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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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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