I was never a huge fan of weight lifting. I was a cardio girl all the way. I could spend every day either taking a dance class or on the elliptical.
I was worried I would “bulk up” or that muscles wouldn’t look good on me. It wasn’t until I had Q. that I decided I needed to start lifting so that I could build some stamina to keep up with my girls, and burn some of that excess pregnancy fat that decided to hang on.
In this post I’ll discuss the top reasons why women should lift weight and why it won’t make us look “bulky” like most of us are afraid of.
10 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights
1. Burn More Fat
When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and you continue to burn fat for several hours after working out. During regular cardio exercise, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.
This effect is called the “after burn.” Basically, muscles require more calories to work and heal themselves, therefor you burn more through out the day.
2. Change Your Body Shape
You may think your genes determine how you look. That’s not necessarily true. Weight training can slim you down, create new curves, and help avoid the “middle-age spread.”
So, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do. If you keep your diet clean and create a calorie deficit, you’ll burn fat.
3. Boost Your Metabolism
The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss.
Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
4. Get Stronger and More Confident
Lifting weights increase functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier.
Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence. And I don’t know about you ladies, but I could always use more confidence.
5. Build Strong Bones
Women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight.
Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.
6. Improve Mood
You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help improve mood; weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training.
Personally, I usually feel BETTER on weight lifting days than on just cardio days. I find that I get a sense of accomplishment when I lift heavy and know that I’ve done something AMAZING for my body.
7. Improve Sports Fitness
You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s bicycling with the family, swimming, golfing, skiing, or just running after kids.
8. Reduce Injuries
Weightlifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life.
This is so important for us as Moms since our joints tend to stretch during pregnancy. Lifting weights with proper form can help tighten them back up so that our bodies can function properly.
9. Get Heart Healthy
More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping.
Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. People who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23% reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.
10. Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23%.
16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood.
But I Don’t Want to BULK UP
First and foremost, women do not have nearly enough testosterone in their bodies to ‘bulk up’. In fact, the average female has about 15-20 times less testosterone than men do.
Testosterone aids in muscle building. Since men have more of this hormone, they build muscle at a quicker and easier rate than women do. Just as women do not have the same amount of body hair or the same Adam’s apple as men, they do not have the same amount of testosterone to “bulk”.
Gaining muscle mass comes from a combination of heavyweight training and excess in calories. If you perform resistance training one to three days per week and you’re not eating more calories than you expend in a day, you probably won’t see a ton of muscle growth, however, you will gain LEAN muscles which will aid in a sleeker, healthier version of YOU!!
My Favorite Weight Lifting Programs
With all that said above, I wanted to share some of my favorite weight lifting programs.
- The Masters Hammer and Chisel
- 80 Day Obsession
- 21 Day Fix (Perfect for beginners)
If you are interested in trying any of these programs, I run monthly challenge groups to help support you not only with the workouts but the nutrition aspect as well.
If you’d like me to be your coach, it should show Mara Moreland as your coach. If not, use the Coach ID lookup tool using the number 1095778
Apply for a spot in my next challenge group
Once you apply, I will be in contact to help you figure out the right nutrition and workout program for you and your personal goals.