion when doing so. PLT4M is for everyone!

Don’t Take My Word For It.

As part of our final exam, my students wrote their thoughts about the class. Some students’ thoughts were: 

 “This class helped me to just be myself and express myself. It also helped me develop better relationships with my friends. It taught me to always give my best no matter what anyone else does and to always push myself.” 
“This class helped me by giving me a winning attitude towards sports and school. Through hard work, commitment, and consistency, I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.” 

That is what Physical Education and PLT4M are doing in the lives of young students and athletes today. When focusing on developing purpose, passion, and pride, these students are going to be the ones that are truly prepared for the future and will be able to impact others. 

Teaching and coaching is my purpose and why I love my job.