Certainly you don’t want to look like a body builder, male or female. Many women fear that lifting weights, or strength/resistance training as it’s more aptly called, is going to make them bulk up just like the Terminator. But I’m here to tell you that this simply isn’t the case. Read on for five great reasons why every woman, no matter her age, should strength train.
#1 You’ll Burn More Calories
Strength training increases the number of calories you burn throughout the day, even while you’re binge-watching Netflix. How? After a strength training workout, your muscles have to repair themselves from the microscopic damage to fibers that occurs. This takes energy, and energy comes from burning calories. An added bonus – most of this calorie burn comes from stored fat!
#2 You’ll Build Stronger Bones
As you age, your bone mass decreases (due to a variety of factors, many hormone-driven). Less bone mass means an increased risk of one day suffering a serious fracture. The good news: consistent strength/resistance training has been shown in numerous studies to maintain and even build bone density, as well as raise blood levels of osteocalcin, a marker of bone growth.
#3 You’ll Get Fit Faster
“Cardio” isn’t just Zumba. Doing a circuit training workout with weights can raise your heart rate almost as much as running, while building muscle and cardiovascular strength at the same time. So try combining your cardio and weights into a great circuit workout and save time without sacrificing results.
#4 You’ll Lose Significantly More Body Fat
As I talked about in a previous article, cardio workouts alone cause both fat and muscle loss. Loss of muscle tissue lowers your metabolism, as you are losing both strength and active calorie-burning tissue. Furthermore, dieters who don’t strength train also lose about 75 percent of the weight from fat, and 25 percent from muscle. While muscle loss may lower the number on the scale, it doesn’t improve how you look in the mirror and worse yet, only makes it even more likely you’ll gain back what you lost as fat when you resume normal eating habits.
#5 Your Clothes Will Fit Better
One pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle. Between the ages of 30 and 50, women lose 10 percent of their body’s total muscle, which is replaced by fat, especially in the midsection.
So hopefully now you’re thinking, great – I’m in! But wait a minute…you’re probably wondering what exactly you should do to strength train. Find a workout on Pinterest? Download an app? Pick up the latest copy of Shape Magazine? Plus the gym is scary…free weights, machines, body weight exercises, or that TRX thing? Does the Thighmaster count?
There is so much confusing and conflicting information out there about strength training. The best way to learn effective, beneficial exercises is to work with a certified personal trainer (like me!). I design a strength training program – not just a workout – for every client, that is customized, progressive, and most of all, effective. Working with a trainer, you’ll cut through all the noise out there and do what’ll succeed for you. Contact me and let’s talk about your best strength training program!
Laurie Kelly, CPT, CES, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She works with clients one-on-one at their locations to help them live healthy and active lives, and achieve their unique fitness goals. Contact her here or follow her blog at http://www.dragonfly-fitness.com.