“But strength training will make me bulky.”
No. Strength training will not make you bulky unless you specifically train and eat to gain muscle mass. Everyday strength training will not turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stop using that as an excuse.
Strength training will make you bulky is one of the most common myths I hear on the gym floor. Ladies, it’s 100% a myth. Strength training is probably the best thing you can do for your body other than eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Let’s look at eight reasons why women need to strength train.
1. You get stronger
Lifting weights will make you stronger not bigger. But look at all those female bodybuilders? Yes, women can get bulky from lifting weights, but those female bodybuilders are purposely training, eating, and taking supplements to look that that. Plus, women don’t have nearly as much testosterone as men to make them bulky.
Have you ever wanted to carry your 8-year-old child up the stairs without panting or stopping to put him down after the second stair? Strength training can help you get to the top of the stairs! You’ll be able to pick up heavy objects (including kids and pets!). And, you’ll look toned and leaner.
2. You lose body fat
Strength training gives you the biggest bang for your buck. As you lift weights you start to gain lean muscle. As your lean muscle mass increases throughout your body so does your resting metabolism. Translation – you burn more calories throughout the day even when you’re in front of the tv watching the latest episode of Scandal! Fitness professionals generally agree that for every pound of muscle you gain, you can burn between 35 and 50 more calories a day.
3. You decrease your risk of osteoporosis
As you begin to age your risk of osteoporosis starts to increase. Numerous research studies have found that weight training can increase bone mineral density and ultimately reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Of course, you should also be consuming an adequate amount of calcium in your diet too.
4. Your metabolism increases
As you gain more muscle mass your resting metabolism increases. Your muscle fibers are full of these like things called mitochondria. Think of them as your muscle’s furnace. As you muscle mass increases so does the number of mitochondria. The more furnaces you have, the more wood, or calories, in this case, you can burn throughout the day – even while you sleep!
5. You reduce your risk of injury
While strength training primarily builds muscle tissue, it also builds and strengthens connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. Both ligaments and tendons are important for joint stability. Strong joints can help prevent injuries.
Strength training is very important for female athletes. Female athletes are more prone to joint injuries, especially ACL injuries, due to their body shape. Stronger muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones all mean less chance of injury.
6. You relieve stress and improve mental health
Ever had a bad day at work? Strength training is a great stress reliever! You can lift heavy stuff, throw it around, and grunt out all that negativity. No one will even blink an eye! Exercise releases endorphins that can help improve your mood and decrease your stress. Numerous other studies indicate that regular exercise can also reduce anxiety and depression.
7. You lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes
Just being active reduces your risk of a multiple of chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Cardio exercise is definitely the best for getting the heart pumping, but a 2010 study indicated that resistance exercise could offer greater benefits from increased blood flow to active muscles. Experts recommend combining the two for the best chance of reducing your risk of heart disease.
Strength training is a great way to help control blood sugar levels. When you lift weights your muscles use glucose from your bloodstream as fuel to power them. Strength training also promotes weight loss, which is an important goal for many diabetics or those looking to reduce their chances of developing diabetes.
8. You become a badass
Strength training makes you a total badass. Not only will you be able to lift heavy objects, you’ll be toned and more confident. Weight training often scares women because they think they can’t do it. We’re too often told that we’re small, weak, and delicate. I say hogwash! You should be able to twist off the lid to the pickles jar without your husband’s help. Once you start lifting weights and doing push-ups you know you are stronger than you think you are. Weight training makes you strong both physically and mentally. And that makes you a badass.
So ladies, it’s time to put those excuses to the side and start strength training. There are just too many benefits not to pick up a weight or do a push-up. Become the healthiest, strongest, and most badass version of yourself today.