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Top 5 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

Written by Anagha

A long-standing member of the team, Anagha has won gold medals in powerlifting at national level competitions. After a freak accident caused a serious leg injury, she has been training hard to get back to her best while supporting others that have also gone through similar injuries, proving to them that they should never be defeated.

November 15, 2019

The weight room is generally not very popular with women due to various beliefs such as “lifting weights makes you bulky” or “women don’t need to squat and deadlift”, amongst other myths.

First of all, lifting weights will not make you bulky as women produce 7-9 times less testosterone than men.   Women who do look like bodybuilders or manly as some may perceive, look that way on purpose and have dedicated years to their respective sport along with using pharmaceutical assistance a.k.a steroids to achieve that level of muscularity. However, 99% of the women who lift won’t manage that so there’s no need to fear the weight-room. It does aid in giving you a sculpted physique along with a whole host of other benefits provided below.

 It helps you burn more fat

Muscle is more metabolically active tissue than fat. Weight training helps you build muscle.  The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn at rest. This will, in turn, help you burn more fat. You also damage more muscle fibres at the gym after lifting weights and your body requires calories to rebuild those fibres, hence you will end up burning more calories. A strength training session which is designed and executed effectively will increase your EPOC (excess- post-exercise-oxygen-consumption).  In other words, you burn calories up to 38 hours after your training session. Your metabolism stays elevated after training. On the other hand, If you use cardio alone as a means to burn fat, you stop burning calories immediately after you finish your cardio. 

Variation

Lifting weights adds far more variation in your training than cardio can. You can design training programs with varied rep ranges, exercises and rest periods based on whatever goals you have at the time. If your goal is to achieve a certain look you can pick and choose exercises which help you do so. For instance, if you choose to strength train to improve sports performance you can design a program to do so. The weight room provides a whole lot more exercises and exercise variations than cardio. This helps you train through various conditions.  You cannot really do much cardio if you break your leg, however, you can still train your upper body with weights, while manipulating your rep ranges and rest periods in an attempt to maintain your fitness levels. You can also stay fit while minimizing cardio (if you despise cardio as I do). 

Restores Insulin sensitivity

If you are insulin resistant, it would mean that your body does not use blood sugar efficiently. When this happens the body tends to store the food eaten as fat. You will also suffer from low energy levels as your muscle cells will not get the fuel they need, this would cause anyone a lot of grief. Weight training has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity. Glycogen (a type of glucose that gets stored in the muscles) gets burned during exercise.  The more glycogen is burned the more insulin sensitivity is improved. 

It makes you strong

Lifting weights increases both your physical strength and your mental strength. When designed and implemented effectively strength training makes your body durable than it otherwise would be. Lifting weights strengthens your bones and connective tissue (ligaments, tendons etc.) as well as your muscles. This makes you less likely to get injured while performing activities which you still enjoy. It is especially important for people who are in their thirties and older to lift in order to minimize muscle atrophy (muscle loss) that comes with age. Aside from this, you would be able to carry your groceries and luggage by yourself  (unless you have a billion things to transport). Along with an increase in physical strength, pushing through those intense weight training sessions especially grinding through your big lifts builds a lot of mental toughness and self-belief which is truly empowering. This also builds a lot of self-confidence in the long run. Talking from personal experience lifting weights truly helped me with my own issues with self-worth and self-esteem.

Better sex

Got your attention yet??? If the other factors didn’t provide you with enough incentive then this one definitely would be. When done right, strength training increases the level of growth hormone which in turn contributes to spikes in testosterone which would result in increased libido. When combined with good nutrition, lifting weights make you look better naked. The combination of the release of endorphins, improved self-confidence and increased fitness levels would help you for sure.

References

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/strength-training-for-fat-loss-building-a-bigger-engine.html

https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/treatment-approaches/increasing-insulin-sensitivity/

https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2016/ladies-lifting-heavy-wont-make-you-bulk-up

https://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1411/Five_Ways_Lifting_Weights_Improves_Fat_Loss.aspx

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