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Last Updated on May 9, 2018

The Remarkable Benefits of Strength Training for Women

The Remarkable Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Are you curious about lifting weights but not sure why you should get started?

You’re in the right place!

I’ll be revealing the mind and body benefits of lifting weights and tell you why it will literally transform your life.

Discover the secret of strength training for women, and why you should start today.

8 Truths About Strength Training

You’ll Boost Your Social Capital

We all could use more friends! Although, many times our insecurity about our bodies and our appearances can prevent us from presenting our best selves in the world.

This lack of confidence we have about our identity can be enough to stop us from seeking new relationships both offline and online.

Lifting weights can and will positively change how you feel about yourself. You will experience a boost of self-confidence in many areas of your life such as your in career, in your personal relationships, and especially the relationship you have with yourself.

Confident people are linked with higher incomes, more friends, and–if you’re single–with having more desirable characteristics as a potential mate.

Increased self-confidence creates more opportunities to strengthen current relationships and attract additional relationships because you were assertive enough to seek them out.

New friends and contacts lead to richer life experiences and expanded opportunities in all areas of your life.

Weight training helps you put yourself out there more often and gives you the self-confidence to believe that people will value what you have to offer.

You’ll Love the Way You Look

If you’ve ever seen the before and after images on your Instagram or Facebook feed, then you know fitness inspiration pictures are all the rage these days.

The most interesting before and after photos are the ones where women weigh the same in both pictures but look totally different. Not only are they leaner, trimmer, and more toned but their weight hasn’t changed!

How is this possible?

I have two words for you: lifting weights. It’s unfortunate that the #1 go-to method for women who want to lose weight is to do cardio in excess, especially when the scale has stopped moving and they have stopped seeing results.

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Cardio and a proper diet will definitely help you to lose weight, but without a lifting routine you will lose muscle mass at the same time. This is why when most people stray off of stricter diets the weight just comes straight back.

Your baseline metabolism is determined by the amount of muscle you have.

When you have less muscle, due to repeated dieting and cardio, then your body cannot handle the extra calories consumed when you get off the diet. This results in fat storage and weight gain and a serious bust to your self esteem.

If you added strength training into your routine, you wouldn’t encounter the same problem because you’ve increased your overall metabolism through building muscle while simultaneously lowering your bodyfat. Not only will you have more muscle than when you first started, but you’ll notice when looking in the mirror that you also have more tone, shape, and firmness overall.

Strength training is the reason why women look leaner after their transformations but still weigh the same. A leaner, stronger body is the end result of lifting weights regularly.

You Can Focus on Becoming More

When it comes to being healthy we’re obsessed with the number on the scale and it dictates how we feel the rest of the day.

We become very conscious about our eating and picky about what we eat. We start classifying our foods as ‘bad’ versus ‘good’ which starts an unhealthy relationship with food. On top of this, the media conditions us that we must look a certain way and meet specific cultural body standards.

With weight training we ignore the scale.

Instead we focus on how much we can lift today, the number on the weights (rather than the scale) and set our sights on lifting more than we did last week.

Unknowingly we start becoming role models for women at the gym and other women in our lives by focusing on what really matters in our fitness journey: our health and our strength, not the number on the scale.

You’ll Experience Self-Love!

Lifting weights will positively change your identity of who you are in many ways.

When you didn’t see the scale change as fast as you would you like, you may have embraced the idea that you have a slow metabolism.

Perhaps you are the person who had every legitimate excuse under the sun on why you didn’t exercise today–with lack of time being the primary excuse. You felt that other people who are in shape just have more willpower than you do and possibly just blessed with good genetics.

But when you start lifting weights, how you describe who you are will start to shift.

You become the person who says “I am someone who takes care of myself and I make sure to get my workouts in.” The idea that you should exercise everyday becomes I must exercise everyday.

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You start identifying and implementing healthier habits such as eating more vegetables, getting 8 hours of sleep, and monitoring your stress levels.

You start walking down the street with a more confident posture. You feel more in control and carry yourself with more competence in every situation.

Ultimately, strength training will cause you to start holding yourself to higher standards. It will raise the bar in all areas of your life so that you become a better version of yourself.

You’ll Challenge Your Self-Imposed Limitations

One of the most gratifying outcomes from lifting weights is seeing how strong and capable you are. You may have not have tested yourself, or even thought it was possible to lift that much weight, but you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.

When you are strength training the challenge is between you and yourself.

How much effort did you bring to the gym floor last week, and how much are going to bring to the floor today?

