Women and Weights

If I had a pound every time I heard “I’m a woman, I don’t want to lift weights cos I don’t want to get bulky muscles” (or words to that effect) I’d be writing this blog sat on a sunny beach somewhere, sipping a cocktail with a crazy straw and an outrageous amount of fruit, singing ‘time of my life’ until a concerned citizen comes over to save the dying cat they think they can hear… Or I’d at least have considerably more money.

A significant proportion of my clients are either gym-adverse or feel they lack the knowledge to be confident enough to exercise themselves. One of the first obstacles I face as a personal trainer with women is their reluctance to embrace lifting weights. They think it will give them big bulky muscles, or they don’t understand the value. They’ve been previously misled into believing that weights build muscle and cardio helps lose weight. Experienced gym goers know this is no longer the established truth. Unfortunately, I have found that the general population still live in a ‘weights are for men world’. Today’s mission is to help dispel that notion and help celebrate women that lift.

My top 5 reasons why men AND WOMEN should embrace lifting weights;

  • FAT BURNING

The more muscle you have, the more efficiently you burn fat. On top of that- you even continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished exercising. In a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, women who completed a 60 minute weights based training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterward than those who stuck to solely cardio focus exercises.

  • STRESS RELIEF

We all get stressed from time to time. Oftentimes this stress makes us feel like all we want to do is curl up in a dark room and watch Peep Show on a loop (maybe that’s just me). Poor choice (not watching Peep Show – it’s a classic that will stand the test of time). Relieving stress through exercise increases the production and release of endorphins according to studies by Harvard health. Working out will, actually, make you feel less stressed and more energised. So, pick up the weights and put down the TV remote.

  • BUILD LEAN MUSCLE

Women produce only 5-10% testosterone in comparison to men. As a result the potential for creating that body builder physique is limited. Instead women who lift, build strong lean muscle. While the scales might show an increase in weight, your clothes will tell an entirely different story. Let’s face it, dress size and fit trumps smiling scales every day of the week. Here’s the science; according to the National Institutes of Health, the normal range of testosterone is 30 to 95 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) for women and 300 to 1,200 ng/dL for men. Of course, that doesn’t preclude women from achieving the muscle-bound bod, but it does make it much more difficult to do it naturally. Great news for my regular clients.

  • HEALTHIER HEART.

According to a study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, official research journal of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, participating in regular muscular endurance activities helps strengthen your heart. Your heart is a muscle too- don’t ignore it.

  • INCREASE BONE DENSITY

Regularly lifting weights can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This is a slightly debatable point as not all studies agree. However, it is worth considering as it’s supported by a significant amount of research (including researchers at University of Missouri-Columbia) to suggest that lifting weights does increase bone density. So, you aren’t just working out for present day you, you’re also supporting future you. How very forward thinking!

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