I’ve heard over and over from many female clients of mine that they stay away from weight lifting in fear of getting bulky and not toned. Well, I’m here to clear up those rumors and tell you why 80% of my workouts involve ONLY lifting! Among many reasons, here are just five reasons why it’s important for women especially to include lifting in their workout routine.
1. Women aren’t genetically made to be bulky
Women simply don’t have the genetic makeup to become what we consider “bulky”. Testosterone is the hormone that’s responsible for most of the bulk that we see in men, and women naturally don’t have large amounts of this in their bodies. What lifting can do for us women is improve our bone mass density, endurance, strength, and connective tissue. This is especially importance since women are more prone to osteoporosis the older we get. We need to keep those bones healthy and strong!
2. More muscle = more burn
Muscle cells burn many more calories in a day than fat cells do. Approximately 10 pounds of muscle burns 50 calories per hour at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories at rest. That can be up to 450 extra calories burned a day, doing nothing! Not to mention the body has more than 650 muscles; imagine the calorie burn on that one! Also remember that muscles are burning calories 24 hours a day, so the more muscle, the more your body will work for you, not against you.
3. You’ll sleep like a baby!
When your muscles work all day, like I mentioned, you tend to sleep better. Lifting weights takes energy, and stimulates your muscles to work all day, rather than just in the time you’re working out. The constant burning of energy all day will ultimately have you getting better rest and sleep at night. Another important point is when you don’t get enough sleep, our appetite-regulating hormone (leptin) levels fall, promoting an increase in appetite.
4. NO DIETING ALLOWED
This point goes along with the idea of how many calories your muscles burn on any given day. When your body is constantly working, you NEED to make sure you replenish with plenty of new and improved calories. I can’t stress this enough!! If you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode. Your muscle will start to be used as fuel, and you’ll end up with sarcopenia (muscle wasting). Just be sure you eat plenty of lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats at every meal!
5. Keeps those bones and heart healthy
When you perform a load-bearing activity, i.e. weight lifting, the pressure put on the bones actually makes them stronger. It creates an environment for the bones to build themselves up. Also, lifting will raise that heart rate, which in the long-run will provide your heart to grow stronger. Our heart is a muscle after all, so we need to keep it lean!
6. It’s the ultimate stress reliever
Any physical activity is a good stress reliever, but lifting is like an all-in-one deal. Not only do you release endorphins that make you feel good, but keeping with a good lifting routine, you’ll look good too! When you’re lifting, you’re concentrating on something other than the stressful day you’ve had at work. You’ll feel more confident, relaxed, and in control of your life. It’s also been shown that lifting helps ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Don’t be afraid to use those crazy looking machines at the gym. If you don’t know where to start, ask the front desk. Most gyms have personal trainers that can show you the way. Don’t be afraid to ask and try something different. Even if you just try 3 new machines, that’s an awesome accomplishment! Lifting will help make you stronger, feel better, look better, and eat without having to count and track your calories so closely. Cardio is still an important aspect of health, but shouldn’t be the only part of your workout routine. So get out there and try a couple new things. The only way to change your body is to change the way you train it!