Progress becomes very clear with strength training. It’s either a “yes” or a “no” on whether you lifted more this week than you did last week and whether you brought 100% of your effort.

You become surprised and pleased by how much you can lift when it’s something you really want.

We all need to get out of our way and break the self-imposed limitations we have for ourselves. You will become stronger and feel more empowered when you lift.

You’ll Build a Stronger You 

Weight training builds stronger muscles and bones.

As females, we have a hormone called estrogen, which plays an important role in helping you maintain your bone density.

Starting at age 35 our bone mass starts decreasing, which leads to an increased risk of developing osteoporosis; this can go undetected until a bone fracture happens.

After menopause, bone loss starts to accelerate increasing the risk of weakened and brittle bones. During the first five to ten years of menopause women can lose up to 25 to 30% of bone density. [1]

If you’re in your early 20s to 30s, then regular weight lifting means you can help maintain your bone density after menopause.

It’s much easier to maintain your current bone density than it is to build it once you’ve stopped producing estrogen, but it’s never too late to start.

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Activities that include weight-bearing exercises are important for both bone health maintenance and improvement.

Although it is important to remain active throughout your life resistance training has a greater positive effect on bone density than other types of exercise. [2].

Having strong, dense bones to get you through your golden years is important for long-term health.

Stronger bones lowers your chance of having fractures, which means that you will be able to stay out of the nursing home or assisted living centers for as long as possible when you’re retired.

You’ll Grow Old Gracefully

Not only does weight lifting build stronger bones, but it helps you to grow old gracefully and live on your terms for as long as possible.

Growing old is an inevitable part of life, but we can choose whether we allow life to take its toll on us, or whether we will grow stronger physically and mentally each year.

Interested in anti-aging?

Of course you are. Strength training is one of the many ways to achieve this.

This type of exercise can transforms you into a younger looking person. It will preserve and build muscles that help your posture so you remain upright, dominate life’s tasks, and make everyday easier for yourself.

The harder you work inside the gym, the easier your life will be outside of it.

Having healthy muscles gives you the ability to get up and down the stairs with ease. You are able to pick things up without hurting your back, and get up easily if you fall. If you need to pack up and move houses it’s not a problem because you have the strength and ability to do it.

Well-known palliative care nurse and author Bronnie Ware wrote several books analyzing the top regrets of dying patients. She concluded that “health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

Lifting weights will give you the strength and ability to take care of yourself for decades to come.

When you have this freedom of health, you instantly have a better quality of life.

You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

This is by far the best benefit of strength training.

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Eating is one of the many pleasures of life and judging by the waistline of Americans, most will agree. The average person unknowingly gains about 3-5 pounds every year with majority of that weight gain happening around the holidays.

As we get older, we have the tendency to become more sedentary. This is why weight gain accelerates in our middle age even though our diets haven’t changed much. Inactivity compounded by age-related muscle loss causes us to naturally put on weight.

The good news is that all of this is completely preventable.

What if you can eat more, but still stay slim?

With strength training, you can. In fact, lifting weights helps you to maintain your current lean muscle mass and build more as well.

Not only will you look better in your clothes but you’ll speed up your metabolism.This means that you will have leeway in your diet to eat a little bit more without any consequences to your waistline.

Start Lifting Today for a Better You Tomorrow

Are you pumped to start lifting weights but you’re not sure where or how to get started?

There are lots of different options out there to help you get started, but when you’re looking for a plan keep in mind three things:

1. Find a plan that works for you now, not one that would work in your ideal situation or your ideal week.

If you only have 2 days a week you can dedicate consistently to workout, then find a plan that is a 2 day strength training program and start with that. You’ll only get frustrated if you cannot follow a plan exactly as you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

2. Schedule your workouts in your calendar and respect it.

Results come from consistency not from a perfect plan. If you don’t make time to strength train, it won’t happen and you won’t see any changes.

3. Focus on your form.

This is to ensure that you engage and activate the right muscles and also stay safe and injury free.

Lifting weights is about building the mind body connection. If you don’t feel your muscles working, then it’s not working. There are many YouTube videos and websites that will help you get your form right or hire an experienced trainer, the investment is well worth it.

Are you convinced yet that lifting weights can benefit your body in more ways than one? Get started today and reap the many rewards of strength training!

Featured photo credit: 123RF via 123rf.com

Reference

More by this author

Candace Rhodes

Join Candace's course 7-Day Rapid Results at https://rhodestostrength.lpages.co/free-course/ which teaches you everything you need to get started for a weightlifting lifestyle to be toned and strong.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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