Advertising
Advertising

6 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

6 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

It puzzles me why so few active women strength train: the benefits of weight training for fat loss far outweigh those of cardio.

Think you’re going to get big and bulky? Think again. You might be surprised to learn that lifting weights is the most efficient way to quickly gain the lean physique you are after.

The negative prejudice towards lifting weights is an all too common mis-belief that is holding women back in achieving their fitness goals. As a trainer and coach, I spend a lot of time convincing female clients to ditch the treadmill and get in the squat rack. After all, my job is to make people lean, strong and sexy in the shortest amount of time possible.

Slow Cardio Is Making You Fatter And Weaker

Let’s say you run for an hour on the treadmill and burn 300 calories. That’s less than one “healthy” muffin at Starbucks. Run for just 11 more hours, and you’ll burn a pound of fat!

On top of the minimum calorie burning that takes place during that long, slow, and boring cardio session, you can also bet that your body used some of your lean muscle for energy.

The less lean muscle you have on your body, the more fat your body will store, and the harder it will be to lose weight, or even maintain a weight you’re happy with.

Advertising

And to make it worse – your fat loss hormones are virtually unaffected by traditional cardio. You’ll experience no prolonged metabolic benefit, which means, the minimal calorie burning you spent so much time on stops shortly after you step off the treadmill.

You’ll end up slaving away for the bare minimum of results.

A much better alternative to traditional cardio, is High Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT for short. HIIT is a method of cardio during which you alternate periods of intense work (like sprinting), with periods of rest. For example, run hard for 30 seconds, walk for 60, and repeat about eight times.

Training like this taps into your fat cells and burns more calories, keeps your metabolism elevated longer, and is much more time efficient. One study showed that HIIT was nine times more effective at burning fat than traditional cardio.

HIIT is much more effective for fat loss than traditional cardio, but not quite as effective as weight lifting.

You’ll Burn A Lot More Fat

In one study on over 700 females, lifting weights for just 25 minutes three times per week led to the gain of nearly two pounds of muscle, and the loss of four pounds of fat. If you’re familiar with how physiques work, then you know that is a radical change in appearance!

Advertising

Now, picking up heavy things burns a respectable amount of calories on it’s own. No doubt about that. But that’s not why lifting weights is so effective for burning fat.

When you lift something heavy, you’re setting your body up for metabolic reactions that allow you to utilize nutrients better (like ice-cream), and continue burning calories for up to 36 hours after your workout.

There’s this thing called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It controls how many calories your body burns while you rest. As you gain more muscle, you increase your BMR, along with how much you can eat and still stay lean.

The more lean muscle on your body, the less body fat you will store, and the harder it will be to gain weight.

You Wont Know What To Do With Your Free Time

All you need is a 30-60 minute lifting session about three times a week to start seeing great results in as little as two weeks.

I like to reinforce this efficiency mindset with all of my trainees:

Advertising

Get In. Work Hard. Get Out.

You’ll have more time to spend with your favorite people, and to do your favorite things.

You’ll Get Stronger And Feel Awesome

Studies show that moderate weight training can more than double a woman’s strength. I’ve had a female trainee get 400% stronger in about 30 days. When we started, she could barely do two push ups, less than a month later, she was banging out sets of eight push ups. It was awesome.

When you’re stronger, daily tasks like groceries, lifting children, and pushing that creep at the club off of you become much easier, and enjoyable.

And along with the sense of pride that comes with finishing a challenging workout and beating a personal record (it’s super easy to track your progress with weights), your body will reward you with a dose of euphoric chemicals called endorphins. These affect us like powerful drugs, but without the nasty side effects. I’m sure you’ve heard about the runner’s high, but have you ever tried the lifter’s high? It’s much easier and faster to achieve. The more intense your workout, the higher you’ll get.

You Will Not Get Big Or Bulky

At this point you’re probably thinking everything sounds amazing, but have this little voice in your head telling you that you’re going to get big or bulky.

Advertising

I hear this way too many times. It’s simply a mis-belief that is holding you back from seeing results you love in a short period of time. Unless, of course, you’re training like a monster, consuming a massive amount of calories, and injecting yourself with synthetic hormones.

Let me break it down for you. Hormones, such as testosterone, are responsible for muscle growth. Women have anywhere from 10-30 times less testosterone than men.

Now, there is an extremely small sample of women that do, in fact, build bigger muscles from lifting weights. This is a very small group, and I’ve never worked with anyone that falls into this category. But even in that case, as soon as you notice irregular muscle growth, you stop and change your routine.

Simply lifting something heavy does not mean you’re going to build muscles overnight. Hell, even guys that are doing everything in their power to build muscle are struggling!

You Will Develop Nice Assets

The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in your body. The shape of your glutes are influenced by muscular development.

When it comes to building size in your glutes, there is no substitute for a deep, heavy squat. This will also help rid you of cellulite, while “firming” and “toning” your legs in the process. You’ll also strengthen your lower back and help prevent back injuries that are all too common as we age.

There is nothing more enchanting than seeing a woman commanding a respectable amount of weight at the gym. It’s effective. It’s empowering. It’s dang sexy! Don’t be afraid to give it a go.

More by this author

3 Reasons To Workout Today The 4 Biggest Fat Loss Myths Around Today 6 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Trending in Fitness

1 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day 2 8 Wonderful Weight Loss Tracker Apps: Achieve Your Fitness Goals Fast 3 Why You’re Struggling to Lose Weight (And How to Fix It) 4 12 Best Back Strengthening Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain 5 11 Partner Yoga Poses for Couples to Build Intimacy

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

Advertising

2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

Advertising

Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

ablab

    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

    Advertising

    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

    Advertising

    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next