First, a couple quick questions:
Are you looking to get a little leaner?
Are you looking for better Health and Fitness?
Oops. One more…almost forgot (and it’s important):
Are you female?
If you answered yes to either of the first two questions – with a definite yes to the third –there’s a good chance you’ve typically felt a certain aversion towards Strength Training, (a.k.a. Resistance Training, a.k.a. lifting weights). There’s also a good chance you're not alone…
Although the tide is finally starting to turn, most women walking into the gym still tend to skip the weight room. Instead, hours get spent on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, in Zumba class, or even doing Step Aerobics (#TBT, anyone?).
Unfortunately, this usually goes on for several hours per week, and those weeks—which turn into months—often end with disappointment due to seeing little in the way of results, or in any case, not the desired results.
Somehow or other, those endless hours spent in the “Fat-Burning Zone” have failed these women.
The reason? Most fear lifting weights will make them “bulky”. Others believe cardio is the key to leanness, or a so-called Bikini Body. In either case, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s time to put the fear of “Getting Bulky” to bed…forever.
Contrary to popular belief, strength training won't turn you into the Incredible Hulk.
It won’t even turn you into She-Hulk (though maybe a little closer)…
The explanation is pretty straightforward: women typically don't produce enough testosterone to put on such amounts of muscle. On average, testosterone levels in women are 10 to 14 times lower than those in men. Strength Training has little chance of making you bulky—on the contrary, it will actually give shape to your muscles, and even help burn stubborn bodyfat.
Is Weight Training Suitable for Women?
The short answer: Yes.
To elaborate: Weight Training basically benefits your health on every level. It not only makes you stronger, but also boosts your metabolism and increases your fat-burning capabilities. Compound movements—such as the Lunge, Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press, and Row—all work to both increase bone strength and balance hormones as well.
This training method also promotes some muscle growth, of course, but this modest amount of development in physique brings nothing but benefits. The more muscle you carry, the higher your energy expenditure will be; this means you’ll be burning more calories and more body fat than someone with less muscle.
Don’t worry—you won’t get "too muscular” overnight from pumping a little bit of iron here and there. On the contrary, the female bodybuilders featured in magazines (and whose photos seem to fuel these concerns) are required to eat gigantic amounts of food in order to build such massive muscles. To facilitate the process, they will often use weight-gain supplements, and of course in many cases also use anabolic steroids.
On top of all this, they train endlessly, lifting enormous amounts of weight, grinding out relentless repetitions, and hitting the gym as many as 6 days per week. This process goes on—meal after meal, day after day, workout after workout—for years.
In short, their entire life is built around training, meal planning and muscle gaining.
By contrast, the average woman—with a career, a spouse or significant other, and perhaps a family—will develop nowhere near these amounts of muscle naturally, much less accidentally.
Please rest assured, ladies: you will not wake up one morning to discover your biceps have swollen to 24 inches overnight!
Hopefully, the observations above help alleviate any anxiety about Resistance Training, in a once-and-for-all kind of way. There are plenty of other, better things to talk about when it comes to Women and Weights, namely…
- Strength training makes you stronger and fitter.
- Strength training protects bone health and muscle mass.
- Strength training helps keep the weight off for good.
- Strength training helps you develop better body mechanics.
- Strength training can help with chronic disease management.
All in all, strength training with weights has so many benefits. In addition to some of the popular benefits listed above, strength training also helps prevent and deter some of the most popular ailments affecting Americans today. Those include:
- Preventing diabetes
- Improving energy
- Improving sleep
- Improving mental clarity
- Helps with anxiety and depression
The benefits go on and on, not to mention the lifestyle improvements such as lower healthcare costs, increased productivity at work, and improved mood. Getting strong and fit is the best investment anyone can make into themselves.
Getting Leaner, Stronger, and Fitter
Once you start (and more importantly, continue) lifting weights, your life will change forever. This is not hyperbole…
You'll not only look fitter, but also be stronger and have more energy. In the long run, Strength Training will lower your risk of osteoporosis, increase bone density, and also improve insulin sensitivity. This means your body will become more efficient at burning calories and getting rid of excess fat. Once this effect is established, it is very easily maintained, and can have you staying lean for life!
On another, at least equally important note: weight lifting is good for your brain too. According to researchers, it supports executive function, focus and general brain health. At the same time, it relieves stress and anxiety, wards off depression and boosts your mood.
When it comes to benefits for life in general, women who lift weights tend to report higher self-esteem, confidence, and tend to look younger than their age. Most also mention better sleep, reduced fatigue and increased productivity.
While many of these benefits take some time to fully develop, others are immediate. There’s no doubt about it: after a Strength Training session—and often your very first one—you’ll focus better and feel more relaxed, whether at work or at home…
It’s quite a sensation, and it can happen today. With the fear of “getting bulky” now put to bed, and the tremendous benefits of weight training explained here, it just may be time to give it a try.
See you in the Weight Room!