One of the biggest misconception among most women who are looking to lose weight and get in shape is that they should NOT lift weights. They claim that by lifting weights they’ll end up looking too muscular and bulky like men.
That is the furthest thing from the truth!
In fact, it is a downright lie.
…. And for those women, their idea of getting fit and toned is to head to the gym and find an available cardio machine, spend 30 minutes to an hour and repeat the cycle day after day hoping to get that hour glass figure.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. To shape your body, you need to lift weights.
So if you are one of those women that think the weights are going to destroy your femininity, please stick around for a little while.
Today I am going to debunk the myth that women should not lift weights.
I am also going to share why EVERY women should incorporate weight lifting in their workout programs regardless of their fitness goals.
So please just be open minded for a few minutes. Because as you’ll soon learn, the weights will be your best friend!
Before I get into the details though, I want to ask you a question that should have you thinking a little and maybe give you some insights and change your perspective about lifting weights – that is, if you are one of those ladies that think weight lifting for women is a bad thing.
So here goings:
I am pretty sure you’d agree with me that the image on the right above is quite impressive compared to the one on the left.
Which woman wouldn’t want some nice round and firm bums?
The truth is, without proper weight lifting routines for women it is near impossible to have a nice and firm bum especially if your genetics is not on your side. However, with a good weight training program you can definitely get not just a tight and firm bum but also that sexy stunning body that you’ve always craved.
Cardio is VERY important and should also have its place in every fitness program. There are many benefits to doing cardio but I’ll save that for another post.
Today I want to focus on weight lifting for women.
And Let’s be honest, doing cardio can be very BORING!
What’s even worse is that it seems as if there are 100 seconds in a minute when you are on the cardio machine.
You are pushing and going hard and in your head you think you’ve done about 15 minutes already. However, when you look down at the timer you realize it’s only been 3 minutes and you have 27 more to go.
Wouldn’t you rather spend your time doing something more fun while stilling getting a good bang for your buck?
When it comes to burning fat, the most important factor is your diet.
As I’ve written before, you need to create a calorie deficit in order to burn fat. You can do that either by eating less or by exercising (Cardio and/or Weight Training) or both (Diet and exercise – RECOMMENDED).
However, if you want to look absolutely sexy and STUNNING, then you must incorporate weight training in your fitness program.
In fact, if you only do cardio you’ll waste away your muscles (if you don’t use them you lose them) which could slow down your metabolism and plateau your journey real quick.
It doesn’t matter how much cardio or even weight training you do, as long as you eat in a surplus you’ll NOT burn fat. But here’s the kicker: if you do cardio alone and eat in a surplus, the excess calories will be converted to fat and stored.
Ever seen some folks at the gym for months doing cardio everyday but look the same way?
That’s the reason. Their diet is not dialed in.
And the good thing about muscles is that it’s a lot denser than fat.
So even though you’ll be gaining weight, if you are doing the right weight lifting exercises for women then you may even look smaller. Because you have the capabilities of adding weight to right placed – AKA your bum 🙂
Have I convinced you that you need to start a weight lifting program for women yet?
If not, let’s look at some of the amazing benefits to start ditching your favorite cardio machine and start picking up some dumbbells.
You know what amazes me?
How some women (and men too) are so caught up with the amount of calories they burn on the treadmill or their favorite cardio machine. They’ll wear their fitbit or polar watches and crank up the level on the machine so that they can set records and break them ever so often.
That’s all well and good but there’s a problem.
After that treadmill run, that’s it for the calorie burn. If you pushed and burn say 500 calories in a workout, after a few minutes later when your heart rate goes back to normal there will be no after burn effect.
On the other hand, there are several studies that have confirmed that your metabolic rate increases up to 36 hours post weight training workout. This means that even after you are done working out, you’ll still have an after-burn effect. Which means you are still burning fat even long after you are done working out.
With cardio, your metabolic rate basically return to normal after a few hours.
It’s one thing to burn calories but its another thing to BURN FAT.
Your sole objective when losing weight is to ensure that you are burning fat. When you incorporate a weight lifting program it ensures that you maintain your muscle mass and keep your metabolic rate elevated. In doing so, it ensures that the weight lost comes from fat and not your muscle tissues.
In fact, in a recent study done by Tufts University on two groups of overweight women: One group performed a weight lifting routine twice per week while the other group (the control) only dieted.
When the results were in, the group that lifted heavy weights lost an average of 14.6 pounds of fat and even gained 1.4 pounds of muscle. On the other hand, the group that did no weight training, gained no muscles and only lost 9.2 pounds of fat.
The rate at which you burn fat is dependent on your metabolic rate.
… And guess what?
The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be even while resting. The problem however, is that research shows that the average woman’s metabolic rate, or the number of calories burned in a day, decreases by 1 percent each year after the age of 30.
