I was in my teens the first time I tried it. When I was done I had this amazing rush, I felt happy and could hardly wait to do it again. Using weights that is. The adrenaline rush I experienced after my first bicep curl with a set of 10lb weights was a feeling I’ll never forget. My introduction to lifting weights began after watching “What’s Love Got to do With It” where Angela Bassett had some serious biceps that were beautiful, and I wanted them! Little did I know then about the multiple benefits this passion would bring.
I may be a bit, just a tiny bit biased towards lifting weights, but I have great reasons to be. Scientific reasons that is as to why women should lift weights, and if you’re not “lifting” as we like to say, you may want to start after reading this blog. Check it out below!
Increases Metabolism: If you read my previous blog post, “6 Bad Exercise Habits to Stop Right Now,” you will know that lifting moderate to heavy weights, will help you to continue burning fat, long after you have completed your exercise (approximately 24 hours). This is because over time strength training increases your muscle mass, and muscle has greater metabolic activity than fat. This results in you burning more calories every day even in a rested state and enables your body to convert food into energy faster. Note this could leave you hungrier throughout the day, so stick to the healthy choices to help fuel your body to its optimal potential.
Increases Muscle Mass: This statement might scare you but no, you’re not going to turn in to the incredible Hulk when you start lifting heavy weights. The truth is that women do not have a high enough level of testosterone to “bulk” up like men, and increasing muscle takes consistent effort and time to build. This allows you to determine how you want to shape your body as you progress, and you can adjust depending on how you are feeling. Increased lean muscle mass, will also lower your fat mass, so even though that scale might not be going down that’s nothing to fret about. Visually you will start to see that you’re getting leaner and toned from your hard work. This is because muscle weighs more than fat and exchanging the fat for muscle has many positive impacts, like giving you a rounder booty in your skinny jeans. Oh yeah, there’s also health benefits of lifting weights like lowering your chances of diabetes and heart disease.
Increases Confidence: Lifting heavy bells, dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells is a slow build up. After each session you’ll notice an increase in your strength. As you become stronger physically, you’ll also notice an increase in your confidence. That’s right honey, lifting weights can increase your confidence because it helps you set goals, and when you smash those goals you radiate that feel good energy and can be proud of your accomplishments. One of the greatest feelings is being in the gym or doing an at home workout, realizing that an exercise you used to struggle with is now easy! Getting that feeling that you need heavier weights next session to feel the burn is a big confidence booster. It might be a slow transformation but only you have the power to accomplish it, with the reward being that you feel your best strutting into any room with your head held high!
Decreases Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: I’m not sure about you, but for me making the time to lift can take an extremely stressful day, back to one where I feel like I can tackle anything thrown at me. In a study published in June 2018 by JAMA Psychiatry, the results from 33 randomized clinical trials found that individuals with mild to moderate depression, who were able to incorporate strength training two or more days a week, experienced a significant decrease in their symptoms, compared to those who did not strength train. This is impressive and scientifically proves how beneficial lifting can be! Lifting heavy, will release endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers and help to reduce your stress levels. Most commonly its thought that this can only be achieved if you are out running or on cardio-based machine but lifting heavy can take your body into that anaerobic state, leaving you with natural high.
Increases Bone Mass: Wait, how does bone mass and weight lifting coincide with each other? 🤷🏾♀️ As we “mature” as I like to call it, the risk of osteoporosis increases, leaving you more susceptible to breaks and fractures. Weight training not only gives you the ability to increase bone density, but by improving muscle mass, balance, and connective tissue strength, you’re working on lowering your risk of falling and having it result in a broken bone. As your creating those strong muscles from lifting, you’re developing even stronger bones for the long term which is a win win situation! So no matter your age or your lifting level, get out there and pick up a dumbbell, too start feeling stronger today!
It’s More Effective Than Cardio: I’ve shed some light on this idea before because it’s true! You can start cutting down on that hour plus on the cardio machine at the gym or do 1-2 outdoor runs a week instead of 4 or 5 if you start lifting. This is because incorporating weight lifting will help you lose that pesky fat at a faster rate than cardio, while continuing to build muscle not degrade it. Cardio burns both fat and muscle, while weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat. You want to build and maintain muscle, to get that toned sculpted look, while also knowing that muscle helps the body burn calories at a faster and longer rate as I mentioned above. Lifting will also aid you in improving your cardio because it increases your muscle capacity, improves reflexes, and your endurance. If your training for a race, want to improve your performance on your weekly soccer team, or show off your skills at that upcoming charity baseball tournament for work, weight lifting can help you achieve those results!
I might be a tiny bit bias towards lifting weights, but I mean based on the benefits I’ve listed above, can you blame me? So, do you lift or if you don’t, are you at least going to start?
If you need help getting started, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be more than happy to assist