Weight Lifting For Women – 5 Reasons To Get Lifting!
The benefits of weight lifting for women are well-documented and diverse. Whether it’s feeling healthier, moving pain-free or just looking good naked, there are a whole host of reasons why you should prioritise pumping iron just as much as finding a good match for your foundation.
1. You Look Great In A Bikini
Coming from a background of jazz and contemporary dance, I was a self-confessed cardio queen and would run a mile at the thought of any resistance equipment.
Years lost on the treadmill and cross trainer in pursuit of a perkier bottom and a thinner waist… I’d go through phases of getting skinnier and losing my curves, and others of acquiring too many curves, but never getting to a place where I’d be completely comfortable in my own bikini.
I just put it down to not having the ‘body type’ or genetics, and almost gave up on wishing for a sexier body. How I wish I knew then what I know now. It would have saved years of frustration! The most important thing to remember is that DIET will dictate your SIZE but training will dictate your SHAPE!
For a lean body with sexy curves in all the right places you need a combination of the 2. None of this 80% diet, 20% training nonsense – both are important.
With the risk of over simplifying, when you diet, you lose fat and muscle mass. This is why you lose your curves, and end up with a jiggly bottom no matter how skinny you get (especially if you’re past your teenage years). By doing resistance training while in a calorie deficit you will maximize your fat loss while minimizing muscle loss – the end result being all the right curves in the right places!
What about endurance training (cardio’s more scientific name)?
Think of endurance training as the same of diet… it helps dictating your size by burning more calories, but will do very little for your shape.
“But… Won’t I get bulky?”
This is a reaction most women have when it’s suggested that they swap the bike for a barbell. But in one simple word: No! Us girls do not have enough testosterone, a key muscle building hormone.
“But what about the female bodybuilders?” – I hear you say.
Pretty much everyone in the upper echelons of professional bodybuilding is on synthetic drugs… and even then, they’ve been lifting weights for years!
So you have nothing to fear! Sure we can increase our muscle mass, but it won’t happen overnight. You will need lots of time and dedication and even then, you will hardly look big.
However, if you really don’t want to increase your muscle mass, but want to look firmer… remember that diet = size so make sure you are eating at maintenance and/or a calorie deficit to get that lean sexy bikini body every girl dreams of!
2. It Makes You Stronger
As an independent woman, I always liked to carry my own things and absolutely hated it when my strength was a limiting factor. Who likes to struggle to carry shopping bags? No girl should have their shopping trip restricted by the number of bags they can carry!
Jokes apart, resistance training will make you feel like Wonder Woman without looking like The Hulk. Day-to-day tasks get a lot easier to manage and suddenly things like walking upstairs, carrying grocery or lifting your children up are not such a struggle anymore.
3. Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
Because of our wonderful (and sometimes misunderstood) hormones, us ladies are at a higher risk of osteoporosis as we get older. By the time you reach adulthood, your bone density is at its peak and will just deteriorate from there. This puts elderly women at higher risk of fractures and injuries.
However, resistance training has been linked to not only increasing the strength of your muscles, but also your bones! It will improve your bone density, no matter when you start training.
4. Reduces the risk of Injury
The good news with regards to resistance training is that there is little-to-no impact, which makes it safer for people of all ages. By strengthening muscles, bones and connective tissue, weight training will improve balance and coordination making it less likely that you’ll fall and break or strain a body part. It will also improve joint stability and may help prevent osteoarthritis and back pain.
5. It Is Good For Your Mental Health
There have been various links between exercise and mental health. A study from Harvard Medical School shows that as little as 10 weeks of resistance training can reduce clinical depression more effectively than standard counseling.
I couldn’t agree more! The one thing I never thought about when I started my weight training journey was the sociological change. Feeling stronger is very empowering! As the weights increased I felt a lot more confident and sure of myself.
So what are you waiting for? Get lifting!
Don’t know how to get started? Resistance training comes in many forms. If you are a total beginner, body weight and resistance bands may be enough.
Yoga and Pilates can help, but the body adapts to new stimulus quick so as you progress it will be necessary to add weights in order to further improve.
If you need help, commission a personal trainer or online coach. The Healthy Lean Living Team are here to help!