Ladies! If you know me you know fitness is one of my passions! If you’re just meeting me through this blog now..well now you know. I’ve been strength training for years and I’ll admit it was a bit intimidating and uncomfortable in the beginning but once I saw and felt the benefits I never looked back! Looking back at photos from my “cardio queen” days to now, the biggest difference I see is more sculpted and toned muscles and a tighter overall feel rather than just being lean with zero shape or muscle definition.
Strength training doesn’t mean lifting huge heavy weights it simply means adding weight bearing resistance to your movements. Even body weight exercises like pushups are strength training. If you see a photo of a fitness model and think “damn she looks good!” I can promise you…she’s doing strength training!
I know you might have some doubts and reservations about strength training and lifting weights so let’s bust some myths.
Common Fears and Doubts Around Weight Training
1. It’s just for boys
The American College of Sports and Medicine recommends strength training a minimum 2 times per week and they don’t differentiate between sexes. Aka it’s suggested that both women and men strength training equally. Aka it’s not just for boys!
2. You’ll get bulky
Yes there are some incredibly jacked ladies out there but trust me, they worked long and hard for a lot of years with a very specific diet to put on that kind of muscle mass and that will not happen to you by accident! In fact it will likely be the complete opposite as muscle is more dense than fat. So 1 lb of muscle takes up less space than 1 lb of fat. The scale may not change but the size of your body can still shrink Interesting, right?!
3. You don’t know what you’re doing in the gym
Okay, this might be true, you might not know what you’re doing but it only takes a few weeks of practice to become a whiz in the gym! If you’re looking for help navigating the gym or finding a workout plan for you, I recommend downloading the My Transformation App. It will layout a program for you to follow and they have videos for each exercises if you are confused on what anything means! At $5 per month for the premium version it’s a lot more affordable than hiring a personal trainer. With that being said, I do think hiring a personal training for 4-5 classes to help get your bearings is a great plan as well if it’s in your budget. From there it’s just about following a strength training program, you guys know I love my EMOM workouts.
There are tons of reasons to incorporate weight training and it’s something my husband Sal and I both love to preach to others. We’re so passionate about overall health and lifting weights is non-negotiable!
Let’s dive into all the reasons to train this way.
Why Women Should Be Strength Training and Lifting Weights
1. Promotes Longevity
Lifting weights makes you live longer, simple as that. The leading causes of death are cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic diseases. Strength training reduces the risk of ALL of them. Improves the muscles ability to take sugar up and out of the blood stream in order to be processed.
2. Increases Bone Density
Over 60% of women will develop osteoporosis in their lifetime and over 80% of all people who are diagnosed with osteoporosis are women. After the age of about 20-25 our bone density decreases. There is almost no way to strengthen our bones after this point EXCEPT for with weight training! By bearing weight on the bone the (gentle) stress promotes the bones to remodel in a way that is more calcium dense.
3. Increases Metabolism
You’ve probably heard that certain foods increase your metabolism. Certain foods do promote digestion or appetite suppression but they only way to truly increase your metabolism is by building more muscle mass. Muscles require a lot of calories to maintain unlike fat. So the more muscle you have on your body the more calories you will burn on a day to day basis. Again, no you will not get bulky from this kind of training unless you are trying to.
4. Better Childbirth and Recovery
So long as your doctor OKs it exercise and strength training are safe and incredibly healthy to practice during pregnancy even into the third trimester for most women. A common fear is that lifting weights will result in being ‘muscle-bound’ or too rigid/stiff to expand and move comfortably. Trust me this only happens to the HUGE meat heads who are likely taking steroids and can’t put their arms down beside their bodies because their lats (back muscles) are so big. This will not happen to you beautiful pregnant Mama. Infact lifting weights will help you to be more mobile and thrive during pregnancy and labour! Not to mention recovery and ‘getting your body back’ will be a LOT easier. Trust me I had twins and I have a 6 pack to show for it 😉
5. Increase Brain Health and Body Image
Lifting weights, like other exercise, releases endorphins which make us feel energized and happier. On top of this working out generally promotes elevated body image, something I think we all need a little bit of every once in a while. I know for me personally, my workouts are a huge part of my mental well-being. It’s a quiet time for me to let everything else in my chaotic life go, focus on my body, maybe do some self-reflecting and just breathe. I ALWAYS feel a million times better after a good workout, and when I return to my daily activities my head is more clear and I’m ready to tackle the day.
If nothing else, move weight to keep your mind and body healthy not for weight loss or aesthetics. Weight lift to reduce your risk of disease, improve your brain health, and protect your joints! I hope I’ve convinced you to be brave and try this style of training! As always I post a DAILY workout here on my website which you can try at home or in the gym!