Women are often scared of weightlifting, because of the common misconception that it will make us “bulky”, unattractive, or even worse, look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime! But the truth is that women SHOULD be weight lifting & strength training multiple times a week, for numerous reasons, and we are physically not built to increase our muscle size & bulk up the way that males do.
Here are FIVE reasons why women should strength train:
1. Burn more fat & increase your metabolism.
As women, when we age, our metabolism starts to slow down. This is in part due to the shift in hormones when we reach menopause & beyond. We start to put on weight, that becomes hard to shift, and just seems to stick around, if not get worse as the years go by! But here’s the good news… strength training revs up your metabolism! When you strength train, you also increase your resting metabolism rate—which in turn helps you burn more calories in a day, even if you’re sitting down and doing nothing!
2. Better hormone health
When our bodies are sitting at an optimal weight will be more balanced hormonally (but please remember there’s other factors too). However, when we enter peri-menopause, women can experience a multitude of symptoms brought on by the decline of estrogen. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day will boost the body’s production of this hormone, which not only boosts our moods, but also has fat burning properties as well! Estrogen isn’t the only hormone that’s positively affected by exercise either… Dopamine (which decreases stress, and elevates mood), seretonin (which can help with sleep) & tostesterone (which helps with your sex drive) are all boosted by regular exercise & strength training.
3. Sculpt your body
A lot of females think that the best way to shape their bodies is by doing cardio… and lots of it. However toning muscles involves a combination of gaining muscle mass and reducing body fat. Yes, a cardio workout will help melt fat but it also burns muscle as well. This is the reason why a lot of women who do cardio are unable to achieve the shape that they want.
On the other hand, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat, while gaining muscle and creates the curves that you’ve always dreamt about. If you want to bring out your natural curves, lift.
4. Strengthen your bones.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Weight training can ease the pain of osteoporosis and strengthen joints.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects a majority of people, especially older women. Women in their 20’s or 30’s may not worry about this yet but as you get older, you start losing not only muscle but bone mass as well. Why wait for this to happen when you can start lifting to maintain and even increase your bone mass. When an exercise is performed using weights, your muscles tug on your bones and these bones cope by creating new bone cells.
5. Improve your balance
Ever try to put on one sock while standing on the other leg? If you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll especially know how hard this can be when you don’t have good balance! Without strength training, this simple act can feel more like a trick over time.
The reason: fast-twitch muscle fibers we use for strength training deteriorate with age. (Aerobic exercises use mostly slow-twitch fibers.) The fast-twitch fibers assist in speed and power movements and contract quickly and with sufficient force to catch yourself when you lose your balance. Resistance training maintains the ability of these fibers to activate. This will in turn help you as you age…as the leading cause of broken bones in the older population are from falls!
So don’t be afraid to lift those weights! Whether you love to be in the weights room of the gym, or prefer to be training at home, incorporate strength training into your routine 2-3 times per week. And wondering what age is best to start? The simple answer is NOW – whatever age you are now, it’s time to benefit from all that strength training has to offer. Make sure to use all the different muscle groups in your body – and if you’re in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Sophie xx P.S. Check out my ONLINE training packs here & let's get a strength training program started in the comfort of your home!