It’s 2018. I shouldn’t have to write a blog post about women and weightlifting. But surprisingly/annoyingly I do.
For decades our society has perpetuated two beliefs that drive me absolutely nuts. The first is that lifting weights heavier than ten pounds is going to make someone gain massive amounts of muscle no matter who they are. The second is that women have no business getting six-packs, biceps, and quad definition; instead they should look soft, toned, and curvy all at the same time.
Now, if that’s what you want to look like, that’s great. But beauty comes in many different forms, and for us to still be at a point in 2018 where people believe that women with muscles are somehow manly, well that’s just wrong. Women with muscles are sexy, strong, and confident, and if that makes you uncomfortable, then you need to look a little deeper and figure out why that makes you feel insecure.
Lifting heavy weights has done so much for me, and I truly believe that every woman should be adding it to their workouts. No only does it help maintain strong bones, which in turn helps with posture and core strength, it will help you gain lean muscle mass, or in Pinterest words, make you look “toned”. It’s also going to boost your self-esteem and make you feel independent and self-sufficient.
Lifting heavy weights will not make women bulk up unless they are taking steroids or eating a diet that is extremely high in calories and protein. Women simply do not have the testosterone stores that men have to help them gain muscle. Instead, you’ll see a decrease in body fat and more definition in your overall muscle tone that gives you a killer look in a bathing suit.
But it also does so much more than that. Replacing fat with muscle helps to boost your metabolism. One pound of muscle requires you body to burn 50 more calories than one pound of fat. In turn, the more muscle you gain, the more fat your body will burn throughout the day. Thus, your body fat percentage will decrease. However, do be alarmed if you don’t see a difference on the scale, muscle is more dense than fat. Thus, a mirror is often a better truth-telling than your weight alone.
While strength workouts don’t burn as many calories as cardio does, the after burn of calories is much greater. Cardio after burn only lasts for 30 to 60 minutes after a workout. Weight training after burn can last up to 48 hours! This is because the breaking down and rebuilding of muscle takes a lot more energy, and thus your body will burn more calories after a weight lifting session than cardio.
So if you’ve only been focusing on cardio at the gym and aren’t seeing the results that you want, adding weight lifting two to three times a week is a great way to change things up and promote lean muscle mass and fat loss. Believe me, weightlifting isn’t just for the boys.