As a result, your resting metabolic rate is lower and your body will require fewer calories per day to carry out biochemical functions.
This simply means that as the years go by, you lose more muscle mass and gain even more fat especially around your problem areas even if your food intake remains the same.
So what’s the best way to maintain or increase your muscle mass to keep your metabolic rate elevated?
When you lift weights, you put stress on your muscles which causes microscopic tears in them. That’s the reason why after a weight training workout you’ll feel a little sore.
However, once you keep your diet intact, you’ll build your muscles up to keep up with the demands of your workouts.
As you should know by now, the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be. This inevitably mean that the less muscle mass you have, the slower your metabolism will be.
A slow metabolism equates to less burning of fat.
And as I mentioned in point #3 above, as women age they lose a percentage of their muscle mass naturally every year. Weight training and proper dieting is the only way to reduce the rate at which you lose muscle.
Just the feeling of knowing you don’t have to depend on a man to carry things for you is empowering.
When you lifts weights, you’ll increase muscle mass which equates to more strength. This makes everyday tasks a whole lot easier. You’ll be able to carry your groceries, move around furniture in your hose, lift your own suitcase off the carousel at the airport and a whole lot more.
And the confidence boost is a plus!
Let’s be honest, there are only 24 hours in a day and I am pretty sure you’d rather be doing something fun and enjoyable than spending hours in the gym – right?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the gym. It’s like my safe haven. But, I don’t want to be there all day especially when I have a lot of important tasks to get done.
The good news is that because of the after-burn effect and the long term weight loss benefits, you can spend less time in the gym and get amazing results than you would with cardio.
So instead of doing one hour of cardio, you can weight train for 30-45 minutes and get better results. Sweet right?
The main reason why most women don’t get involved in a weight lifting program is because they think that they will get big and bulky.
Let’s dispel that myth once and for all.
In order to get big and bulky – like men, you’ll need a LOT of testosterone. Naturally women don’t produce enough testosterone to build muscles like men.
Plus you’ll also need to eat a lot of food (calorie surplus) to build up your muscles. This is the opposite of what you’ll be doing because you’ll be eating in a deficit to burn fat.
In fact, to look bulky like some bodybuilders, it would take years of dedicated training and dieting.
So don’t be afraid to pick up the weights at your gym. By the way, I am not talking about those little 2lbs dumbbells either. You need to pick up HEAVY weights!
There’s nothing better to build up your glutes (your bum) than doing some heavy squats and hip thrust. You also need to lift weights to tone your arms and legs. And as mentioned earlier, muscle is a lot denser that fat and thus takes up less space.
Plus when you have a great diet plan and follow an effective weight lifting for women program, you trade fat for muscle. This means you drop the belly bulge making your waist smaller while firming up you shoulders and arms and your bum.
This will give you the hour glass figure – that sexy look that so many women crave. Even if you don’t naturally have a curvaceous body, you can target certain areas an build them up revealing curves you never thought was possible for you.
If you are a cardio queen then you’ll love this benefit of weight training for women. You don’t have to be a professional sports person to reap the benefits of going hard on the weights.
Consistent weight training will strengthen your muscles, giving you stronger arms, legs and core. This means improved performance, better running form and overall athleticism.
Plus studies show that strength training increases the number and size of calorie-torching muscle fibers.
There’s another muscle that most people don’t know about, its the ‘confidence muscle‘.
Well, the main reason why most people don’t know about it is because I made it up! All jokes aside though, the more you lift and get better at doing it, the more you build your confidence muscle – you BOOST your self Confidence.
So when you walk into the gym or anywhere for that matter, you own the place and command respect.
When others see you (men and women alike) picking up some heavy weights, they have to stop and stare. But not in an intimidating kinda way. More like damn that girl is AMAZING.
I also find that this confidence boost also extends to all other aspects of your life.
It doesn’t matter, by constantly challenging yourself to do things in the gym that you never thought possible, your confidence grows both inside and out.
It seems like everywhere you turn for weight loss advice, people are cheering on a ‘low carb diet‘.
It’s true, dropping your carbs can help you lose weight fast. But… if you are lifting heavy in the gym, you get to eat a whole lot more carbs without putting on weight.
In fact, when you lift, you need those carbs for energy so that your workouts don’t suffer. Those carbs will help you build nice lean muscles and NOT fat.
Keep in mind that you have to choose your carbs wisely though. I am not suggesting you go and eat donuts and not expect to have repercussions. As I mentioned at the start of the article, your diet is key to achieving you fitness goals so you still need to choose your meals wisely.
There are many research studies that show that women are at a higher risk of getting osteoporosis than men. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation osteoporosis affects more than 10 million Americans of which 80% are women.
