Ladies, this one’s for you. I don’t know how many of you need to hear this, but I’m here to tell you first-hand that strength training benefits for women are plentiful. As a female who lifts weights personally, and instructs others on lifting as a career, I have come to understand the importance of strength training like the back of my hand.
“But lifting weights will make me bulky!”
“There are too many dudes in the weight room, I’ll be judged.”
“I want to lose weight, so I do a lot of cardio.”
Sigh. Unfortunately, these are phrases that I hear all too often. Fortunately, none of them are true! So, we can all agree to proceed from this point on keeping that in mind.
Strength training is an essential piece to any successful and sustainable fitness program. Key word: sustainable. Yes, sustainability with training is the ultimate goal. Fitness as a lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle! We’re on this earth for quite some time, and we want to make sure that we’re properly equipped (both physically and mentally) to remain active for as long as possible.
Strength training is key to long-term fitness.
There are dozens benefits to strength training for women, but I have narrowed down the top five most valuable
5 Strength Training Benefits for Women
- Helps With Fat Loss: Lifting weights promotes lean muscle mass growth. As your lean muscle mass increases, so does your RMR (resting metabolic rate). Your RMR is how many calories your body burns throughout the day, while at rest (natural bodily functions like breathing, circulating blood, etc). While cardio may burn a ton of calories, it does not aid in building muscle. Building lean muscle leads to long term fat burning. When you strength train, your body remains in the fat burning mode for long after you’ve completed your workout. This process is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption), and is increased after lifting weights. Who doesn’t like the sound of continuing to burn calories even after you’ve gotten home from the gym!
- Increases Bone Density: Research shows that bone density in women trends on a decline as it relates to age – specifically following menopause. Proper weight-bearing exercise puts just enough stress on your bones to yield strengthening, rather than injury. Lifting weights helps build bone density, which will ultimately decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis. It is never too early to start strengthening your bones to keep them healthy for the long-term.
- Boosts Metabolism: If you haven’t noticed by this point (lucky for you!), your metabolism slows with age. As it slows, it naturally becomes more difficult to burn off excess calories and keep off unwanted weight. Muscles contain Mitochondria, which aid in turning glucose to usable energy (and not fat storage). With age-related muscle loss, comes Mitochondria loss, and therefore a slower metabolism. With muscle gain, comes the opposite. Because there is a direct relationship between muscle mass and metabolism, we have the ability to combat a slowing metabolism. Working to build lean muscle will in-turn boost your metabolism and prevent that age-related slowing.
- Improves Self Confidence and Body Image: Over time you can start to see and actually feel yourself making progress. Whether that’s building more curves in certain areas, performing more repetitions, or lifting more weight, feeling and seeing physical changes will contribute to a boost in self esteem and confidence. Your body image will naturally improve as you notice yourself moving in the right direction towards your goals.
- Better Quality of Sleep and Overall Energy: By now we know that resistance training helps regulate many important bodily functions that contribute to your optimal health (resting metabolic rate, mitochondria levels/metabolism, blood pressure, etc). All of these vital functions contribute to your overall levels of stress, and therefore quality of sleep. It’s as simple as this: lifting weights → improved bodily functions → decreased stress levels → enhanced sleep quality.
This article was written exclusively for ParkerCoteFitness.com by Parker Cote Elite Fitness trainer Peri Lindh.