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9 Amazing Benefits Women Can Expect from Strength Training

9 Amazing Benefits Women Can Expect from Strength Training

You’re a motivated go-getter. Your alarm probably went off before the sun rose. You got up, got dressed and got to the gym before most people even began to finish their last REM cycle. You are already an empowered and amazing woman, but if you’re not doing strength training, you’re probably not as amazing as you could be.

Strength training can seem intimidating but in reality, it can benefit women in so many ways. No, it doesn’t make you “too big,” so set that worry aside.  Before you start on your usual routine, here are nine reasons you should head toward the free weights instead of the elliptical.

1. Calorie Afterburn

When you add weight training to your routine, even if it’s only a couple of times per week, you’re adding the potential for your body to burn more calories even when you’re resting. You might see online that a pound of muscle burns some crazy number of calories, but the reality is that one pound of muscle burns somewhere between 6 and 13 calories a day while you do nothing.

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2. Increase Flexibility

There’s still misinformation floating around in the competitive world that strength training will cause your body to become more inflexible over time. That “old wives tale” has been repeatedly proven wrong by research. Among many other examples, The University of North Dakota studied static stretches vs. strength training exercises and found those with a full-range of motion in resistance training workouts can help improve flexibility.

3. Beat Buddha Belly

It’s true what they say: you can’t spot reduce. There’s no magic way of targeting a certain area with strength training and weights to lose fat. Also, put down the pills that make promises that could also be delivered by eating right and working out. They’re a waste of money.  According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “Core strength training can help reduce your waist circumference. Even if you don’t lose weight, you lose visceral fat and gain muscle mass.” Training the obliques and abdominal muscles with weighted core strength moves will result in getting rid of your buddha belly—eventually.  There’s no quick fix, and seeing visible results in this particular area has every bit as much to do with how much weight you lift as it does with what food you put in your mouth.

4. Be Less Tired

The physical fatigue you get when you strength train has a really positive side effect: you should get better sleep! Most people who deadlift on a regular basis report having more restful sleep cycles, and average over seven hours of sleep per night. Between the ages of 26 and 62, you should try to get between seven and nine hours a night. Your body may not still be developing hormonally, but your fine motor skills and judgment rely on adequate rest.

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5. Perform Better

The strength you gain from developing the large, visually defined muscles (biceps and triceps in your arms, for instance) is balanced by the control developed in the smaller muscles like the supraspinatus and subscapularis (two of the four muscles in the rotator cuff that keep your shoulder stabilized). The agility and capability increased by weightlifting can enhance your performance in every activity you do.

6. Happier Outlook

Elle Woods said it best in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands; they just don’t.” It’s a comedy, but that’s also a completely true statement. Endorphins are the ‘feel-good’ chemicals that the brain releases for several reasons, one of which is during strenuous exercise.  All jokes aside about spouses, having a happier outlook on life is what helps us weather the storms that inevitably come. The extra rainy day that makes the week feel too long, the spilled red wine, the baby that won’t sleep—these are all stressors that can be “the straw that broke the camels back” for a person without a positive outlook. Strength training, in a way, gives you emotional fortitude along with physical fortitude.

7. Feel Successful

Every time you work out with weights, you get a release of endorphins. You feel successful with each repeated muscle contraction. Completing a set of close grip bench press is a win. Walking to the shower sweaty from pushing through and finishing every set feels good. Success has many forms, but every single one of the times you’ve ever felt successful, your body gives you a reward in the form of a hit of dopamine. That tiny bit of euphoria you feel is dopamine, and seeking that feeling is what motivates us to succeed. Physical performance in the gym lets us build those feelings of success and the feelings of euphoria bleed over into the rest of our lives. Feeling successful becomes more of a natural state, giving us the confidence to set bigger and better goals.

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8. Positive Body Image

Let’s face it: people who work out look good. One glance at the people around you and you can tell who takes care of themselves and who doesn’t. When you look in the mirror, you can see the same qualities in yourself. If you’re picking up heavy things and putting them back down again, you regularly give yourself the opportunity to feel strong and capable. That feeling is then reflected; by feeling strong and capable, the person you see in the mirror is strong and capable. Having a positive body image means you’re less likely to spend time mentally picking at flaws that only you can see.

9. Have Better Sex

Out of all the positive side effects received from hitting the free weights in the gym a few times a week, the best has got to be having a better sex life! First, having an orgasm releases more endorphins, which enhance that beautiful body image. Second, having sex causes the brain to release dopamine and oxytocin—the Love Hormone—that causes each person to feel happier, more attractive and to develop strong bonds with their partners.

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Ladies, it’s time to start cracking the weights.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on August 10, 2020

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

It’s only natural for anyone in such a situation to wonder “Why can’t I lose weight? Why am I struggling to get fit?”

You may even want to give up but don’t!

I am here to provide you with help in figuring out why you are struggling with getting fit and will some realistic solutions.

First, it is important to highlight that being skinny doesn’t automatically make someone healthy or fit. In-fact, that’s far from the truth as a small frame doesn’t guarantee either.

However, it is a known fact that there are more health risks associated with obesity. With this in mind, losing 10 to 20 pounds could improve your health condition and overall fitness. For example, excess fat can cause inflammation and you risk causing damage to your joints and tissues. By losing and keeping weight off, you will lessen your chances of having illnesses such as arthritis, inflammation, and damaging your joints.

