Since starting the brand new Beachbody workout program, The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I have been asked by a number of people why I would want to lift weights, or why I want to “bulk up.” So, I thought I would take a moment to share some research about why EVERY woman should be lifting weights.
Here are 7 reasons YOU should be lifting weights.
1. You’ll Blast More Fat and Calories
Forget that “fat-burning” zone on the treadmill. According to a new study published in Obesity, strength training is better at helping people lose belly fat compared with cardio, PLUS, you’ll burn more calories throughout the rest of your day.
While aerobic exercise burns both fat and muscle, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat.
Your muscle mass largely determines your resting metabolic rate—how many calories you burn by just living and breathing. So, just sitting on your butt reading this, you’re burning calories—if you lift weights, that is.
“The more muscle you have, the more energy your body expends. Everything you do, from brushing your teeth, to sleeping, to checking Instagram, you’ll be burning more calories” –Holly Perkins, CSCS.
2. You’ll Strengthen Your Bones
Weight lifting doesn’t only train your muscles, it trains your bones. When you perform a curl, for example, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bone cells, and so your bones become stronger and more dense.
As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
3. You’ll Strengthen Your Joints
Stronger muscles better hold your joints in place. Proper strength training is the solution to joint issues. By strengthening the surrounding muscles, your joints will be held in position, so you won’t need to worry about your knee flaring up during your next run.
4. You’ll Have a Healthier Heart
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t the only exercise that gets your heart pumping! In one Appalachian State University study, people who performed 45 minutes of moderate-intensity resistance exercise lowered their blood pressure by 20 percent. That’s as good as—if not better than—the benefits associated with most blood pressure pills.
Strength training increases your heart rate and therefore increases your heart strength and health, too.
5. You’ll Have Better Quality Sleep
Strength training greatly improves sleep quality, aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. And we all know the benefits of getting a good nights sleep!
6. You’ll Improve Your Balance and Flexibility
When your center of gravity is constantly shifting you have to stabilize in order to not fall over. By training and strengthening those stabilizing muscles you are improve your overall balance.
Researchers from the University of North Dakota compared static stretches with strength-training exercises, and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen. The movements need to be full-range, going all the way up and all the way down with any given weight. If that is not possible at first, then start off with a lighter weight and work up to it.
7. You’ll Combat Stress Like A Ninja
Exercise in general is a great way to manage stress. Researchers have consistently found that those who regularly strength train tend to manage stress better, and experience fewer adverse reactions to stressful situations when compared to those who do not exercise.
In addition, studies on older adults show that resistance-training and moderate intensity weightlifting improves memory and cognitive function.
8. You’ll Be More Confident and Mentally Strong
By constantly challenging yourself to do things you never thought possible, your confidence grows. Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life. When you realize your outer strength, you can tap into your inner strength, and that begins to radiate.
Ladies, if you want get fit, you need to lift weights.
You won’t get bulky, here’s why:
Most women simply do not possess the level of testosterone necessary to support a bulky physique. While we all have different genetics, and some of us are prone to having more muscle density than others, as a general rule you have to train for bulk to get bulk.
Ask any bodybuilder and they will tell you that gaining muscle isn’t easy. You won’t turn into a she-hulk just because you perform squats with your body weight, but you will end up with a righteous backside.
All of us want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything we do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career.
Resistance training can benefit in all aspects of your life. Put it in your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident!