Why Women Need to Lift Weights
Yes, lifting weights allows you to build muscle mass so you can have that “toned” look that everyone is going for.
Yes, it allows you to develop some womanly curves and creates an hourglass shape.
But, one of the most important reasons (and one we often forget about) is its necessary to our overall HEALTH. Especially as we get older!
Now I know that not every woman wants to look toned, not every woman wants an hourglass shape. And for those who aren’t aspiring to achieve these physique goals, they often avoid lifting weights altogether.
“Well, I don’t want developed shoulders, so why would I train my shoulders?”
That’s like saying I’m not going to be a smile model for a Crest commercial, so why would I floss my teeth?
Just because we don’t want to be a bodybuilder, doesn’t mean we should avoid lifting weights.
Why is lifting weights so damn important?
Before I get into that, I just want to QUICKLY assure you that lifting weights will not make you "bulky". I feel that this fear is slowly starting to die. But, for those who are still afraid that you are going to "look like a man", let me assure you that unless you take performance-enhancing drugs, it is impossible.
I have been lifting weights for over 10 years now and I still get told that I’m so tiny. I promise, you are not going to get bulky.
Glad we cleared that up!
Now there are several reasons as to why you want to start taking resistance training more seriously. But I want to just cover a couple of the more important ones.
Reason #1: You need muscle to lose fat
As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your RMR is the calories you burn when at rest. You actually continue to burn more calories during the day AFTER your training session. If all you are doing is cardio, you aren’t going to build the muscle needed to receive the same benefits.
Too often I see women prioritize the amount of cardio they are doing because we have this belief that the more cardio we do, the more fat we are going to burn. This is not actually the case and we are giving cardio way too much credit.
I am not bashing cardio. Cardio is a great tool for our long-term health. All I am saying is that we are placing way too much importance on cardio.
Let’s go back to our oral care analogy, shall we? Where resistance training is our floss and cardio is our scope.
Scope is a nice feeling after we have flossed our teeth. But, if we ever forget to use Scope, it’s no big deal. We are still going to have healthy teeth if we don’t always Scope.
But, if we forget to floss, we run the risk of root canals and other serious dental disasters. Flossing is significantly more important when it comes to oral care, whereas Scope is less so.
The same holds true for resistance training (aka lifting weights) and cardio. Resistance training is on the higher end of the hierarchy of importance for fat loss and overall health, whereas cardio is on the lower end.
Still important, just not as important.
Reason #2: You reduce back pain and improve posture
Resistance training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This helps prevent injury and even improves our posture.
Even if you don’t want to have jacked shoulders, training your shoulders is still necessary for postural and stability purposes. If you often have sore shoulders, you might be lacking the necessary strength needed in that muscle group.
While resistance machines may be used in early stages of training, where appropriate, we should use free weight, multi joint resistance training exercises, which provide greater overall training stimulus and place a greater demand on postural stability.
Now, if you still aren’t convinced, let’s talk about the final and most important reason!
Reason #3: You reduce risk of osteoporosis
It has been reported that weightlifters who regularly train with heavy weights while performing multi joint exercises display levels of bone density well above values of age-matched controls.
Why is this important?
As we get older, we have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a clinical condition characterized by low bone mass and an increased susceptibility to fractures. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen.
Any increase in muscle strength or mass may therefore result in a corresponding increase in bone mineral density or the quantity or mineral deposited in a given area of the bone.
Thus, exercise that stimulates muscle growth and strength gains also stimulate bone growth.
And, I don’t know about you, but if I can mitigate the amount of pain and risk of injury as I get older, I’m going to try.
Overall, resistance training is much more than just achieving a desired physique. If your overall health is important to you, I can't stress the important of resistance training enough. Resistance training can benefit all aspects of your life!
Lift those weights, ladies!
Meet the Expert
Meet Krysten Janzen! Krysten is a Fitness Coach at THENATTYHOUR. After growing up with a bad relationship with food and with her body, Krysten turned to the gym as a way to transform her life. After instilling this confidence in herself, she quickly developed a passion to help others do the same. In 2014, she received her Personal Training Certification and has been helping women master their fitness goals since. Always looking to improve as a coach, currently she is enrolled with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) to complete her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) designation later this year. You can connect with Krysten through her Instagram or THENATTYHOUR's website!