Many women shy away from weight lifting for fear that it will make them too “bulky,” or “man-like.” This is a myth. Most women have been conditioned to believe that cardio was the one and only way to lose weight and tone up. This is another untruth. While cardio is healthy and certainly does have its place in a well-rounded fitness regimen, there’s more to the story. Many experts are now in agreement that weight lifting for women has many health and fitness benefits and done properly can actually help you lose weight.
1. Burn Fat
Many women lift weights to lose weight, but it has to be done properly. The key to burning fat more effectively while lifting weights is to do higher repetitions with a lower weight. You would do the opposite if you were trying to bulk up; to bulk up you do fewer reps with a higher weight. But to trim your body down to a strong, lean physique, adding weight training to your circuit is the way to go.
2. Build Lean Muscle
Another reason to train with weights while you’re losing weight is that the more muscle mass your body has, the more efficient your metabolism gets. That’s right. Muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat does, which means by adding more muscle to your body you’ll burn more calories even at rest.
3. Slim Down
It’s important to keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. You may gain weight when you gain muscle, even if you’re fitting into smaller sized clothing. This is because 5 lbs of fat takes up way more space than 5 lbs of muscle. So if you see the number on the scale rise with weight training, don’t panic! Go by measurements instead of weight, and pay attention to how your clothes are fitting you. You’ll notice your body shrinking even if the scale says you weigh more!
4. Keep Bones Healthy
Study after study has proven that adding weight lifting to your fitness routine actually increases muscle but it also increases bone density. As we age, our bones begin to weaken. This can put us at risk for broken bones, issues with our posture and problems with spinal health. The benefits of higher bone density alone are enough to convince many of us to go ahead and try the weights. It’s one more way to combat the signs of aging!
5. Maintain Spinal Health
One thing we all notice as we age is an increase in back problems. This is partially due to naturally occurring loss of bone density and partially due to a lack of core strength. Most people when they think of their core, think of abs. Your core is so much more than just your abdominals—it’s everything but your extremities. And to keep your back strong and healthy, you must strengthen your core. A strong core keeps your body and posture stabilized, reducing risk of back strain and/or injury. If you’re having issues with proper form while working out, chances are you need more core strengthening in your routine.
6. Boost Self-Confidence
Last but not least, weight lifting can increase your self-confidence. You’ll notice within just a few weeks that you are getting stronger as a result of weight lifting. Your posture will improve, which means you’ll be literally walking taller. Truly there’s nothing sexier than a woman with strength and confidence, not to mention the killer bod you’ve earned with all that hard work in the gym. Plus, a strong and defined body naturally looks better in (or out of) clothing. You’ve worked hard for that body, and it shows!