We’ve all heard this one before “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky.” This single idea has kept countless numbers of women from lifting weights. Today I am going to debunk some common myths about strength training for women, and talk about the numerous benefits!
First lets just cut to the chase, just incase you didn’t want to read the whole article to get to the good stuff. Lifting weights WILL NOT make you bulky! Women simply do not have the testosterone levels (naturally) required to put on a lot of mass, and testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone in the body. I know that there are pictures out there of women who do indeed look very muscular and bulky, but you have to realize that this was not an accident on their end! Thats how they WANTED to look, and it took incredible amounts of lifting, eating, determination, and quite possibly the help of some illegal supplements. So first and foremost, get this idea out of your head.
So now lets go over what lifting weights WILL do for you. (Please note that everything that follows is true for both women AND men).
Jumpstart your metabolism - If you’re someone who has been doing the same cardio-based routine over the past couple years and you feel like you’ve plateaued, some strength training may be exactly what you’re looking for! As you build more muscle your body will burn more calories (even while at rest). And it has been shown that an intense strength training session can burn just as much, or even more, calories than a cardio session. Also, after an intense strength training session your body will consume additional oxygen for hours, increasing your calories burned. This is called “EPOC” or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. If you’re looking to burn calories and lose a couple pounds of fat, strength training is the way to go!
Give you muscle tone and definition - Ever heard of the term “skinny fat”? Its a term used for people who are skinny with little to no muscle definition. It’s not a look that most people strive for. On the other hand, most people want to look toned and defined… which will only happen when you have muscle… which will only be there after you’ve started lifting weights! If you know you have plenty of muscle but still aren’t satisfied with your tone and definition, it's not that you need more muscle, its that you need to lose a layer of fat covering the muscle! In this case, I would turn up the intensity of your workout sessions, taking less rest between sets to burn more calories.
Help you sleep better - If you’ve never tried it before, do one solid strength training session for about an hour, then note how you sleep that night. Chances are, you’ll sleep like a baby! Pushing your muscles to new limits really taxes your body, and it’ll need a good night's sleep to repair the muscles after breaking them down during exercise.
Give you more energy throughout the day - Speaking from experience and testimonials from others, generally speaking, those who strength train usually experience more sustained energy throughout the day. Strength training will also increase your cardiovascular capabilities, so activities that used to be strenuous will become easier and therefore leave you feeling less tired.
Improve your mood and reduce stress - It's not rocket science, when you exercise regularly you feel better! Also working out is proven to be a great stress reliever. Feeling stressed? Don’t think about stress eating… go pick up a barbell :)
Improve your overall health and well-being - Weightlifting helps increase your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or “good cholesterol” and reduce your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad cholesterol.” This in turn reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease. Strength training will help build stronger bones, making you more stable (especially important as you get older!). It will also reduce your chances of stroke, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis… just to name a few!
All those benefits and no real downside… it’s still a wonder to me why everyone (man or woman) isn’t supplementing some form of strength training into their routines. At Fitness Fusion we have a separate Strength Class for people to compliment their classes and have a well-rounded weekly program. If you are someone who doesn’t know where to begin as far as strength training is concerned, ask me for some guidance and i’d be happy to help! Maybe some personal training to get you started on the right foot and learn all the proper techniques so you don’t risk injury.
Bottom line: Give strength training a shot, and you will not be disappointed with the results, and you will NOT get bulky! You will however, build strength, confidence, tone and definition, burn more calories, sleep better, have more energy throughout the day, improve your mood, and improve your overall health!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, keep it healthy!
Fitness Fusion Easthampton