Strength training for women is the best exercise you can do for longevity and overall well-being. Women who lift weights are shown to be more mobile, flexible, and even more confident in themselves! However, I also see a lot of ladies terrified of getting “bulky” so lets debunk that myth right now.
You aren’t working hard enough to be bulky. Building muscle as a woman is HARD WORK and takes YEARS to accomplish. Not to mention the attention to diet and lifestyle that goes along with it. So don’t worry about looking like a man because that wont happen. Not to mention, we have about a 10th of the amount of testosterone as a man does which adds to the difficulty of gaining muscle.
What you will get from strength training is that “toned” body everyone and their dog wants along with internal and longevity benefits like stronger bones and mobility. With that said, lets dive into Why strength training for women is a very important activity to include in your routine!
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
1. It allows us a more mobile life in the future
Strength training for women can be life altering at any age. I like to think of muscle as the currency of longevity as we age it becomes more and more important for daily activities. From balance to mobility hitting the weight room has life long benefits.
Another aspect to consider is us ladies have this thing called a menstrual cycle that eventually goes away as we get older and begin to go through menopause. During menopause, Estrogen begins to decrease to lower levels and with that, so does our muscle and bone density. After the age of 30 our bone density starts to decline and is even greater after menopause making women four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Making a small fall turn into a broken bone.
Therefore, women who lift weights are less likley to suffer from factures in later years. So, go lift some weights, Your older self will thank you!
2. Strength training helps regulate your hormone levels
For both men and women, there is no better medicine than strength training. With a growing market for hormone replacement therapy and pills being pushed to regulate hormones, there is no better way to naturally balance hormones than hitting the weight room.
For women, I see a lot of estrogen dominant symptoms such as fatigue, heavy periods, and painful cramps. Strength training is the only activity that creates impact on sex hormones, specifically human growth hormone. Human growth hormones is shown to improve insulin sensitivity which helps control blood sugar levels. Blood sugar balance is extremely important for estrogen and cortisol balance.
Of course, there are other factors that can impact our hormones such as diet, lifestyle, age, etc. however, no form of exercise quite does the trick like strength training does.
3. Strength training helps build confidence
Self confidence is my favourite side effect of strength training. Not only will it give you the body you want without burning yourself out doing endless hours of cardio, it gives you goals to hit. Goals are such an important aspect of our growth. Weather you are tying to become stronger or lose fat, barbells are your best option.
What building lean muscle does for your body is it boosts your resting metabolic rate. This is the amount of calories you burn per day just doing nothing at all. Other aspects of metabolism would be non-exercise activity, calories used to digest food, and your structured exercise routine. However, there reason building muscle increases your RMR (resting metabolic rate) Is because muscle is more energy demanding than fat is. This means your body needs more calories to just maintain that amount muscle mass.
More muscle = more calories burned and thus makes fat loss much easier than spending an hour on the treadmill. Therefore, women who lift weights look leaner as they have more muscle mass.
How to start lifting weights as a beginner
I started out doing cardio and HIIT (high intensity interval training). While this was a great way to just get me started with the consistency of working out, it was not the right way of starting. If I were to go back in time and do it again I would have 100% included more strength training. Here are some things, I would have done differently
Make it less intimidating
I’m sure you can relate to me when I say, I had no idea what to do and I was embarrassed to even try. After all, everyone was looking at me specifically, right? NOPE, no one cares about you. The gym is one of the most supportive places Ive found because everyone there was or is a beginner too. They know how it feels and I highly doubt they want to make you feel less than or like you shouldn’t be there. We all want to better ourselves so get out of your own head and just start. You can learn along the way
Get some guidance
Hiring a PT or coach to help you get started with strength training and show you the ropes is about the smartest idea ever. There is a lot of information out on the internet and it can get confusing especially if you’re a beginner. If you are serious about getting a healthier body you can learn to accept and love, I highly suggest investing in yourself. I wish I would have done that sooner. As a woman who lifts weights in a more male dominant enviroment, using the buddy system can be very helpful!
Have a plan
Fail to plan and plan to fail. Going into the gym with no plan is about the biggest mistake I see for beginners. They walk in and do some cardio, head to some random machines and leave. Nothing wrong with that if you just wanted to move your body for the day BUT if you have a goal to build muscle you’re just wasting your time and effort. Rather than following along a random Instagram workout video, make yourself a weekly workout split and stick to it for at least 6 weeks, then re-evaluate based on results.
Start slow and master the basics
Do not try and change yourself overnight. That will lead to overwhelm and inevitably quitting on your goals. Start by changing one thing at a time. If you don’t work out at all, make a goal to go 2-3 times a week and progress from there. Once you master that, add a day or add some intensity to the weight. After that, you can tackle the other beast which is nutrition.
Educate yourself nutritionally
Strength training for women is only half the battle. Nutrition is also a big factor when it comes to building and maintaining muscle. More specifically, protein and total calories. As I mentioned above, muscle is more caloriclly demanding than fat. Therefore, eating enough protein (which is more than you think) is very important especially if you are in a caloric deficit to lose fat!
Im not a huge fan of the daily recommendations for protein intake of the average female. Most of you reading this are also exercising to some extent and when we introduce exercise, portein requirments increase. Therefore, I recommend starting out with 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day at least. Preferably more if you are in a caloric deficit as your body will break down muscle for energy if its deprived of calories.
I hope this post has convinced you to get off the cardio machines and become a boss ass women who lift weights. I love my cardio too BUT I also recognize that weight training is not only good for fat loss goals but for overall health and well-being.
Im sure you have a sister, friend, or someone you know who refuses to lift weights because they are scared to look like a “man”. Do them a favour and send this article to them.
Until next time xx