Now that we have discussed the importance of weight loss, let’s move on to the interesting part – 8 possible reasons why you aren’t losing weight.

1. Are You Starting Your Day with Breakfast?

Here’s the deal about dieting. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you’re not eating the most important meal of the day, you are probably doing yourself a disservice.

You may think skipping breakfast will help you shed those pounds. However, by noontime, you will find yourself famished, causing you to eat more during lunch. Studies have shown skipping breakfast is correlated with obesity.[1]

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You want to have the first meal of the day within an hour of waking up. Eat something that’s fiber-rich and packed with protein to carry you until lunch. Grab a fruit, a vitamin-rich smoothie or a whole-wheat toast with eggs along with some Greek yogurt.

2. Does Your Metabolism Affect Your fitness?

How fast you burn calories will depend on your metabolism. If your metabolism is slow, then perhaps it is the reason you’re not losing the weight as quickly as you would like to.

There are many factors affecting your metabolism, for example ageing, or how active your lifestyle is. If you’re not as active as you once were, you may experience a decline in your muscle mass. As a result, your metabolism slows down.

If you want to speed up your metabolic rate, lift weights and stay away from low-calorie diets.

3. Can Genetics Affect Your Fitness?

Yes, it is possible you inherited the slow metabolism from your parents or even your grandparents. You can’t control this kind of inheritance.

Unfortunately, with a slower metabolism, you will have to work harder than those with a fast metabolism to lose weight.

4. Does Gender Reduce Your Chances of Losing Weight?

Sounds silly, right? It’s not! This is a great question and the answer is complicated.

According to a study, it seems it’s a lot easier for men to lose weight compared to women.[2] On the other hand, when women lose weight, they keep it off longer than men. The big differences are where and how men and women lose weight.

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Men lose weight on their abdominal area first. Women, not so much. The stomach and hips are the hardest areas of the body for women to lose weight and to train. Therefore, if you’re a woman who wants to lose weight on her stomach, strap on binding corsets and waist trainers, they really do help.

Remember, weight loss is not all corsets, the best way to lose weight alongside wearing shapewear and exercising is to create a calorie deficit.

5. Are You Eating Before Going to Bed?

Having a snack too close to bedtime is a no-no. If you’re eating before bed, it could be why you are struggling to drop those pounds and get fit. By eating before going to bed, you’re making it difficult to burn fat.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the US, and the University of Murcia in Spain concluded that consuming food during the circadian evening plays an important role in body composition.[3]

Try eating dinner about two or three hours before you lay down for the evening. Anything less will raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and your temperature.

Snacking after dinner will also increase caloric intake depending on your snack of choice. If you must munch on something, choose your snacks wisely.

6. Can Stress Affect Your Fitness?

Some people get stressed out and they eat, but here’s the kicker. They reach for comfort foods and most of the time, it’s junk food like ice cream and chocolate cake.

Instead, if you find yourself stress eating, make a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels by taking an alternative route and instead of stress eating, reduce stress by exercising or meditating.

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Stress plays a vital role in our health and fitness, where necessary seek the appropriate medical help.

7. What if You Have Trouble Sleeping?

Sometimes when you worry or suffer from certain illnesses, you may have trouble falling or staying asleep. This can affect the metabolic rate as well and your energy levels.

When you don’t have enough energy, it makes working out less desirable. This could be another reason why you can’t lose weight.

Did you know people who don’t get enough rest eat about 300 or more calories a day versus individuals who get enough sleep?

For example: After coming home from a hard day at work, no one wants to cook. It is easier to stop by the first fast-food restaurant and eat that 1200 calorie burger combo meal. Maybe even eating that 300 calorie chocolate bar for dessert.

If you find yourself eating out often, could this be yet another reason why you struggling to get a good night’s sleep. Take away food generally contains a lot of hidden calories making it harder for your body to burn through the night.

8. Could Your Thyroid Be Contributing to Why You Are Not Getting Fit?

An under-active thyroid can influence your ability to lose weight. This condition is known as ‘hypothyroidism’, not to confuse with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). Let me explain.

An overactive thyroid affects your ability to gain weight, not lose it.

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With hypothyroidism, your body retains water and salt buildup. Because of this, you gain pounds, making it difficult to lose them. This condition, along with other chemicals in the body, affects your energy levels and your metabolism.

If you suspect this is the reason why you are struggling to get fit, talk to a medical professional about it. The doctor or nurse practitioner will know exactly what to do.

Summing It Up

There are many factors that affect whether you gain or lose weight. To give you the best chance of losing weight effectively, you should aim to identify and control these factors.

There are a number of benefits to losing weight and getting fit. For example, by dropping a few pounds you will take pressure off your knees and other joints in your lower body. As well as increasing your overall health condition by reducing illnesses such as stress, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Finally, remember it’s not all about what you eat. Whilst diet is vital in the process of losing weight and getting fit, it is not the only factor to consider when losing weight. You need a well balanced fitness program consists of diet and exercise. Therefore, performing regular exercise such as lifting weights a few times a week and will help meet your goals quicker.

Please use these useful tips to help you lose weight, get fit and achieve your dream body.

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Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

Reference

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