I know, that sounds scary. As women (at least for me and most of my beginner female fit friends) strength training, especially lifting heavy free weights, can be pretty intimidating. The myth that women will get too big and bulky by weight training has kept a lot of us stuck in the cardio classes or chugging away on the treadmills and out of the weight room for too long. While those are still great forms of exercise, strength training is too. And very important!
Strength training can..
- Help lose body fat
- Strengthen bone density and decrease chance of osteoporosis
- Help avoid heart disease and diabetes
- Lower risk of injury to joints
- Make you stronger and more confident
Strength training makes you strong. Whether its carrying around your kids, lugging the giant bag of dog food in the house on your own, or carrying ALL the grocery bags in at one time because two trips from the car to the house isn’t an option, being able to do it all feels really good. You want to have the strength to carry out all those normal real life activities. Also, being strong just feels cool.
Getting that ‘toned’ look… Being a cardio bunny can only get you so far. First, to get the lean, toned look you want you have to lose body fat so you can see the lean muscle strength training gives you. Cardio alone wont give you the toned look you want.
Calorie burn. This one was hard for me to come to terms with for a while. During a cardio session (think steady state, not HIIT sprints) you will probably burn more calories DURING the workout than you will weight training for the same amount of time (again, intensity could change that). The big difference in calorie burning is the EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) also known as the ‘after burn’. Heavy weight training and high intensity workouts will rev up your metabolism which keeps your body burning more calories during rest after your workout is over vs a more lower intensity, steady workout.
Health benefits of strength training may be the most important part. As women we are at risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. The American Heart Association encourages strength training for those at risk of heart disease. Moderate intensity strength training not only helps you build muscle but also gets your heart rate up and keeps it up. It’s builds strength and endurance which are all good things. As far as bones go, as you age you lose bone density. Especially after menopause. Strength training increases bone density and, along with a calcium supplement, can help prevent osteoporosis.
Now that I’ve gone on about how amazing lifting weights can be for you I’ll say the best option is always a well balanced program with a little cardio and strength training rolled up together. If they’re both good, together they’re great. If you want more information about getting started on a strength training program of your own contact me!