5 Benefits of Lifting Weights for Women
Lifting weights isn’t only for muscle-heads.
For over a decade I have been helping people live healthier lifestyles. The cornerstone of my advice is YOU NEED TO EXERCISE! Exercise has many flavours which is great as a variety of activities is best for your body. Almost everyone understands the importance of cardiovascular fitness (cardio) but very few understand the importance of resistance training.
One of the most common reasons women give for not lifting weights is ‘I don’t want to bulk up’. Ladies – please throw this common misconception away! Testosterone is the primary ‘muscle building’ hormone within the body and men produce up to 20 times as much as women. Therefore unless you, as a female, are lifting really heavy weights (low rep/high set) and consuming a diet really high in animal protein and calories – it is really hard to add muscle ‘bulk’.
Here are 5 great reasons for women to lift weights and take their body to the NEXT LEVEL!
- Increased Metabolic Rate – By adding new muscle to the body you are increasing the body’s ability to burn calories even at rest. Let’s face it – most women when heading to the gym are thinking – I need to burn calories! Muscle has a higher energy demand then fat so as you shave off fat and increase muscle you will burn more calories per day and stay leaner.
- Increased Tone & Bone – Want to firm up your butt? Try doing some squats and lunges with weights and tighten up those gluts! Lifting weights will start to create new muscle definition that you didn’t even know you had. Also, by adding muscle you will increase your bone density and be less likely to develop osteoporosis (weak, fracture prone bones) as you age.
- Increased Libido – By lifting weights and improving your body image you will become more comfortable naked. A small increase in testosterone (don’t worry – it isn’t very much) can also make you crave ‘sexy time’ a little more often!
- Increased Functional Strength – By increasing overall strength you will be able to perform activities of daily living better. For example – you and your partner purchase a funky sofa. Now you can help lift it up the stairs instead of calling over the weird man next door that tends to creep you out with his longer then socially acceptable stares.
- Decreased Chance of Injury – As long as you use proper technique you will decrease your chances of injury. For example – you’re walking on an icy sidewalk and your knee buckles slightly but you don’t fall down. Because you have strengthened your legs through resistance training the muscles provided stability in the knee. Compare that to someone with poor muscle development and they will likely have torn a ligament in the knee as their knee buckles and they fall down.
Some Tips to Incorporate Weights into your Workouts
If you decide on lifting weights a good set/rep combo is 3 sets of 8-12 reps. You should be using a weight that makes you fatigued as you approach the last rep. If you can easily do 10 or 12 reps then choose a heavier weight. Work each body part at least once a week. Multi-joint exercises are preferable, especially at the beginning of your workout (and more bang for your buck) then single isolation exercises like bicep curls. A few examples of multi-joint exercises are bench press, seated row, wide grip pull-downs, lunges, squats and deadlifts.
If you are a GoodLife Member and haven’t lifted weights before I highly recommend BodyPump. To find out more about this barbell group exercise class click -> BodyPump!
Incorporate resistance training in your workouts and get JACKED UP but not bulked up!
Note: If you are new to resistance exercise it is highly recommended you consult with a strength and conditioning professional prior to lifting weights to ensure proper technique and reduce your chances of injury.
This article is also featured on The GoodLife Fitness Blog.