For many women, working out consists of either running on the treadmill, hopping on a bike for a spinning class or even a morning filled with yoga. All of these are incredible exercises for the body and will lead to good results as far as the external appearance goes as well as things like heart and lung health.
However, to really reap some fitness benefits, women should seriously consider lifting weights. And I’m not talking holding the 2.5 lb dumbbells while you’re doing step-ups or on a power walk – lifting heavy weights on compound lifts will not put on bulky mass like most of the population thinks. Trust me, it’s not that easy! If you’re a woman on track with your nutrition, tune in to these benefits of lifting some serious iron to your weekly routine.
Boost in Metabolism
Lifting weights helps to increase the overall testosterone in the body. By triggering the growth hormone whenever the body is under bursts of tension (for ex. bench press or squats), it releases the hormone to create more testosterone. In women, the amount of overall testosterone is significantly lower than in men so it’s a lot harder for women to put on mass like many think. Boosting the testosterone in the body is directly correlated to boosting your metabolism which will ultimately lead to the burning of fat and the addition of lean muscle tissue.
The nutrition in this area is also a plus because you are going to be able to eat more because you’ll be burning more – think of it like adding fuel to the fire to be burned off. The more quality, whole foods that you gradually add, the better the body will be able to transition that into fuel for adding muscle and burning fat.
Upping Your Self-Confidence
Women can struggle with trying to fit an image – especially in the gym. Although easier said than done, the mindset of many individuals (men and women) needs to change from trying to keep up with others into thinking about being the best you. Lifting will help with this.
For example, you throw 65 lbs on the bench press and maybe only 5 reps to start with. By tracking your progress and slowly progressing into more weight, you’ll be able to lift 95 lbs for 10 reps. This isn’t a fluke or just by chance that this happened; you disciplined and pushed yourself into beating the old you and improving the new you. Lifting weights can be hard on the ego, but keep your head right and you’ll reap some serious benefits with the way lifting makes you look and feel.
Leaner, More Defined Look
Running is a great workout to burn tons calories when performed at the right intensity and duration. But if you think about it, your leg muscles are the only ones getting directly worked. Throwing in a Monday/Wednesday/Friday split consisting of one pull day (back/biceps), push day (shoulders/chest/triceps) and a legs/core day will help to balance out your physique.
Although great for the external image, this will also help lead to better posture and overall balance within the body. Like we talked about above, lifting weights spikes testosterone levels so this will also lead to more muscle. More muscle helps to create an image of a small waist as well as a more defined and toned muscles.
Not only does lifting weights improve overall muscularity, but it also improves elasticity of your joints and bone density. This is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle not just for now when you’re in your athletic prime, but also down the road – it will enable you to be able to work out for years to come with less pain and more stability and balance as you age. Stretching after hard lifting sessions will help with the improvement of elasticity and also the cushion between bones like your hips, knees and shoulder to reduce inflammation and pain.
As women age and go through the menopause, a lack of estrogen causes bones to weaken, so this benefit is especially key for women.
Lifting can help you develop a strong, healthy body but it also provides enormous amounts of health benefits that are unseen. One of the biggest things working out hard provides is stress relief – stress triggers the increase of cortisol levels which is directly related to holding excess amount of stubborn belly fat.
Another is the hormonal release of endorphins that you receive while putting your body through an intense workout. These endorphins are the “feel good” feelings you get like eating a piece of chocolate or spending time with a loved one. This promotes overall health and promotes better moods and also less mood swings.
As you can see, the health benefits of lifting weights for women far outweigh just doing some basic forms of cardio. Next time you’re at the gym, don’t be scared of the weight room – get in there to throw around some iron and reap the benefits!