I respect that there are so many sports and activities that women can do to keep in shape and that different things work for different people but this post is to highlight the benefits of lifting weights. I get asked a lot what I do to keep in shape and friends always ask me what they can do to keep in shape and to shift weight. They are often really surprised when I tell them that they need to start lifting weights. If you told me this a few years ago I would've also been surprised as I was a real cardio bunny. I thought the weights room was just for the men and found it quite intimidating setting foot in there.
I used to wander around the gym not really knowing which exercises to do or what exercises would benefit me greatly. I also didn't believe that lifting weights would help me to lose weight, I believed it would, in fact, meant that I bulked up and put on weight. Obviously, there are some weight changes when a woman starts lifting weights due to putting on muscle but this is a good thing as the fat % starts to come down.
Obviously, Crossfit is brilliant for lifting weights and for teaching dumb bell movements and both powerlifting and weightlifting movements. However, lifting weights at the gym or getting your own kettlebell or dumb bells and performing exercises at home will have countless benefits on your health and your body.
Below I've outlined the key reasons why I think women need to start lifting weights and throw around some iron.
- Sexy Muscles!
No lifting weights will not make you look manly, we will not suddenly become bigger than the men in our gym but instead will gain muscles and curves in all the right places! Women have the hormone Oestrogen and it is not physically possible for us to grow and develop in the same way in which men do. I understand that not all women necessarily like the toned, muscle defined look on women but that physical look will only happen if you are training hard in something specific ie. gymnasts and crossfitters who are regularly training 5-6 days a week and competing. For women lifting two to three times a week, you will achieve that peachy bum that will look awesome in jeans and won't have to worry about your bingo wings on your arms.
- A Faster Metabolism
So as to not get overly scientific on you, the more muscle you have the faster you will burn food and calories, even when you are in a stationary state. What could we not love about that!! As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. If you have more lean muscle mass, you'll have more muscle contractions and thus burn more calories.
I've never been so confident in my body as I am now and that is thanks to strength training. It has somewhat empowered me and I am proud of the fact that my body is capable of shifting barbells and kettlebells. I love the fact that people comment on my quads when I'm wearing shorts or that they comment on my toned arms and ask how they can get the same. I love the fact that I am a role model to the girls at school and that they now want to be strong and confident. The world, thankfully is changing and we are no longer looking at skinny catwalk models for inspiration and body image but instead seeing beautiful strong women in sports such as Crossfit, MMA and gracing the big screens in blockbusters such as Wonderwoman.
Ladies get in that gym, start lifting those kettlebells and introduce your body to strength training, trust me you will not regret it.
By: Hannah J Lewis - Nasty Lifestyle Athlete