There has long been a stigma against women weight training. So many women stick to cardiovascular exercise for their workout routines from fear of getting too muscular. There is so much false information in the world of fitness that it can be difficult to separate the truth from the bologna. It’s time to break the stereotype of weight training being for the guys! Keep reading to find out why women should weight train.
It creates curves not bulk
Let’s address the biggest misconception first to get it out of the way. Many women avoid weight lifting because they fear they’ll gain bulky muscles. This simply isn’t true. The estrogen women’s body produces makes it very difficult to gain bulky muscle mass. As a woman, you won’t accidently get bulky. Gaining bigger muscle mass is something some women strive to do and they‘ll be the first to tell you, it isn’t easy.
When women lift weights it tends to produce lean muscle. Lean muscle makes the body look smaller, curvier, and toned. Cardiovascular workouts actually have the adverse effect. Cardio burns both fat and muscle. It’s a great workout for losing weight, but eventually, the body will start to lose those feminine curves.
It’s better at burning fat
Weight lifting is far more effective in burning fat than cardiovascular exercise. The reason for this is weight lifting burns far more calories during and post-workout that cardio does. After a weight training session, your body’s intake of oxygen increases for hours, sometimes days, after the workout is done. This event is referred to as EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. The greater the level of EPOC you reach the more calories you burn during periods of rest.
What this means is that your body will continue to burn fat even after your workout. How great is that? Cardiovascular exercise is still beneficial and will help you lose weight, but weight training will help you reach those goals quicker.
Improves quality of sleep
A large number of adults suffer from bad sleep. A number of things cause poor sleep, but weight training can help rectify those causes and get you back to well-rested nights. Studies have shown that those who regularly weight train are able to fall asleep faster and wake up less throughout the night. Any type of exercise improves sleep, but weight training specifically shows drastic improvements of sleep quality.
Weight training will increase your energy and make you less dependent on those extra cups of coffee to get you through the day. As I mentioned above, weight training improves your quality of sleep. This is a domino effect. Better sleep means more energy while you’re awake.
Weight training builds lean muscle mass, which burns more calories a day than not having lean muscle mass. More burned calories mean you can, and should, eat more. You get energy from food, so the more healthy food you’re able to eat the more energy you’re able to get from it. This doesn’t mean you can lift weights and then go crazy on food. It’s important to balance the calories burned with calories consumed.
It’s good for your heart
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by weight training. Studies have shown that those who did weight training one day showed lower blood pressure and resting heartbeat the following day. Weight training gets your heart pumping hard without over-exerting it. The heart is an organ that is made up of muscles and those muscles must be worked just like any other muscle in your body. Regular weight training allows the muscles around your heart to work in order to stay healthy and function properly. Weight training was approved as a recommended exercise for those at risk of heart disease.
It’s healthy for your bones
Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of losing bone and muscle mass. This is why osteoporosis is so common in older women. A great way to combat these effects is to start weight training. Weight training increases muscle and bone mass, therefore reversing those effects. The increase in bone mass will also make you less susceptible to broken bones. Keep your body healthy with strong bones by weight training.
It relieves stress
It’s no secret that working out relieves stress. Just looking at all the other benefits weight training has to offer makes me feel less stressed. Lifting weights releases endorphins into your body making you feel happier and less stressed. Just the act of exerting yourself can help you focus on the task at hand instead of the things that are causing you stress. That time out of your own head can help you clear your mind and come back to see your problems from a different light.
Research has been done to show that people who weight train regularly are better able to handle stress and even show less adverse effects of stress. It’s also been proven that adults who weight train show improvements in memory and cognitive function. It could just be me, but half of my stress is a direct result of forgetfulness and lack of focus.
Weight training has so many wonderful benefits. This form of exercise is not just for men, as so many effects are directly beneficial to women. You can improve many aspects of your life by giving those weights a try. Next time you visit the gym dare to cross that boundary from treadmill to weight bench.