When it Comes to Women, Is It Really Worth the Weight?
I know, I know…you’ve heard it before: Women should incorporate weight training into their workout routines.
But, seriously, how effective is it really?
If you’re doing cardio, then do you even need to add weight to lose fat?
Well, I can guarantee that by the time you get to the bottom of this page, you’ll understand just why women should lift weights and will be putting on those gym shorts to get to that dumbbell rack STAT.
From fitting in your clothes better to sleeping better and feeling happier, there’s no more reason to wait when it comes to adding a little weight to your routine.
Bulk of Lies
So, before we go any further, I repeat, adding weights to your workout routine will not have you looking like Popeye.
One of the most widely believed myths is that incorporating strength training into your fitness regimen will make you look bulky.
The truth is that women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones like testosterone to pack on muscle mass as easily as men can.
So, when you do see female bodybuilders with a lot of muscle, it’s because they have been training for years with high-intensity weightlifting and eating a regimented diet to specifically put on size.
So, if there is anything you take from reading this, do not be afraid to lift weights.
From increased strength, confidence and metabolism, I guarantee if you implement some strength training into your routine, you are going to change your body on the inside while reflecting those lifestyle changes on the outside.
Burn, Baby, Burn
It’s as simple as this: The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn so when you add weights, you’ll burn more fat.
This is because muscle is anaerobically active tissue so the more you have, the more you’ll burn on a regular basis.
Build more muscle and your body has to work harder which will, in turn, burn more calories to maintain that muscle mass than it does to maintain body fat.
When we only focus on cardio, for example, we’re burning fat but not really building muscle. So as soon as that session is over, the fat burning is too.
When you incorporate weights, however, you’re burning fat and calories.
And here’s the best part…
Once your workout stops, the fat burning continues. This is what’s known as “The After-Burn Effect.” It’s like a Buy One, Get One deal but for burning fat.
Your metabolic rate has increased so even while at rest, you’re going to have the effects of that training session well into hours after it ended.
Bad to the Bone
You may already know this but 1 out of every 4 women over the age of 50 suffers from osteoporosis, which is a result of physical inactivity and lack of weight-bearing exercise.
You may not be concerned about it just yet, but as a woman, we are at a higher risk which means a higher risk of fracturing or breaking bones.
So, in addition to looking like a badass with a real good looking one, may I add, added benefits of lifting weights for females is the ability to combat osteoporosis.
Use cables, adjustable dumbbells, the squat rack, whatever you’re most comfortable with and you’ll be building muscle mass, increasing bone density and increasing strength that will not only help you now but will result in stronger bones and as an added bonus, better posture, too!
If You Want to Tone Up Your Body, Don’t Tone Down the Weights
By now, you probably have a better idea of why weight training is a big part of the fitness routine. In addition to stronger bones and increased metabolism, it’s a super-effective way to change your shape and give you a toner and stronger look.
While cardio is definitely an important part of your workout, combining cardio WITH weights is a great way to add beautiful curves to your body that you may never have even known existed!
Toned legs and arms, slimmer waist and a firm butt that you can show off in those CrossFit shorts, I can assure you that you’ll be looking good and feeling even better.
And here come the quick stats that you can show off to your friends to sound science-y…
When you begin lifting, you’ll preserve and rebuild muscle fibers. Women between ages 30 and 70 lose about 22% of our total muscle so as we age our body will decrease in muscle mass and increase in fat.
Muscle makes up about 18% density compared to fat so 1 pound of muscle takes up significantly less space than one pound of fat. So don’t get down if the number on the scale goes up!
Mind Over (Muscle) Matter
Any other good news? You betcha…weight training ALSO helps to strengthen the mind.
When you lift, your mind can’t wander off and just expect the body to get the job done. You really do need to be focused on making sure your form is correct, that you’re engaging the right muscles and completing all repetitions and strength.
This heightened state of focus will help to not only make the body stronger but the mind, too, resulting in benefits inside and outside of the gym.
This Benefit Won’t be “Heart” to Love
And if you didn’t think it could get any better…incorporating weight training will help to make you more heart-healthy and can even lower your blood pressure.
The contracting muscles in your body will be pushing blood back up into the heart, keeping your cardiovascular system healthy and in working order.
So, with a healthier heart, you can prevent disease and not only look younger but live longer.
Carb Your Enthusiasm
And now for my personal favorite benefit of weight lifting for women. When you’re lifting, your body needs to be fueled properly before your workout.
This means that you have to eat and by eat, I mean all of the carbs…well, maybe not all of them but a lot of them.
Lift Your Spirits…Quite Literally
Resistance training can even help to beat the blues and fight depression.
When you’re lifting weights, you’re releasing those good old endorphins that make everyone feel better, so you’ll be feeling happier and less stressed.
By boosting those feel-good chemicals, you’re also going to begin to sleep better, feel better and improve your quality of life.
So, boost those weights to boost your energy and your mood.
And of course, I couldn’t leave you guys hanging…
Some motherly weight training advice from yours truly:
- Train on alternative days as it takes anywhere between 24 and 48 hours for muscles to build and recover.
- It’s SO important to rest and allow muscles to recover and recover equally so on the off days, do your cardio exercises you picked up in your CrossFit class!
- Aim for a solid 45-60-minute session with weights that are heavy enough to perform between 8 and 15 reps. If you’re new to weight training, this bar, which you can read more about here is great for at-home use and designed for those starting out.
- If you can do more than that without feeling any struggle, then you’re more than likely using weights that aren’t heavy enough.
And the benefits don’t stop there.
I could go on for days about why women should lift weights but as much as I love you guys, ya girl is about to be late for her workout… which just so happens to be weight day.
So, whether it’s to burn fat, tone up, feel happier or just to stay healthy, adding strength training into your workout routine is going to make you not only look good but feel great.
And trust me, I know that especially if you’re new to this, that weights section can be intimidating, so for some weight training exercises or just gym tips in general, subscribe to our newsletter for advice, routines, and really cool workout toys.
Because, let’s face it, you owe it to yourself to live your happiest and healthiest life, so when it comes to strength training…what are you weighting for?