There is often a misconception that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights. The most common reason is that lifting will make women bulky. Considering that women have between 5-10% of the amount of testosterone of men, this is nearly impossible. Unless you live in the gym and take massive amounts of supplements.
After reading this, I hope your days of spending your life on the treadmill are over. No disrespect to cardio – because there certainly is a place for it – but strength training is the way to go. Which makes me happy. Because cardio is not my jam.
Your metabolism will be stronger.
Did you know that aerobic training can burn both fat AND muscle? How about that weight training burns only fat? A study in Obesity shows that strength training burns more belly fat than cardio. Not only that, but your muscle mass is what determines your metabolism. Therefore, the more muscle you have the better your metabolism. What does that mean? The more muscle you have the more calories you burn doing your every day activities, like drying your hair or doing the dishes.
Your brain will be stronger.
Feeling a little blue? Have you ever heard of people referring to exercise as “stress relief” or “therapy?” Well, it truly is a great way to release those bad feelings and grasp onto the good. Grab some heavy weights and curl away! I mean, think about it… You challenge yourself to a workout and complete it. How do you think you would feel? I’d say pretty darn good. Your confidence is boosted, which makes you feel more competent in other areas of your life. Plus, as Elle Woods says,
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”
While exercise isn’t the end all be all for mental health, it certainly helps. Some people are even able to manage their diagnoses with a combination of exercise and a healthy diet (Of course, you should chat with your doc if you are experiencing any issues and see if this is right for you).
Your bones will be stronger.
It goes without saying that weight training strengthens your muscles. But did you know that it also strengthens your bones? With each resistance movement, your muscles tug slightly on your bones, which then produces new bone cells making them stronger and more dense with time. This is exactly why women should add in strength training to their exercise program, especially as they age. Women who have a family history of osteoporosis should take note and get to lifting!
Your heart will be stronger.
Of course, cardiovascular workouts are good for your heart. But strength training with heavy weights can be just as effective, especially lower body moves. Why? The muscle groups in your lower body are the largest. When you squat with heavy weights, it makes those muscles work harder and gets your blood pumping. What pumps the blood? Yeah. Exactly. Studies have also shown that 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise lowered blood pressure by 20%. That is the equivalent to most blood pressure pills. Down with the pills! Lift those weights! My personal rule is that I should be breathing somewhat heavy after each set. If I am not, then I didn’t pick a heavy enough weight and didn’t challenge myself enough! That is not based on research, that is my own personal opinion. But I think it’s a pretty good opinion 🙂
Your joints will be stronger.
When I was 25, a doctor looked at me and said, “You are going to need a knee replacement.” I was like, “Say what now?” He went on to explain that it wouldn’t be immediate, but eventually I would need surgery because I have patellar subluxation. Put into layman’s terms, that means that the groove that my knee cap is supposed to ride in isn’t deep enough, so my knee cap wiggles around at its leisure. Fun, right? I suppose that’s what years of competitive cheerleading does to someone who already has the propensity to have issues with their knees. I asked him what I could do to help with the pain and make it better without surgery. His response? Strengthen the muscles around your knee and in your leg using resistance training. Basically, the stronger the muscles are around the joints, the easier it is to keep your joints in position.
So there you have it. I don’t really feel like anything else needs to be said except…
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger