Despite all of the evidence in its favor, many women still shy away from weight training. Instead, women tend to gravitate towards cardio-based activities, like spending 45 minutes a day on the elliptical.
While cardio exercise is important, it’s just as important for women to take on the challenge of including regular strength training in their workouts.
For many women, aside from the intimidation factor, they shy away from regular strength training because they’re terrified of bulking up.
Many women are convinced that weight training, particularly with heavier weights, isn’t going to help them lose weight, but instead they’ll just gain mass.
In actuality, women who strength train, including with heavy weight, tend to have a lean, feminine body that’s much more toned than what you’re going to achieve simply through doing cardio or extremely light weights.
The reason men tend to bulk up more when weight training is because of their physical composition, and the difference in male and female hormones.
Weights for Weight Loss
Often, women’s primary fitness goal is to lose weight, or maintain their current weight. What they don’t realize is that the women who appear to be so physically fit are able to remain slim because of their dedication to weights in many cases.
When you use weights, you’re building muscle, which has a tremendous impact on your metabolism. For each pound of fat you replace with muscle, you’re likely to burn anywhere from 35 to 50 more calories a day.
Research has shown that women who strength train 2-3 times a week, on average will gain 1.75 pounds of lean muscle mass, while simultaneously shedding 3.5 pounds of fat.
Aside from helping you become leaner and lose more weight, weight training has a number of other significant benefits for women, including:
- Stronger bones. Women are more susceptible to developing osteoporosis, but weight training helps strengthen bones and improve their density.
- Lowered risk of diabetes. Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in the U.S., and regular strength training lowers that risk by increasing the body’s use of glucose.
- Combats back pain and arthritis. Back pain and arthritis are two common issues women face, particularly as they age, but adding strength training to your workout routine can not only ease these problems in the present, but also help prevent future concerns.
- Better daily functionality. Strength training doesn’t just make you look great—it makes your daily life easier. Whether you’re an athlete, or a stay-at-home mom, by adding weights to your routine, you’re going to make other areas of your life easier.
- Mental well-being. Weight training is a great way to improve your sense of mental well-being. It reduces anxiety, and improves your confidence.
As we mentioned, one of the biggest roadblocks for women and weight training is the fear factor. It can be intimidating to add something new to your workouts that you’re not familiar with, and it’s important to develop a routine that adds more weight as your strength progresses.
It’s also important to use a variety of rep ranges, and proper technique is vital to avoid injury.
If you’re unsure of how to begin weight training, a personal trainer can work with you to develop a plan that’s ideal for your life and goals. If you’ve been weight training but want to see more results, a personal trainer can also help you to break out of your rut, shed more weight and become stronger overall.