Have you thought about lifting weights but every time you try, you feel insecure and unsure of what you’re doing and then fear sets in?
We’ve heard all the stories; “lifting heavy weights makes women bulky and unsexy” or “It’s dangerous, bad for your joints”. We’ve even heard people say, “once you build muscles you can’t stop lifting because it turns into fat”. The truth is that these are the stereotypes that keep many women from attaining their fitness goals.
Lifting weights will give you that lean and shapely body you desire, while also making you strong.
Lifting weights will not only help you reach your goals, but it will make you reach them faster. Cardio alone will not get it done. Here are some proven reasons you should prioritize strength training in your fitness regimen.
Some people think weight lifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms, well think again!
Many people believe that weight training is used to gain size, but when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories.
The biggest advantage to weight training is that your body has the ability to burn fat during and after your training. After heavy strength training, you continue to consume additional oxygen in the hours and even days that follow. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
As your body uses more oxygen, it requires more caloric expenditure and an increased metabolic rate. What this mean is that your body will burn more calories through the day and it will boost your metabolism.
More Muscle, More Calorie Burnt:
As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day.
The more your muscles contract during the day, the more calories are burned. It’s very simple; more lean muscle mass equals to more muscle contractions and therefore you use more calories.
Michelle Garis at Anytime Fitness Big Bend
Another myth about weight training is that you will have less energy during the day. This couldn’t be further from the truth; the fact is resistance training increases your energy output hours after you train.
A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably affect energy balance and fat oxidation. Instead of reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a dumbbell.
ChicaBoom Trainer Osiris Prieto
Believe it or not weight training improves your quality of sleep. It helps you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and will help reduce your restless nights.
A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep that night after training.
Lifting weights can reduce your risk of heart disease, resistance training was approved by the American Heart Associattion as a healthy form of exercise for those at risk. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that those who lift weights are less likely to have heart disease risk factors such as a large waist circumference, high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and elevated glucose levels.
ChicaBoom Trainer Wendy Rojas
As we get older, we are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis as their body decreases its estrogen production. Resistance training is a great way to combat bones loss, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis. The earlier you begin weightlifting, the greater chance you have to maintain bone health later in life.
This is one of my favorite reasons for weight training “stress relief”. Exercise is a great way to manage stress in your life. Research consistently shows that people who regularly strength train tend to manage their stress better and have fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations as those who do not exercise.
Resistance-training studies on older adults show that moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function as well.
Remember ladies, put on your training shoes, pick up some dumbbells and lift your way to a healthier life!
1. Kirk, Erik P., et. Al. Minimal resistance training improves daily energy expenditure and fat oxidation” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010; 41(5): 1122-1129. )
2.Roveda, Eliana, et. Al. Effects of endurance and strength acute exercise on night sleep quality.” International SportMed Journal. 2011; 12(3): 113-124.)