Embrace the iron - six reasons why women should lift weights - from Gym & Fitness Magazine
A quarter of a century ago, no female dared to enter the male domain of weight lifting. Most women were often confined to fluffy aerobics or dance classes as they were deemed too weak to take on any iron. Nowadays, more and more women are exploring the weights room and trying out different weight exercises to improve their health and physique.
Despite numerous studies on the benefits of strength training, many women hesitate to pick up a barbell because they are worried about “bulking up”. Weightlifting is usually associated with muscled, sweat-drenched men grunting it out in the gym and if a woman so much as picks up a barbell, she will automatically start to resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But surprise, surprise! Contrary to what many people may think, women who lift do not become muscleheads. Women just aren’t genetically built to get body-builder huge. Strength training doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary. The benefits are numerous—women who do lift have been able to gain that lean, toned body that a lot of women who just do cardio can only dream of. It’s also the best way to blast fat, get in shape, even increase life expectancy—plus, it’s the single most effective way to look hot in a swimsuit.
We’ve listed six awesome reasons why you should become best friends with the iron:
1. YOU’LL BURN MORE FAT AND INCREASE YOUR METABOLISM
As women get older, their metabolism starts slowing down and they naturally start losing muscle mass and start gaining fat in areas that are so difficult to remove. But did you know that by lifting weights, you get to kick-start your metabolism? A revved up metabolism means a bigger chance to torch those fats.
Latching onto a barbell already burns a good amount of calories but that’s not the main reason why lifting weights is so effective in burning fat. When you lift, you also increase your resting metabolism rate—which in turn helps you burn more calories in a day, even if you’re sitting down and doing nothing!
2. YOU’LL SCULPT MORE CURVES
Most females think that the best way to shape their bodies is by doing cardio. A lot of women don’t pump iron because all they want to do is “tone” their muscles. The idea that cardio is enough to tone your muscles is just wrong. Toning muscles involves a combination of gaining muscle mass and reducing body fat. Yes, a cardio workout will help melt fat but it also burns muscle as well. This is the reason why a lot of women who do cardio are unable to achieve the shape that they want.
On the other hand, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat and creates the curves and that nice hourglass shape you’ve always dreamt of. Even your glutes are influenced by muscle building. Nothing can compare to a deep, heavy squat that is only achievable by strength training. If you want to bring out your curves, lift.
3. YOU’LL FIT INTO THOSE DREAM JEANS
Adding on to the first two reasons, research shows that one pound of fat takes up 18 per cent more space than a pound of muscle. So even if your weight goes up because of muscle mass, your dress size will definitely go down one or two sizes. Women worry that they’ll grow bulky lifting iron but in reality, unless you’re training like a beast, adding testosterone to your body and practically living and eating in the weight room, lifting something heavy will not build muscles like the Hulk. Heck, even guys who are keen on building their bodies to humongous proportions have a hard time! What you will develop though, is muscle tone and definition and of course the chance to fit into those skinny jeans you’ve had your eyes on for some time.
4. YOU’LL HAVE MORE ENERGY AND HAVE A BETTER MOOD
Isn’t it every working woman’s dream to have more energy to do more things in a day? Well, weight training actually helps release feel-good hormones called endorphins which helps in enhancing vitality and energy. Pumping iron also delivers more oxygen to your cardiovascular system thus giving you more endurance to cope with the daily grind.
One thing that is so great about strength training is that you become stronger not only physically but mentally as well. According to Jen Sinkler, an Olympic lifting coach, “Strength has a funny way of bleeding into all areas of your life, in the gym and out”. So if you find yourself stressed out, go take it out on those weights. Ask any gym junkie and they will tell you that lifting can be very therapeutic.
5. YOU’LL BUILD STRONGER BONES
Studies show that lifting weights regularly can increase bone density. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects a majority of people, especially women who are past menopause. Women in their 20’s or 30’s may not worry about this yet but as you get older, you start losing not only muscle but bone mass as well. Why wait for this to happen when you can start lifting to maintain and even increase your bone mass. When an exercise is performed using weights, your muscles tug on your bones and these bones cope by creating new bone cells. Who wouldn’t want strong bones and a banging body at the age of 60, right?
6. YOU’LL IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL HEALTH
Reducing age-related muscle loss by pumping iron isn’t only good for your physique, it can also help ward off type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, arthritis and even improve the quality of your sleep and mental health. That’s a handful of good things just by lifting weights. Your body is able to process sugar better, keep your heart pumping better, keep your metabolism rolling and help make life more special. Imagine being able to carry your own groceries, run up an extra flight of stairs without difficulty or even picking up your baby without breaking a sweat.
I could go on and on about the benefits of lifting weights but to sum all this up, there really is nothing better than seeing a woman latching onto a barbell or dumbbell in the gym. It’s sexy and empowering. Lifting heavy weights build strength AND self-esteem. It’s one of the smartest things you can do for your body. You not only turn it into an efficient fat-burning machine, but you also become more secure in who you are as a woman.
So ladies, shatter the myth that lifting is only for men, go and experience the phenomenal benefits of weight lifting and enjoy a sexier, leaner and a better you.
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