I understand why women worry about lifting weights. It’s understandable. Women have a lot of pressure to look and act a certain way … “feminine” they call it. Marketing teaches women that exercise is about looking good, not about getting stronger. So when there are women who take on bodybuilding to become bigger, it’s easy to become scared. These women train, eat, and take supplements to become as big as they do; it didn’t happen by accident or overnight. Still, nothing about weightlifting appears to be nice or modest. And sure enough, it’s not
Weightlifting is powerful, fierce, and transformative. It’s a habit that will bleed into every other aspect of your life. The strength will become contagious. The empowerment will shatter boundaries. Courage. Strength. Pride. Body Acceptance. All from weightlifting.
There’s a long list of reasons why both men and women should lift weights. Here are just a few:
- Body Composition: Lose fat, build muscle, lean out
One of the most important reasons people lift weights is to lose fat and build muscle. Strength training results in a greater level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption compared to aerobic exercise. After a workout, your body will have to do a lot more work to bring it back to its normal state, which takes up more energy. This will result in a boost in your metabolism by up to 40% for up to 38 hours.
In addition, strength training will help speed up your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Because your body requires more calories to maintain muscle than fat, it is estimated that your RMR will go up 30-50 calories for every 1lb of muscle you gain. And because women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men, they are more likely to develop strength gains without putting on a lot of muscle.
- Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Not only will strength training result in the body changes most people are looking for, but it will also allow you to live a longer and healthier life. Weightlifting will force you to look after your diet because you’ll see a tangible difference in your workouts from eating well. Coupled with that, strength training will help increase your bone density, build a stronger heart, reduce your blood pressure, improve your posture, balance, and coordination, control your blood sugar and much more.
Even more important is the mental health improvements that come with strength training.After weightlifting for awhile, you’ll find that you have more energy and confidence, and you’ll sleep better at night. You’re less likely to be stressed and have anxiety. In fact, weightlifting and resistance training has been proven to increase cognitive function.
With regular weightlifting comes an enhanced life in terms of mood, health, and stress management. You’ll improve your self-image, which in part can help improve your self-confidence. There lie the seeds of mental strength and resilience.
- That Feeling of Strength, Power, and Resilience
What’s not talked about often enough is that feeling of strength, power, and resilience that you’ll eventually develop from weightlifting. Everyone starts off slow– no one can just walk into a gym and pick up 200lbs. But as you begin to lift more, you’ll realize that weightlifting isn’t reserved for men. You’ll begin to set goals that might appear beyond your capabilities, and then consistently work towards them until you achieve them. Every day, you’ll take little steps and push outside of your comfort zone. Gradually, you’ll improve until, all of a sudden, you’re doing what you thought was impossible a month ago.
Then you’ll experience a boost in confidence and will begin to look forward to the next goal you set ahead of you. This increase in self-belief will begin to pervade your everyday life, and soon enough, you can’t imagine your life without it.
And yes, you can get some of these benefits doing other forms of exercise, but this is the one activity that will give you everything. Start slow, and take incremental steps. There’s no need to fear the weights.