It’s a fact that 70% of women aren’t happy with the way they look. By the way, that number is probably wrong; it’s probably much higher. And while I truly believe that every woman is beautiful and that we should never strive to be something we’re not, being healthy and happy should be the goal and whether we like it or not (I don’t!), exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Finding the right exercise for you can be hard. There are so many options, from triathlon training to pilates, it’s about finding something that you look forward to doing and that adds value you to.
Most women discard strength training as an option for them because of what they read on the internet or what their friends have told them about it: “Don’t lift weights! You’ll bulk up and lose your feminine body!” or “Do you WANT to look like a bodybuilder?!” First of all, looking like a bodybuilder is not a bad thing, if that’s what you want! Those women train hard and sacrifice a lot to build that kind of muscle and they should be respected for that. But, the reality is, women don’t build muscle mass the way men do. Men produce a hormone called testosterone (you might have heard of it), and it’s the hormone responsible for muscle mass. Do women produce testosterone? Yes, but in significant lesser amounts than men, so kudos to those bodybuilding women!
So, if women really don’t bulk up when the strength train, what can they expect to get out of it?
Here are a few benefits of strength training:
- Burn more calories
When you use weights to train you are actually breaking down your muscles and then rebuilding them in the 24-48 hours after your workout, which actually takes a lot of energy, and energy is calories. This means that you are not only burning calories during your workout, but after it as well.
- Lose visceral fat
Visceral fat is the fat around your organs. It’s extremely dangerous and can cause a disruption in normal liver and endocrine functions which can in turn cause diabetes 2. By doing compound movements (such as a barbell squat)1 you use a lot of different muscles at once, which requires a lot of energy and helps reduce visceral fat.
- Increase flexibility
A study done by the University of North Dakota shows that if you perform a full-range of motions during your workout using weights you can and will see and improvement in your flexibility just as you would if you stretched in the traditional way.
4. Gain lean muscle
By using weights, as we have previously stated, you break down the muscle and create denser, leaner muscle to replace it. When you don’t use weights, you aren’t necessarily creating this effect; you might just be improving your muscle endurance,a great effect is you want to life something for longer, but not necessarily if you want to life something heavier.
As with any training routine, when you weight train, you release endorphins, also know as “the runner’s high” a hormone that makes you feel happy, sometimes even euphoric. This hormone will make you have better mental health, have a more positive outlook on life and on your own body image, too.
If you have been thinking of trying strength training, but have been holding back for a fear of bulking up, don’t be! You can definitely take advantage of all the positive benefits of this type of training whether you want to add some spice into your workout routine or whether you want to start having a workout routine! You go girl!