Lifting can seem intimidating, especially in a gym where the weight section. Do you fear heavy lifting? And worry it will make them look like bulky?
Major Benefits of Strength Training
Added strength, confidence, stronger bones, fat burn, and weight loss, better athletic performance, and fewer injuries. It’s a win-win-win-win.
Who doesn’t want to be stronger!? One of the benefits of lifting weights is getting stronger. And, most important to building stronger muscles is to lift heavy weights. Lifting light weights is great for muscle endurance, but lifting heavier weights real actually builds strength. By lifting heavy weights and compound exercises like deadlifts, rows, and squats. Getting stronger makes everyday chores and activities—picking up the kids, taking out the garbage, cleaning—easier.
The reason the majority of us workout is burning fat. Cardio has long been considered the ultimate fat-burner, but there is mounting evidence that weight lifting not only burns fat but may even do it better than cardio.
In one study researchers found that adults who walked for exercise lost as much weight as those who walked and did weight training. But, those who only walked lost lean mass, while those who included lifting lose fat and maintain muscle. 1 Additionally important for most women, lifting is better than cardio for losing belly fat.
Lifting Strengthens Bones, Not Just Muscles
Having muscle strength is so important, but the great thing about lifting is that it strengthens bones too. Yay!! Women are especially susceptible to losing bone density and strength as they get older, and doing anything to combat it can prevent fractures and breaks.
How does weight lifting help strengthen bones? Just like with muscles, when your bones are impacted they respond by breaking down and building new cells. When you do a strength training move, such as a squat, the muscle that is contracting and extending pulls on the bones in the leg. This, in turn, causes the bone to make new cells. With consistent lifting and strength, training bone loss can be prevented or even reversed.
Boosting Your Metabolism
By lifting heavier weights for a fewer reps, which calls for a shorter workout, actually builds more muscle than a longer workout using lighter weights. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism. You’ll burn more fat even when you’re not working out, because muscle burns more than fat.
Feeling great and actually getting stronger is an empowering experience that builds confidence and self-esteem. Lifting improves body composition, increases muscle tone, and burns fat.
What’s Keeping You from Lifting?
Let’s bust some of these myths you may have heard!
Myth #1 – Lifting Makes Women Bulky
This may be the biggest myth holding women back from lifting, and it needs to be busted. Anyone who has been lifting and strength training for a while know that lifting with heavy weights doesn’t bulk you up. In fact, those really big guys pushing it in the weight section have worked very hard, spending hours and hours there to get so bulky. They eat seriously restricted diets and a ton of protein to get there.
What you will actually get is leaner and more defined. The real result of moderate weight training is losing fat and developing muscle tone.
Most women want to get toned and in fact, you need to build muscle to be lean!
Myth #2 – Lifting is Not for Older Women
As we get older we lose both muscle and bone mass and lifting can slow or even reverse that. One study of post-menopausal women found that those who engaged in twice-weekly, high-intensity strength training increased bone density, muscle mass, strength, and balance.
Myth #3 Cardio is better for Weight Loss and Cardio?
Cardio can be a big draw! Especially for those trying to lose weight. Cardio makes you sweat and breathe hard and feels like you’re really doing something.
But cardio is not the magic bullet for weight loss. Yes, it burns calories while it’s happening, but as soon as the cool down is done and the heart rate is back to normal, so is metabolism and calorie burning. With heavy lifting, on the other hand, the body continues to burn more calories than normal for hours, up to 24 hours, after the training session.
Cardio is great for a calorie burn, for endurance and fitness, and of course for heart health. It is also an important part of an overall weight loss or maintenance plan, but it isn’t everything. Women get the most health benefits, weight loss, and fat burn from doing both cardio and strength training, while of course also eating a sensible diet.