When I was in my twenties, I avoided lifting for many reasons. I thought it would make me bulky or compromise my running. And I worried I would look like a fool in the gym. All of these preconceived notions ended up being false and I hope this post encorages you to take that first step into the weight room.
You already know that strength training is super important. But, in case you need a refresher, let me share some of the reasons why ALL women should be lifting.
- Bone health – Muscle strengthening exercises (also known as resistance training) are key to establishing and maintaining bone density and health. Plus, studies show that women who do not strength train experience a decrease in bone mass. Building strength has the added benefits of improving balance and coordination which lower your chances of osteoporosis-related fractures and falls.
- Increase metabolism – Obviously, you expend energy and burn calories during your workout. However, the bonus with strength training is that you continue to burn calories after your workout has ended. This “after burn” can last up to 48 hours post exercise. So my body can work when I’m not working? Sounds good to me.
- Burn fat – Fact: strength training burns more fat than cardio. Plus, just as I explained above, the post exercise effect means you will continue to burn fat after your workout has ended. Moreover, resistance training is particularly effective at targeting belly fat (this is the deep, visceral fat we all despise) and your body will become lean and toned.
- Enhance speed + performance – This benefit is for my endurance friends who are afraid strength training will wreak havoc on their running. No way! Not all exercises are created equal and there are definitely movements that will not add anything beneficial to your performance. However, lower body movements, such as single leg squats, dead lifts, and split squats will improve your muscle power and endurance which could be particularly helpful in those sprints to the finish line.
- You will be happier – Bold statement, I know, but it’s true. Lifting weights can reduce stress, lower anxiety, and make you super confident. All of these side effects = better mood = happy person. Strength training can also improve your focus and productivity. Personally, I look forward to breaking up my work day with some heavy lifting.
Another reason many women may avoid strength training is because they don’t have the time to make it to the gym. It’s really easy to train at home! I highly recommend investing in some dumbbells and bands for those days you can’t make it to the gym. And, trust me, effective workouts can be done in 20-30 minutes just a few days a week and yield great results.
Here’s a list of what I keep at my house:
- Stability ball
- Weighted medicine balls (3)
- Various exercise bands (I have 5-6 of different resistance and lengths)
- Dumb bells (I have a set of 5 lbs, 10 lbs, and 15 lbs)
My ultimate goal is to convert part of our garage into a home gym with rubber flooring and some additional equipment, like a bench, plyo boxes, a wall timer, etc. I’d love to go full on beast mode in a larger space than my home office.
What are some of the reasons you lift?