So I have always been a bit in love with Good Old Arnie and would give anything to have a good feel of those biceps but I wouldn’t actually want to look like him! So why is there still so much discussion surrounding Women lifting weights and still the association with becoming big and bulky….seriously it would take some hard work for a bloke to get looking like Arnie. Us Women just aren’t made that way!!
This negativity and misunderstanding needs to stop! Anyone who lifts weights knows just how hard it is to build muscle, Women just do not have the amount of testosterone in their body to become ‘bulky’. Yet there are so many health benefits for Women who lift weights, resistance or strength train, whatever you want to call it, the results speak for themselves.
For most women the main reason they go to the gym is to burn fat and over the years gradually women are learning that one of the best ways to do this is through strength and resistance training. Yet we still hear ‘I don’t want to lift too heavy in case I bulk up’, or ‘but I don’t want to look manly, cardio is the best for fat loss’ (I was one of these Women, I didn’t ever see the point of weight lifting, it’s for blokes!) This is just not the case.
So Really What are the Benefits of Weight Training?
1. You will increase your Strength and Balance – as you gain more strength, all your joints, muscles and connective tissues work better together which can make you less prone to injury and increase your all round balance and stamina
2. You will improve your body tone and composition – regular training changes your body to look leaner and more toned. Muscle is more dense than fat which means growing more muscle will result in a lower body fat content.
3. You will have increased Energy
4. Your suseptability to Depression is dramatically reduced, general confidence and self esteem will increase
5. Your chance of developing Osteoporosis is reduced – burning fat through weight training can reduce bone mass and density and increase bone minerals
6. Your Sleep will improve – You will fall asleep more quickly and more deeply, for longer. According to the Centre for Disease Control ‘the sleep benefits obtained as a result of strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.’!
7. General Flexibility especially of the knees, hips and joints is improved therefore making transition into later life a little easier
8. Weight Training can improve the body’s ability to process sugars therefore reducing chances of developing diabetes
9. Weight Training can provide relief from Arthritis and reduce disability and symptoms
10. Your Metabolism will increase by up to 15% which is so beneficial for long term weight loss control.
So How Does Lifting Weights Burn Fat?
1. Increase of Muscle Mass Increases Metabolism – Having Muscle increases your resting Metabolism which in turn burns more calories. Therefore having more muscle mass means more fat burn. To build muscle you need to strength train. You cannot build muscle mass through pure cardio alone.
2. The ‘Afterburn Effect’ of Weight Lifting Continues to Increase Metabolism. While you work out hard, your oxygen levels reduce and your body needs to work extra hard afterwards to restore them. This is known as the ‘afterburn effect’ where your body is at a higher rate of metabolism, therefore burning more calories as it works. Resistance or Interval training produces much higher levels of this effect than steady state cardio does.
Any Woman can lift weights, you can start easily at home with a couple of dumbbells if you haven’t got access to or don’t feel comfortable hitting the gym. All it takes is 30 minutes to an hour following a fairly simple programme, keeping consistent and regular with your training 3 or 4 times a week. Some great, easy to get started moves for women new to weight training are walking lunges or stationary lunges with weight, Squats, Bicep Curls, Shoulder Presses, Deadlifts, and Tricep Dips off a bench. This is how I started and it didn’t take me long to feel comfortable working out by myself in the gym.
So all in all, lets ignore all those out there who are misinformed and think they know it all. Women who lift weights will not become manly or bulky. Instead with a clean eating plan, regular cardio exercise and regular strength training, they will become stronger, leaner, more powerful women who chose to look after themselves and prepare for what life may throw at them.
Power to the FEMALE!!!!!
Now you probably know by now I’m not one for taking photos of myself but I’m learning! I caught a look at my bicep in the car the other day and thought it made a good ‘flex’ selfie!! I work out 6 times a week, do I look like Schwarzenegger????!!!!! NOPE!!!!