GET off the exercise bike, STOP reading that gossip magazine about Kim Kardashian’s latest divorce, STOP walking on the treadmill admiring the toned guy pumping iron in front of you! Ladies, GO AND JOIN HIM!
Lifting weights isn’t typically a woman’s go-to work out, but there are many benefits, apart from making you look good, that you probably have not thought of. In this day and age, we all are trying to get more bang for our buck so instead of hiring the personal trainer at the gym, you can start by lifting weights and you’ll start seeing the results you’ve imagined.
We have put together 8 reasons why the treadmill and yoga classes aren’t giving the results quickly enough and that lifting weights holds the key. The key not only to weight loss, but overall health and wellbeing.
The typical statement we are guilty of ourselves and that we hear all the time is this ‘I’ve put on weight, I need to do more cardio’ but…the answer is not on the cardio machines. Many women turn to traditional aerobics and cardio to lose weight and get in shape, but strength training is a critical aspect to physical fitness as well.
I would put a bet that the most used and abused machine at a gym is the treadmill. It’s everyone’s comfort and ‘go to’ machine. Lifting weights for women can be too intimidating as it can be associated with bulkiness and competitiveness. However, you need to get out of your comfort zone and head into the arena, get the benefits of lifting weights, not just for your body, but for your life. Next time you walk into the gym, walk out having lift some weights.
We’ve all been there: you’re in the gym watching a dozen buff guys lift and slam free weights down as they flex in the mirror. That doesn’t have to be you. While many men lift to achieve that bulked up physique reminiscent of the Hulk, women can use strength training without looking masculine or bulky. Here are 8 reasons why we all need to lift for a better physique.
Kick-Starting Fat Loss
Most people associate cardio with the most effective way to lose weight quickly, however there are so many studies that have shown that weight training burns more calories not only during exercise but after exercise aswell. People can often find this weird as they believe that because they sweat and huff and puff after running on the treadmill, they feel they are running away the fat. However, after you’ve pumped out a few repetitions of lifts and curls, your muscles get activated and crave more oxygen. As a result, your body increases caloric expenditure and your metabolic rate, both of which increase the amount of fat you burn AND increases at a higher rate than cardio.
Have you ever heard that sitting burns more calories than standing? No. It’s the same here. It’s all about caloric expenditure, walking burns less calories than running (we all know that) but we all need to know that running burns less calories than strength training.
Say Goodbye to Calcium Tablets
You may not be thinking about menopause quite yet, but building your bone strength now will help reduce the risk of developing Osteoporosis as you age. It seems counter intuitive that putting your body through the pain of weight lifting could benefit your bones, but studies have shown that postmenopausal women who do regular strength training increased their bone density by 9 percent, that’s quite a big percentage when we are talking about bones. Even if you’re years away from the threat of Osteoporosis or menopause, strength training can have a lasting effect on your bone health.
More Muscle, More Calories Burnt
You may not think about the calories you burn outside the gym, however your metabolism is always working as a result of your muscles contracting throughout the day. When you begin to build more lean muscle mass your body uses the calories you consume more effectively and uses them not only to fuel your daily activities, but to also repair the damaged muscles, as a result of your weight training.
Think about it: if you’re increasing the amount of squats, curls, and dead lifts you do at the gym then you’re also increasing how many calories you’re burning while sitting at your desk. That sounds like a fair trade to me!
Real Women Don’t Look Like Marathon Runners
We’ve all seen the marathon runners racing through the neighborhood training everyday or see them on our television screens with their pencil thin legs and waif-like figures; these are the women who burn calories faster than they can even consume them.
However, that is only a select few women who are not only naturally gifted at running long miles, they are naturally gifted in their metabolism. While many women desire to lose weight and look trim, others fear losing the curves that make them look, well, womanly.
Strength training encourages both your body to burn fat while building lean muscle mass, enhancing your hourglass figure. Sticking to pure cardio and aerobics will cause you to lose fat, but you might also be losing muscle mass that contributes to your womanly curves.
Sleep Like a Baby
High intensity strength training has been proven to improve your quality of sleep, which is something we all need more of. Resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train, triggering your body to feel tired. Additionally, strength training helps you fall into a deeper, more effective sleep, and studies have shown that it even prevents you from waking during the night.
Next time you need a good night’s sleep, grab a barbell and do some curls.
While strength training increases your energy after a workout it also increases your energy over a longer period of time. With regular strength training sessions your body will learn to bank more energy to get you through the day. This can have a valuable long term effect on your body and lifestyle that you will instantly be grateful for.
Blowing Off Steam
Any form of exercise can be a valuable form of stress relief, but there’s something even more empowering about lifting weights. Of course there’s the mental strength that comes from participating in a typically male dominated activity, but studies have shown that people who practice strength training really do manage stress more effectively than people who don’t exercise.
Initially, pumping iron causes your little ticker, your heart, to work overtime, but after you’ve incorporated strength training into your regular workout, your blood pressure and resting heart rate actually decrease. With regular weight lifting, women typically avoid gaining weight around their mid-section, experience lower triglyceride levels, and avoid elevated glucose levels. These three benefits reduce the risk of heart disease and lower the chances of experiencing a heart attack.
It can be overwhelming and intimidating to embark on a new exercise routine, especially if you’re not familiar with strength training. Rather than letting fear get the best of you, build up your confidence at home with body weight resistance training, then start incorporating lifting weights (download our free eBook, Strong is Sexy – Total Body Strength Workout for Women) and in no time you won’t remember your training days without doing it.