Weights & Women

We all want to look and feel great about ourselves and we all should! Right? When we feel great, our self-esteem is higher, we have a little more spring in our step and we overall treat each other better. Haven’t you noticed when you aren’t feeling the best, you tend to bring others down? If not, kudos! I know that’s how I operated.

For decades, women’s fitness magazines dedicated their articles to cardio, “weight-loss” tips, yoga, and perhaps very little strength training. I’m not knocking these as these are great tips, but we shouldn’t overlook a crucial section in the gym JUST because we are women. I’m talking about the dumbbells, barbels, squat racks, squat press, hack squats, etc ladies. These are FOR you too! Here are a few reasons why!

 

Bone Health: 

Studies show strength training over time helps prevent bone loss and may even build new bone. Strong muscles help retain balance and coordination which is crucial in preventing falls.

“We lose so much muscle as we age that by the time we’re 70, we only have about 50% to 55% of our muscle mass left,” says Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and director of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “That explains why we feel weak and tired as we age, and we can prevent some of that with weight training.”

More Fat Loss:

When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle. (Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/weight-exercises-women)

Burn Calories Burn:

Let’s not kid ourselves, the majority of us is after EPOCs. What is that?

E(xcess) P(ost-exercise) O(xygen) C(onsumption) – how long your metabolism is elevated after a workout to burn fat AFTER a workout.

Each time you lift weights, more calories are burned since your muscles need to repair themselves. “In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift.” – (Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/weight-exercises-women)

Additionally, a 2003 review from Norway found that lifting heavier weights (work up to at least 15 lb or higher IMO) moreso than moderate weights (10-ish lb IMO) created a longer EPOC. So as long as you finish your workout with great form to prevent injury, you should always use heavier weights.

Looking Better (for yourself):

Dislike flab? Feeling fluffy? We’ve all been there. Hitting the weights hard (I’ll post my routines in another post) will decrease your overall body fat percentage and add muscle! Don’t be afraid of the work muscle! That’s what people really mean when they say toned.

MUSCLE=TONED/TONING UP

I noticed my body as a whole looking so much better when I really started lifting heavy. You will not get bulky unless you dedicate years of hard-core workouts, meal plans and even a few supplements. What will happen if you stick with it is a leaner, more muscular (not bulky) you! Give it three months, that’s all it takes to notice changes!

Mood Improvement:

It’s not question that working out elevates your mood. It releases a chemical in your brain called endorphins. Studies even suggest it could help with depression. In fact, an Australian study found that people who three strength workouts a week, reported an 18% drop in depression after 10 weeks. Exercise also reduced cortisol – the stress hormone and it can relieve anxiety.

The main reason why I began really hitting the weights hard was to cope with my depression. I wasn’t happy about my life or where it seemed to be headed. I was basically unemployed and not really into doing a whole lot. I worked out every single day. Sometimes I even worked out twice. It made me feel normal and it helped with my mood. The feeling I got during was addictive. Even to this day, it helps with my mood. Who knows what would have happened to me had I not at least tried it! I will go as far to say that lifting saved my life.

So now you know a few benefits to [heavy] weight training. The key is to be consistent and have fun doing it! Don’t be intimated by all the “pros” at the gym. We all were at the beginner point. I remember people correcting me EACH time I went to workout. Don’t take yourself so seriously (like I did) and watch your body and mind transform!

Weightlifting Transformation

I did not look bad before. I did have body issues however. These photos are about 2.5 years apart with the “recent” photo being taken a few months ago.

 

Have you experienced other benefits with heavy lifting that I didn’t list?

 

 

 

 

 

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