If I had to pick the most common health and fitness myth, it would be this: lifting weights makes women bulky. Not only is the statement simply untrue, it also deters women from weight lifting, which is actually highly beneficial. There are many reasons why women should lift weights, including mental and physical improvements.
Reasons Women Should Lift Weights
Regularly lifting weights is a healthy practice for most women. Despite popular belief, it isn’t too strenuous or dangerous, nor will it cause a “bulky” aesthetic look. In fact, lifting weights is one of the best things women can do for their health and appearance. Here’s why:
Boost Confidence– Lifting weights won’t make you “bulky.” Instead, it will help you achieve that “toned” look you’re going for. Consistently lifting weights increases muscle size (I promise not too much), helping you improve your “toned appearance.” Actually, due to women’s hormones and physiological design, it can be pretty challenging for women to gain muscle, much less enough to create a “bulky” aesthetic.
Burns Fat- The more muscle you build, the more calories your body naturally burns. This is due to an increased metabolic rate. In fact, some will say that “muscle burns fat.” In other words, increased muscle mass leads to decrease in body fat.
Improves Overall Health– Lifting weights is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. And, as you age, weight lifting can increase quality of life all around.
Reduces Risk of Injury– While weight lifting increases muscle mass, it also provides additional protection to your joints, ligaments, and bones. Weight lifting increases stability, reducing the risk of falling, and also strengthens bones and joints.
Provides a Challenge– There are many physical benefits to women lifting weights, but it’s also beneficial mentally. Not only does it increase confidence, but it also improves mental endurance, boosts mood, and reduces stress levels.
Increases Strength and Endurance– Needless to say, lifting weights increases muscle strength. But, it also improves endurance. This is especially important for women who are active, play sports, or run regularly. Cross-training is known to improve overall athletic performance!
How to Start Lifting Weights
If you’ve never participated in weight lifting before (or if it’s been a long time), getting started can be the hardest part. Here are a few tips to get you started safely and effectively.
Start Slow– As eager as you might be, slowly work your way up to more challenging exercises and routines. Start weight lifting just 2-3 days a week. It might even be beneficial to introduce body weight exercises before using actual weights.
Take Rest Days– Rest days are as important as exercise days. Again, start slow. Incorporate several rest days a week to let your muscles recover and heal. On rest days, enjoy leisurely activities, like bike rides, outdoor walks, or stretching.
Focus on Proper Form– Proper lifting form is much more important than lifting as heavy as you can. I recommend hiring a professional to teach you the ropes. If nothing else, watch plenty of exercise videos to fully understand the correct form for different exercises. Be patient with yourself!
Fuel Your Body Well– Adequate nutrition is absolutely necessary when lifting weights. You need healthy amounts of protein, carbs, and fat to fuel your body and repay your hard-working muscles.
Hydrate– Hydration is a key part of any fitness routine, including weight lifting. Hydrate before, during, and after your lifting session to reap the most health benefits. Not only will dehydration negatively impact your progress, it will also make you feel pretty crummy.
Did you know I offer online personal training programs for weight lifting? If your New Year’s Resolution involves starting a weight lifting program, you can learn more here. Together, we can work towards your health and fitness goals throughout 2022!