Why are most women afraid of weight training? Most slave away at the gym on the cardio machines when they should also be combining their cardio routine with a resistance program. As a personal trainer, I constantly encounter women shying away from strength training. Most of them tell me they are afraid of getting “bulky” and “manly”.
Here are seven compelling reasons why women should take strength training seriously:
1) You will lose body fat
A study performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD in Massachusetts found that women who engaged in strength training 2-3 times per week for two months were able to lose 4 lbs of fat and gain 2 lbs of lean muscle. As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. It is generally recognized that each pound of muscle burns between 35-50 calories each day.
2) You will gain strength without bulk
Women do not have the muscle fibers that men have. Additionally, women do not have the level of testosterone, (a hormone used for muscle hypertrophy) that men carry. By keeping the weight low and the repetitions high, women can only develop muscle tone and definition and NOT huge bulky muscles.
3) You will be physically stronger
Wouldn’t you want to be stronger and less dependent on others? Daily chores would be easier, lifting kids, pushing the cart between grocery aisles, climbing stairs, getting up off the couch. On top of that, increasing our strength makes you less prone to injury.
4) You decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis
Strength training has been proven to increase bone density by 13% when participants engaged in weight training 3 times a week for 6 months. Strength training and proper calcium intake are the best defense against osteoporosis.
5) You will reduce your risk of back pain and arthritis
Weight training not only strengthens the muscles but it also strengthens your ligaments, tendons and increases joint stability. This results in less aches and pains and reduces the risk of developing arthritis.
6) You will reduce your risk of heart disease
A regular strength training program has been proven to raise good cholesterol (HDL), lower bad cholesterol (LDL), lower blood pressure, which are all elements needed to prevent heart disease. These factors are multiplied when weight training is coupled with cardiovascular exercise.
7) You will improve your attitude and fight off depression
A Harvard study demonstrated that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than counseling. Furthermore, women who strength trained reported feeling more confident and less stressed as a result of their training program.
Now step off the elliptical machine and go lift some weights, your body will thank you.