Ever notice how the majority of women in the gym can be found where the cardiovascular equipment is? Are you one of those women, the ever so popular, “cardio bunny?” Don’t get me wrong, cardio does help to burn the fat off your butt; however, it is not the end all be all of training. In fact, it is only a small piece to the physique transformation puzzle. You can do all the cardio you want, but if you do not have any muscle mass underneath it, you will never see the tight midsection so many of us strive for.
Often times, women say they do not lift weights because they are intimidated to walk in to the weight room; they are afraid that everyone will be staring at them and passing judgment. Think about it like this: you owe it to yourself to explore what is available to you; it is your body and your health in question. You don’t even have to use the weight room to get in your resistance training. Get yourself some light weight dumbbells or resistance bands and begin in the comfort of your own home. Or opt for a women’s only fitness facility; various franchises are popping up all over the country and are increasing in popularity. Many of them offer a free orientation training session, or even group training classes.
And now for the Top Five Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights:
1. You WILL lose body fat (and look better naked)
It is true, not only are you burning calories while you are lifting weights (i.e. resistance training), but you are building muscle; and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest. On average, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. This can really add up.
2. You will decrease your risk for many chronic diseases (i.e. heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc)
Studies have shown that people who lift weights are less likely to develop many chronic illnesses that are plaguing so many Americans. Weight-bearing exercise along with adequate calcium intake may improve bone density reducing your risk for developing osteoporosis.
Not only that, but weight-training has been shown to lower cholesterol by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure contributing to lowering your risk of heart disease. As far as diabetes is concerned, lifting weights contributes to your body’s ability to process sugar more efficiently, putting you back in control of blood sugar/insulin levels. This alone can reduce your risk for diabetes by 10 percent.
3. Increase your strength and energy levels
Lifting weights is going to result in one thing for sure, increased strength. And if you are stronger, daily activities will be easier to perform and your energy levels will be thru the roof. No longer will you have to ask your hubby or boyfriend to open the pickle jar for you.
On a side note, when you’ve got a little muscle on your frame, you have no excuse but to carry the groceries in to the house yourself. You can still bat your eyelashes and smile politely in hopes that someone will give you a hand, just don’t show ‘em your guns.
4. Improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury
Developing a strong core (abdominals and lower back) will help decrease your risk of injury because you are increasing your ability to keep balance when thrown off course. If you are an athlete, it does not matter what sport you participate in, your athletic performance will improve with weight-training in your regimen. Even a golfer’s swing can benefit from a little weight-bearing activities; providing more force behind their swing.
5. Increased mood, self-confidence booster, and decrease your risk of depression
Building muscle and developing strength in your physique will not only bring positive changes on the outside or from a health perspective, but also from a mental perspective. You can be confident in your new body and tight bum, your glowing skin and shiny hair, which are all a result of incorporating weights into your weekly routine. Possessing more confidence is a huge part of combating depression; not to mention the stress relief some experience while bonding with the iron (or pink dumbbells for that matter).
You may have heard the phrase, “muscle weighs more than fat.” This statement is not exactly true. A ton of feathers weighs the same as a ton of nails; however, the nails will take up less space. This holds true for muscle and fat; a pound of muscle is equivalent in weight to a pound of fat, but a pound of muscle is less dense than fat thus taking up less space on your body. Lifting weights will cause you to put on muscle, so if you judge your progress strictly by what the scale is telling you, you may get deterred. For instance, if you weighed yourself this morning and the scale said 125 lbs. and then you weigh yourself in exactly a week and the scale says 127 lbs. it could be that you may have lost 3 lbs. of fat, but gained 5 lbs. of muscle; this would explain the weight increase on the scale. It is best to take note of how your clothes are fitting and take weekly measurements in various locations on your body to truly assess your progress. If you are really concerned about how much fat you have lost, you could always get your body fat percentage measured weekly; just be sure you have it done by the same qualified person each time, if possible, to ensure accurate measurements.
For those of you who think that weight-lifting will make you look like a man, the female body is not designed to look that way, so without chemical assistance, there really is no way you are going to develop masculine qualities by building muscle. So quit worrying and take a chance, most of the guys in the weight-room are actually pretty nice and always willing to help out a pretty girl who wants to learn the sport.