I’ve been interested in working out for a good chunk of my life. But my idea of fitness was a crapload of cardio.
Walking, biking (couldn’t jump on the running train), cardio DVD’s. I’d do lots and lots of cardio, thinking I’m earning the most bangin’ body, aaand it never came.
Well dang. I was about to hire a photographer for a fitness photoshoot.
But I did so much cardio? After all, cardio IS what burns fat right?
Yes, it does. But it also burns muscle.
And no, I’m not trying to diss cardio. Cardio is great for your body. It can also be a great addition to a weightlifting routine, if done correctly, such as HIIT workouts. You don’t want to lose dem gainz.
New to the gym? Check out the beginners guide to the gym!
Cardio burns calories. A calorie is a measure of energy. You need energy to do cardio. Your body takes energy stores from fat. If you do cardio for too long or do it too often, your body will use up some muscle as energy too, unfortunately.
Treadmills are great. Ellipticals are great. Stairmasters are great. (And that’s my favorite piece of cardio equipment!) But an hour a day spent on one of them? Not so great. Don’t you want to get even more back from your fitness routine? You’re working so hard, and you deserve to look and feel great.
From cardio bunny to iron maiden, here’s why women should lift weights.
Improves bone density.
If you’re young, you’re probably not thinking about bone disease just yet. But you should. Women are more prone to diseases like osteoporosis, which makes bones weak and brittle. Lifting weights can prevent that. I bet you’re thinking, “But wouldn’t all the strain on our bones do the opposite?”
Actually no, as long as you’re using proper form.
Preventing bone disease is something that women need to start thinking about as early as twenty-something. Lifting weights will improve your bone density in a similar way you build muscle. From tension and stress. When you strength train, you’re forcing your muscles to pull on your bones. In return, your bones will create more mass.
I love lifting weights for fat loss. The act of lifting weights itself does not actually burn more fat than cardio, but in the long run it will. When you lift, you build muscle. And I’m not talking about 2lb dumbbells either, don’t make it too easy on yourself.
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. And the higher your metabolism, the more fat you burn. So why not give your metabolism a boost instead of doing the opposite?
Another thing, after your lifting session, your muscles have a higher oxygen consumption, EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This means that your body has to pretty much return to its normal state after working so hard. So if your body is STILL working hard, what do you think that means? Yep! You’re getting a boost in your metabolism that can last up to 38 hours!
If I’ve had a rough day, I’ll gripe about life and make my trek to the gym, even though I want to take an unplanned rest day. I’ve had a bad day, I just want to sit at home!
But I’ve been working out long enough to know that lifting weights is a huge stress reliever. When I get to the gym and pick up that barbell, I forget about why my day sucked. I do what I came to do and leave feeling a million times better.
Lifting weights releases endorphins, the feel good hormones. And lot’s of em! This is especially true when I hit a new personal record in the gym. I feel so strong and like a feminine beast!
Remember the movie “Legally Blonde”?
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t just shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
Don’t shoot your husband, get your butt to the gym.
Supports healthy heart & brain
You know that cardio can improve your heart health, but did you know that lifting weights can too? Lifting can lower your blood pressure in the long term, although during a lifting session, it will rise temporarily because of the strenuous physical activity.
As I mentioned earlier, lifting weights can help you lose fat from all over the body including the abdominal area. Having a significant amount of belly fat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Weightlifting just two or three times a week has also been shown to boost memory and slow the development of age related lesions on the brain.
Stay healthy, lift weights.
Gives an hourglass shape
Muscles shape your body. Not lack of fat. If you’re only doing cardio you’re losing fat and muscle. And if you lose muscle, your body won’t have much of a shape, to it, if any. You’ll look skinny fat. Skinny fat is when you have too much fat and not enough muscle. It makes you look unbalanced and definitely not like you eat healthy and exercise regularly. All that work to just look the same? Hardly seems worth it to me.
This is why many women abandon fitness. Because they’re not getting the results they want. They spend hours on the elliptical and wonder why they look the same. If you want to add shape and curves to your body, lifting weights is the way to go.
A combination of weightlifting and cardio is all you need to get the body you want
Improved quality of life
Lifting weights can help you fall asleep easier and improve your sleep. We all are aware how important sleep is when it comes to living a healthy life. It’s pretty simple.. You work hard, you sleep better.
Your energy levels will increase thanks to lifting weights. Lifting improves circulation, which helps more oxygen get to different muscles and tissues and in return, will increase energy levels. Plus, better sleep will also help contribute to more energy during the day.
You’ll be more confident and stronger. Ever come home with a trunk full of groceries and hate having to make multiple trips to unload it? How does one trip sound? Pretty good, huh? “Yeah that’s right, I can handle it all in one trip.”
Being strong makes you feel more confident. It’s not always necessarily how you look.
You’re not gonna look like a man.
Lifting weights will NOT make women bulky or big. It does the opposite.
Women do not have the required amount of testosterone in their bodies to build muscle like men do. Yes, women can get bulky. But those women are likely trying to.
Putting on insane amounts of muscle isn’t easy. It takes a lot of discipline and dedication. It doesn’t just happen when you pick up some 5 or 10 pound dumbbells.
You’ve also probably seen female bodybuilders. Some of them are huge! But they also take a ton of testosterone and likely steroids. Women naturally getting massive muscles from lifting isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s just not.
So don’t be afraid to pick up some weights. Strength training will hugely benefit your health and your body. Give it a month or two and you will see and feel a difference.