10 reasons why weight training will benefit your body, and even better, your life!
We're noticing a lot more women getting into weight training lately, which is so great to see. Perhaps you've seen others thriving with this training style, and you're thinking of starting your own journey of empowerment through strength, but you're still unsure about whether lifting weights is right for you?
Maybe the female physique competitor look isn't for you, so you're afraid of becoming too bulky?
Or perhaps you feel you need to lose weight through cardio and dieting before you can even think about starting a weight training program?
Below are 10 reasons women should lift weights that will put your concerns to rest and inspire you to try it out. But first, let's get clear on what weight training is all about.
Intro to weight training.
Weight training is a workout style aimed at increasing the size and strength of our skeletal muscles. The act of lifting weights causes our muscle fibres to tear, be broken down, then healed and rebuilt bigger and stronger.
This is a process of adaptation, as becoming stronger is simply the result of our bodies adapting to new and increasing physical challenges.
It's a common mistake to believe strength training increases the number of muscle fibres we have, but this is not the case. Through lifting weights and increasing our strength, we're actually increasing the size of each muscle fibre, which increases our overall muscle mass (an effect known as hypertrophy).
Now… some of you may be thinking, ‘but I don't want to increase my mass!' This is an understandable concern, but you're about to find out why increasing your muscle mass isn't going to have the undesirable effect you might think. Quite the opposite, in fact!
Weight training is one of the key fundamental lifestyle habits of becoming lean and staying lean for life - but as you will see, that's just the icing on the protein mug cake.
1. Age in good health
Sarcopenia is the medical term for the dramatic reduction in skeletal muscle that occurs as we age and become less active. Lifting weights will slow, delay, and even reverse this process to keep us stronger, healthier and happier throughout our entire lives.
In addition to muscle loss, women tend to lose bone density very quickly as they age, leaving them weak, fragile, and victim to frequent injury. At its worst, this condition is known as Osteoporosis, and fortunately, it can be prevented through lifestyle choices - such as weight training! Weight training as little once a week will increase our bone density at any age, keeping us active and injury free as we get older.
As lifting weights has also been shown to delay or prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia, a lifelong enjoyment for weight training can make it possible to live longer while keeping our independence and quality of life.
2. Exchange your fat mass for lean muscle mass
A lot of women have a fear they'll getting bulky if they so much as touch a dumbbell. Others believe they have to do a lot of cardio and follow a restrictive diet to lose weight before they can even think about lifting weights… but here's the thing - strength training is the most effective ways to reduce body fat.
In addition to gaining strength, lifting weights will have you looking slimmer, tighter and more toned. It's just not in our hormonal makeup for our muscles to become big and bulky without the use of anabolic steroids, extreme training regiments and a huge, yet calculated caloric intake.
You may end up weighing the same or maybe even a bit more, but rather than being bulky, you'll be more dense and firm. While your weight may increase, your clothing size is likely to go down, and if you do stay the same size, your clothes will fit in a completely different way. Forget about the number on the scale and start focusing on how you feel and the way your clothes fit!
3. Faster metabolism
A focus on restricting our food intake and shrinking our bodies will cause our metabolism to slow down, meaning we have to eat less and less all the time to maintain our weight.
As muscle is more metabolically expensive than fat, weight training revs up our metabolism, and our bodies require more calories to function.
This is great news, because who doesn't love to enjoy satisfying, healthy meals?! Lifting weights will not only enable you to eat more food, but your continued progress will require it.
4. Never get bored
A big reason why cardio-based workout programs are so difficult to stick with long-term is that they are oh so boring. Going to the gym to spend an hour walking on the treadmill or pedalling on a stationary bike can lose its appeal very quickly.
Meanwhile, weight training is so full of variety, with different styles, different tempos, different rep ranges, new goals to work towards, and all those different muscle groups to keep us engaged, having fun and always learning.
5. Shorter workouts
Did you know that just 20 minutes of weight training burns a similar number of calories to a whole hour speed-walking on the treadmill?
And have you ever heard of the ‘afterburn effect'? This is the extra calories your body burns all day after your workout to repair your muscles after weight training. You just can't get this awesome effect from cardio only workouts.
6. Better mental focus
Where does your mind go when you're on the treadmill for an hour? Do you read a magazine or scroll social media? Perhaps you distract yourself with an audiobook or podcast?
With weight training, you're forced to focus on the task at hand because you have to pay attention to your form, your breathing, your tempo, your rep counts and so on. Lifting weights isn't just for strengthening and sculpting our bodies… it also makes us mentally stronger and gives us greater clarity and mental focus.
7. Body symmetry
Generally speaking, women tend to have a stronger lower body and a weaker upper body, and many feel that they are ‘out of proportion' - both from an aesthetic perspective and in terms of their strength.
Weight training evens everything out because we're not just using our legs each time we workout. A weight training program will often be split into upper and lower body days, ensuring no areas are neglected.
Not only is there is a great feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing an entire weight training program from start to finish, but there is also a huge confidence boost when you can see (and feel) the results.
Building this confidence and feeling really good about ourselves leaves us prepared to take on bigger and more exciting challenges in all areas of life.
9. You get to rest as hard as you train!
This may be one of the biggest perks of lifting weights! The results of weight training come from the process of ‘tear and repair,' and repair can only take place while we're resting.
For the best results, our recovery activities (or inactivities) need to match the intensity level of our workouts. Getting massages, sleeping in and sunbathing will become scheduled parts of your fitness program!
10. Life is easier when you’re strong.
On top of all the above benefits, the main thing to gain from lifting weights is a continued increase in physical strength. Getting stronger makes every little physical task in our daily lives so much easier.
From carrying groceries from the car to picking up growing children, and even pushing your car when it breaks down - it will all be a breeze compared to life before lifting.
With so many benefits, lifting weights really is great for everyone. However, women especially have so much to gain from this versatile and fun style of exercise.
Hopefully, these benefits have put your concerns to rest and you’re now excited to start lifting weights and enjoying all these benefits!