woman working out

Why Women Should Lift Weights

Does weight lifting make woman bulky? Why should all women do resistance training?

Today I want to talk about resistance training or weight lifting and why it is so important and beneficial to a woman’s health and physique.

When I am doing goal setting with my clients, many woman have fitness goals to lose weight, tone up, trim inches, increase strength, increase flexibility, or improve posture. They have tried the gym on their own multiple times with no success in reaching their goals, which is why they are now interested in Personal Training.

I ask the woman what have you done in the past to try to reach your goals and 99.5 % of them say: I did the treadmill for half an hour, I did the Elyptical for 20 minutes or I did aerobic fitness classes ect. I then ask have you ever done resistance training or weight lifting in the past and all of these woman answer “NOOO” almost as if there is no way they would ever lift weights. Their answer to this is “well I don’t want to bulk up or I don’t want to look like a man.”

Now I am here to give you the fantastic truth about weight lifting.

 If any of you believe that weight lifting will make you look bulky or manly then you are definitely mistaken. This is a huge myth or misconception and I am here to teach you and inform you of the beautiful benefits of weight lifting regardless of what your fitness goal may be.

The reason why men get bulky and build mass when they weight lift is due to the male hormone testosterone which woman have very little of. Our bodies do not produce enough testosterone to bulk up in any way, shape or form. Now when you see female body builders in magazines or shows, many of these women are taking some sort of steroid to enhance their body.

The benefits of weight lifting are countless. If you are looking to lose weight or trim inches, resistance training is a must. Cardio is great for your heart and burning calories while your on that cardio machine but once you step off, you put those calories right back on. Resistance training increases your BMR (basal metabolic Rate). This is the amount of calories your body burns while at rest, so not only are you burning calories while you are exercising but your body continues to burn for up to 48 hours after the work out; including while you are sleeping. Who wouldn’t want to burn calories while sitting on the couch in the evening?? =D Another beneficial factor to weight lifting is muscle burns fat. If you are trying to lose weight, build lean muscle mass, trim inches, ect. Resistance training is the way to go. You definitely want to add in some cardio into your routine, but I would recommend 15-20 minutes of steady state cardio after your resistance training work out. You could also add in 1-2 days of straight cardio each week. 30-45 minutes max would be a great timeframe to go by.

Some other benefits to resistance training is the strength factor. Women need to have strong muscles and bones especially as we age. Being strong will help with every day living and chores we have to do around the house. Think about when you are out grocery shopping alone and have all those bags to carry, or carrying your infant around with you, or walking up and down stairs with a laundry basket, or getting in and out of your car or up and down from the toilet. Some of you may already may be experiencing trouble with these tasks and it will only get harder with age if we don’t do something about it now. Starting a resistance training program will help increase strength and help with all of those tasks that we do everyday. Strength is also the first noticeable result you will see once starting a program. Within the first two weeks, you will already start to feel stronger and notice a great difference.

All you woman wanting that toned physique, resistance training is the way to go. As mentioned before, us woman do not bulk up like a man. We have different hormones in our bodies that cause us to shape our muscles differently. You still want to challenge yourself and lift slightly heavy for your body in order to see the results especially when it comes to toning up those arms, legs, glutes and abs. You want to start with reps of 8-12 at a heavy enough weight. A good rule of thumb is going on the eighth rep, you should feel like its starting to get to heavy to lift, then try to pump out another 2-4 to push yourself a little further.

A few more benefits to weight lifting and why it is so important for women is it improves posture, it helps reduce age related diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis, reduces depression due to the amount of endorphins that are released when you exercises, lowers the risk of diabetes, prevents back pain, improves balance, and you will look and feel better which increases confidence and self-esteem.

Remember to always stretch all muscles group that you trained that day. This is very important especially when weight lifting. When you weight lift you are shortening and tightening the muscle up. Stretching will help loosen that muscle again preventing you from having your muscles feel tight after your work out. Always stretch the muscles right after the work out when they are still warm. Stretching daily will also help increase your flexibility.

Now if you ask me there is NO reason why women should not take part is a resistance training program.

A good program to reach your fitness goals should include: resistance training- 3 days/week, cardio-5 days/week (adding the 15-20 minutes after your weight training work out) and a healthy diet.

Feel free to email me anytime with any fitness or diet related questions. I am here to help =)

Amanda Robar, PTS, PFS

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