OK ladies - I have a confession. I love lifting weights and I’m on a mission to make you love it too. When I met my hubby Eli, our second date was an intense gym session. That’s when I knew he was the one for me. (He’s a Marine, so lifting is basically what he does all day.)
Why is it a confession? Well for some reason, people act like you can’t be feminine and still lift weights. Way too often, I’ll go into a gym and see the women hanging out on the ellipticals and leaving the weight lifting to the men. Well, it’s 2018 and it’s time for women to change that. Lifting is a great activity that’s super easy to get into and it has TONS of benefits. Why should a bunch of bros get to hog that for themselves?
1. You won’t turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger. OK - this isn’t a benefit, but we need to get it out of the way. The #1 reason girls say they don’t lift is that they don’t want to get bulky. The good news is you won’t! Building bulk is really hard and takes hours in the gym every day for years (and in Arnold’s case, a few handfuls of steroids.) This is doubly true for women since we don’t have the testosterone levels that help men build muscles. Saying you don’t lift because you’ll bulk up is like saying you don’t go on walks because you’ll end up in Madagascar.
You won't turn into a super-buff cat either
2. Weight lifting helps you stay lean. Strength training is a option to help lose weight. Obviously you burn calories during your workout. But did you know that your metabolism increases and you continue burn calories for up to 24 hours after a session at the gym? We’ve also all heard that muscle burns more calories than fat. Half an hour at the gym doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want, but if you’re aiming for a trimmer look, it can help you get there.
3. You can start simple.One of the intimidating things about lifting is figuring out what to do. You’re always hearing about how you need to do crazy lifts to target some random muscle you’ve never heard of. Well for beginners that’s not at all true! We’ll talk about this more next week, but five basic lifts cover all of the major muscle groups in your body. The five are squats, bench presses, deadlifts, rows, and shoulder presses, and there are tons of resources for learning how to do them. Watch out for my full article on this next week!
4. Lifting gives you a feeling of accomplishment.I’m a SUPER goal driven person. Setting and then achieving goals is part of what I always loved about gymnastics and cross country. Weightlifting helps me get my accomplishment fix. There are SO many ways to make progress. You might increase the weight you’re squatting one day, and then the next time you can increase the repetitions for bench press. Bench presses are AWESOME for women, by the way. Especially as a beginner, you’ll make so much progress. Eventually that slows down but by then I was totally hooked.
5. Strength training will help with your other sports.Do you love cycling or skiing? Squats will help keep your leg fresh at the end of the ride. Yoga fanatic? The core strength from deadlifts is fantastic. And a few rows will help with your tennis game. The exact benefits vary from sport to sport but lifting can really help you get to the next level!
6. Spending time with weights reduces injuries.Lifting doesn’t just build muscles. It strengthens bones and tendons too! This isn’t as big a deal when you’re 22. But if you want to keep being active your whole life it makes a big difference. Maybe you’ve heard your mom worry about osteoporosis? Lifting will help with that too.
7. You’ll feel happier and more confident.This is all that matters. I love my workouts but the real goal is to finish and be ready to live my best life. Scientists will tell you that weight lifting boosts your mood through endorphins. They’re probably right but there’s SO much more than that. It feels awesome to tell the UPS guy “No - I’ve got this” when he tries to help me with a heavy package and I love the extra confidence in my body that lifting has given me. So give it a try, and if you feel like it makes you happier, stick with it! Maybe you’ll even find a cute Marine to go to the gym with :)
What do you think ladies? Do you want to try lifting now? Keep an eye out for my article next week with everything you need to know to get started! And if you already lift and have tips you think I should include or know of benefits that I missed, send us a message on Instagram.