This is a disease in which the bones become brittle and fragile and are more susceptible to being broken or a fracture.
One of the main cause for this disease is due to physical inactivity or lack of ‘load bearing exercises‘. Studies also show that the lack of physical activity can also lead to a decrease in bone density. However, weight training a.k.a lifting heaving weights will provide a mechanical stimuli which helps to improve bone health.
There are two things I don’t like about doing long boring cardio:
This is also one of the reason why a lot of women fail to reach their weight loss goals as well. They do long hours of cardio and feel that they can ‘treat‘ themselves to a nice meal afterwards which usually void all the calories burned in the session.
2. After a long session, you are tired and drained and just want to roll over in bed and sleep
Weight training on the other hand boost your energy levels and mood throughout the entire day. Studies show that lifting heavy weights boost serotonin levels in the brain. This is a feel-good hormone that is responsible for your mood. The higher the levels, the happier and more positive you’ll be.
The amount of women that die from cardiovascular disease each year is alarming. In fact the Center For Disease Control And Prevention reports that heart disease is the #1 cause of death for women over 25.
But what you may not know is that doing weight training actually helps to improve your heart health. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure.
Most women are so caught up with the number on the scale. Which is why they like to do tons of cardio in the first place. It’s like a never ending cycle. They do cardio to burn a lot of calories on the machine in hopes that the number on the scale will go down.
But did you know that you can drop a size or two without the number on the scale going down?
As I mentioned earlier, muscle is a lot denser that fat. In fact, two women could weigh the same amount and look completely different. Remember the image I showed you at the start of this post? Scroll up and look again.
You see, when you do weight training and build up your assets, you get to tighten and firm up some areas for example your waistline. However, because you’ve lost fat and are gaining muscle the scale wont go down but you’ll look a whole lot better and fit in that dress size you’ve always wanted.
Weight training is not just for your muscles. It helps to improve your brain health as well. When you weight train, there are certain amount of endorphins that are released which helps to combat depression and anxiety.
There is a 2012 Mayo Clinic study that shows that consistent weight training also helps to combat memory loss in older women.
Okay so we already know that estrogen is the primary sex hormone that females produce. But did you know that a little boost in testosterone can actually improve your sex drive?
Here’s the thing, women do produce testosterone. But before you start thinking about that ‘being bulky‘ scenario that we’ve already thrown out the door, just know that the amount of testosterone that a women produce is just about under 5% of what men produce.
So there’s no way in the world that amount will bulk you up. Neither will you start growing hair like men. So you can breathe a sigh of relief :).
However, by doing a bit of weight training, you can boost your T level just a tiny bit which can have a MAJOR boost on your libido levels and keep you in an upbeat mood.
There are so many things that can keep us awake at nights. The bills to be paid, what’s for breakfast the next morning, problems at work, the kids… you name it.
But the great news is that according to a study done by the Journal Of Sports Medicine and Science, resistance training done over a period of time will significantly improve your sleep quality.
Ever heard of ‘cortisol‘?
It is the main stress hormone. Whenever you are feeling down or depressed, chances are your cortisol levels are way too high. We all have our worries and problems to deal with and sometimes they get the better of us.
The good news though is that studies have confirm that consistent resistance training (at least 3 times per week) can drop your cortisol levels as much as 18%. This is probably one of the main reason why many persons find the gym as a safe haven. You get to take out all your problems on the iron and go home feeling De-stressed.
Still think weight lifting for women is a bad thing? Give it a shot and I am pretty sure you wont be disappointed!
One of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity is by doing weight training.
What this means is that your body will be better able to process sugar which can reduce your risk of getting diabetes. On the other hand, if you already have diabetes, by being consistent with your weight lifting efforts, you can improve your blood sugar control.
In fact, in a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was shown that persons who are consistent with weight training over a 16 weeks period can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking diabetes medication.
If you thought yoga was the only way to improve your balance and boost your flexibility then you are wrong.
According to top Researchers from the University of North Dakota, when you perform resistance training using full range of motion for the various exercises, you can improve your flexibility just the same.
Plus because weight training improves your fast twitch muscle fibers (cardio uses mostly your slow twitch muscle fibers). As a result, your overall performance also gets better. For instance, your running, swimming or just about any activity that you love to do will get better.
There are a lot of women that are shying away from the weights section at the gym. This is mainly because they have the wrong information about weight lifting for women. You see, there’s a saying that “knowledge is power” but I believe that it is actually in the use of knowledge the real power is.
The reason I said that is because now you have not 1, not 2, not even 3 but rather 21 reason why you should start picking up the weights in your gym.
The writing is on the wall and it is safe to say:
If you are still not convinced, then you really need to send me an email so that we can talk. In fact, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let me know if you enjoyed this post, and if you are a women, what is your experience with weight training.