All women should lift weights. Point blank. Plain and simple. Here’s why:
1. You will lose body fat more effectively.
While aerobic exercise burns fat AND muscle, weightlifting burns almost exclusively fat, because you are building muscle. Also, you burn calories by doing nothing. As you are reading this, you are burning calories. You can calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate here. Because muscle mass is a huge factor in determining your BMR, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you are sitting there doing nothing. Besides the calories burned during your workout, you’ll continue to torch calories for a prolonged window afterwards.
2. Your quality of sleep will be increased.
I’m sure you that you have experienced that lovely night-after-a-workout-sleep where you fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night. I love that feeling. Strength training aids your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night.According to International SportMed Journal, morning resistance training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training.
3. Your energy level will increase.
As well as increased calories burned, resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that “the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably effect energy balance and fat oxidation”. A balanced energy means that you don’t have crashes throughout the day. I know what you’re thinking how does workout out give me MORE energy. But trust me, give it a try. You’ll have more energy when you need it, and a great night’s sleep after taking on a busy day.
4. Your heart will be happy.
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only exercise that helps your heart. One Appalachian State University study found that people who performed 45 minutes of moderately intense resistance training lowered their blood pressure by 20 percent. It also serves to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol), and lower your RHR (resting heart rate). A lower resting heart rate means that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to do basic day to day tasks.
5. Your bones will thank you.
Weight lifting doesn’t exclusively strengthen your muscles, your bones become stronger and more dense too. For example, when you do a bicep curl, your muscles tug on the bones in your arm, which react by creating new cells.
6. It prevents the metabolic decrease that comes with age.
We all know that as we age, our metabolisms slow down. If you are someone who envies those teenagers who eat and drink whatever they want and don’t gain an ounce, then weight lifting is the sport for you. Weight lifting can prevent and/or reverse the natural decline in your metabolism (which begins in your late 20s and early 30s).
7. It improves your posture.
There’s nothing worse than a bad posture. It takes a toll on your spine, back muscles, and overall confidence. Luckily, there are awesome exercises that can help improve your posture; deadlifts, squats, planks, and more. The stronger your muscles are, the easier it is for them to hold you up straight.
8. It lowers your blood pressure.
Weightlifting can actually lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Recent studies have proved that it can lower it by two and four percent. According to the American Heart Association, you only need to fit in two or three sessions a week to start seeing positive results. So ditch the treadmill or elliptical for 2 days out of your week and see what it can do for you!
9. It releases endorphins.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and enhance pleasure. Basically endorphins make you happy, and who doesn’t want to be happy? Endorphis get released during exercise and resistance training. They are released during long, continuous workouts, when the intensity is moderate to high and breathing is difficult. Because you constantly push yourself when you are lifting weights, endorphins are released a lot more frequently than if you were to walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes.
10. You will be stronger physically AND mentally.
“Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out,” says Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach and author of Lift Weights Faster. Stepping into the male infested weight section as one of the only women, your self-confidence is really tested. Getting past the fear of the weight section is a really awesome feeling. Trying new weight lifting positions and moves feels awesome. Constantly challenging yourself grows your self confidence in ways you never thought possible.
But I don’t want to get bulky and manly!
The only ways for women to build significant amounts of muscle, to the point where they start looking manly, are to:
- take steroids
- take HGH, testosterone, or other hormones (other than things prescribed by your doctor)
- have abnormally high levels of natural testosterone, which is extremely rare and you’d be aware of it if you had it
Don’t believe me? Here are some pictures of women who lift.
Heidi Somers, YouTube personality and Live Fit athlete
Jamie Eason, fitness model and bodybuilding.com spokesperson