Contrary to popular conception, lifting weights won’t bulk you up into some kind of female He-Man. Surprisingly, it’s more likely that it’ll give you a toned look by helping to build lean muscle and reducing body fat.
Women’s bodies respond differently to weightlifting than men’s do. As women generally have lower levels of testosterone, they are more likely to gain definition rather than bulk. But lifting weights offers women a whole host of other benefits as well, both physically and mentally.
So, what are these perks and why should women consider incorporating strength training into their fitness regime?
It’s not only your muscles that get stronger through resistance training but your entire body overall. Weight training is known to strengthen bones, joints, connective fibres, and the heart.
It’s essential that women look after their bone health as they are much more at risk from osteoporosis than men. Studies have consistently shown that lifting weights over time can help to prevent age-related bone loss, fractures and that it might even promote the building of new bone.
Strength training also helps to build stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury and conditions such as arthritis.
Furthermore, any type of physical activity will contribute to your cardiovascular health, so lifting weights is good for your heart and circulation. It will also help to lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of diabetes, and lower blood pressure.
While cardio burns more fat at the moment, strength training sheds the pounds for much longer afterward. Lean muscle requires more energy than fat cells, therefore it increases your resting metabolic rate – in other words, muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does.
The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be in the long term. This is why many women find that their appetite increases rapidly when they start lifting weights because their body needs more energy to maintain the new muscle.
However, it’s important that you get the correct sustenance to fuel your workouts. While the right nourishment is essential for giving you energy, you need to be careful with your nutrition because you’ll still gain weight if you’re eating more calories than you burn. A healthy, balanced diet is vital, but you should consider supplementing it with something such as wheatgrass powder that will provide you with extra protein and help to speed up your muscle recovery.
Undoubtedly, the positive effects that resistance training has on your body will have positive effects on your mental health too.
The changes to your physique – such as fat loss and improved body composition – are bound to boost your self-confidence. However, the knowledge that you’re looking after your health and reducing the possibility of developing conditions later in life will also have an overall effect on your mood. You’ll feel refreshed and healthier overall, which is excellent for your mental wellbeing.
Furthermore, as exercise releases endorphins, lifting weights will also go towards boosting your state of mind.
Despite what you might have been led to believe, lifting weights does not result in women building ridiculously oversized muscles. If anything, it lowers your body size by resulting in faster metabolism and long-term fat loss. Women who weight train can also benefit from the positive effects on their bones, joints, and heart, and will enjoy better health overall.