Weight training is a term that should never only be associated with men. Many women, for one reason or another, tend to stick with cardio routines and hold onto the belief that cardio is the only way they can get fit and reach their goals. This is related to the fact (and I hear this a lot), that many women believe if they lift weights they will bulk up or end up looking manly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Read through these 7 facts on weight training for women and you may see things a little differently.
- Lose body fat
Weight training burns more body fat than cardio. In fact if you train at a high enough intensity you will keep burning calories for several hours after you leave the gym. This will also cause you to gain lean muscle, which elevates your metabolic rate even at rest. That means you instantly start burning more calories on a daily basis, even when sleeping.
- You will not and cannot bulk up like a man
As I said, some women are terrified of the fact they may end up looking manly. The fact is women have up to 30 times less of the hormones that men have that enable them to build muscles. The most common one being testosterone. There is no way for a women to build muscle like a man without devoting half of their entire life to supplements and exercise.
- Get physically stronger
Your muscles don’t have to grow for you to increase in strength, they only need to be worked. The neuromuscular connection between your brain and your muscle tissue combine to give you strength. Lifting weights and performing full body movements such as squats or deadlifts improves the way your muscles respond with your nervous system. That alone will promote increases in strength.
- Prevent osteoporosis
As women age they are subjected to a much greater risk of osteoporosis, which is caused by a decline in bone density. Severe osteoporosis can cause bones to fracture easily because they become extremely fragile and brittle. Weight training places stress on the skeletal system which in turn increases the bone mineral density.
- Prevent injuries, strains and body pain
Weight training strengthens connective tissue, joints and stabilizer muscles. Strengthening the lower back with resistance training can rid lower back pain by up to 80%. Strong tendons and ligaments are important to prevent injury. Just like muscle and bone, placing stress on them will make them stronger.
- Reduce risk of heart disease
Heart disease is an epidemic that is becoming out of control, especially in the Western world. It claims more lives than anything else. Weight training lowers blood pressure and improves the ratio of cholesterol in the body. That in turn reduces stress on the heart which significantly reduces the chance of it failing.
- Look more toned
Losing weight is all good and well, but if you want to look your best then you have to tighten and tone up by adding lean muscle. Cardio will help you lose weight but will do very little to tighten your body. By adding as little as 1% lean muscle, your body will look tight and toned.
The bottom line? Women should include resistance work into their routines to fully reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and confident appearance. One size does not fit all however so it’s important to make a plan or speak with someone qualified to provide with a workout or at the very least guidance on exactly how much and how often you should be performing resistance training.