I recently had a tita of mine tell me to stop lifting weights because I looked “bulky”. Comments like these often evolved into further statements such as “you’re getting too muscular” or “weight training is not very ladylike”.
Suggestions like these have led me to believe that there’s still a prevalent stigma around lifting weights, especially pertaining to women. There’s a common misconception that women lifting weights is either not feminine, or that it’s all around bad for you. That couldn’t be more of a lie.
In fact, there’s a slew of benefits that comes with weight training. The following are my top ones!
1. You Will Lose Fat
It’s quite straightforward—muscle fights fat. And weight training helps you build and strengthen your muscles. Studies have found that the average woman who lifts weights two to three times a week for two months will gain an average of two pounds of muscle and will lose an average of 3.5 pounds of fat. As your lean muscle increases, so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long.
2. You Will Become Physically Stronger
Lifting lighter weights for more reps is great for building muscle endurance, but if you want to increase your strength, increasing your weight is key. If you consistently weight train two to three times a week, you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll build strength. Even better, you’ll see that translate in everyday activities. Carrying groceries, pushing open a heavy door, and even hoisting a child in the air will become easier—you’ll feel like an everyday superhero!
3. You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk
Unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from weight training. Women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones as compared to men that is required for a drastic increase in muscle size. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition, and this is an awesome bonus. So, for the titas out there who think lifting weights will make your nieces overly rippled with large muscles, be rest assured that this is not true.
4. You Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis
As you age, you naturally lose muscle and bone mass. This is of serious concern for women, whose bones are smaller to begin with and can become dangerously weakened by age. Lifting weights can actually help fight this, since weight training can increase spinal bone density. This, along with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a woman’s best defense against osteoporosis.
5. You Will Prevent Diseases
According to studies, lifting weights for just less than an hour a week may reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent. In addition to staving off cardiovascular disease, weightlifting has also been discovered to prevent high cholesterol and diabetes. These are ranked among the top causes of death in the world. Imagine if we could get everyone to lift some weights?
6. You Will improve Your Mental Health
You will feel stronger and more confident—two very essential traits of a resilient and steadfast mind. Just like any form of exercise, weight training can enhance your mood by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increase in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety.
When I first seriously started committing to a highly-active lifestyle back in 2013, I ran marathons and was under the impression that the only way I could stay lean and fit was through cardio. Boy, was I wrong. Although cardio has its own list of benefits, nothing has transformed my mind and body quite like weight training has. Not only am I in the best shape of my life at 33 years old, but I also find myself happier with my lifestyle and my mind even sharper. I don’t regret running marathons, and I still find joy in occasionally competing in obstacle competitions—think American Ninja Warrior. But as for my life-long, sustainable routine, you’ll find me at the gym lifting weights on a regular basis. Can you blame me with all those great advantages?!