The belief that weight-lifting will get women super-jacked, ripped, and masculine is completely ridiculous and flat-out wrong.
There are only really 3 ways for women to build significant amounts of muscle to the point where they start looking manly – they are 1) take steroids; 2) take HGH, testosterone, or other hormones; and 3) have abnormally high levels of natural testosterone, which is extremely rare and in any case you’d be aware of it.
So, for 99.9% of women, none of these reasons apply – this basically means that you have zero excuse not to lift weights to tone up.
Strength training, resistance training, weight lifting, etc. are not just about building bigger muscles. The popular one-sided reason is to grow size-wise, but the majority of people who train religiously acknowledge that the benefits go far beyond muscular growth. Here are 18 reasons why you NEED to lift weights, right now.
1. It builds muscle and burns fat — that equates to a LEAN body.
With enough time and training, muscle growth eventually converts into visible muscle tone and definition. Higher intensity lifting and metabolic training also stimulate lipolysis (fat breakdown and release) and increase the body’s metabolism long after training is finished. Besides the calories burned during your session, you’ll continue to torch elevated calories for a prolonged window afterwards.
And what else could you want? Aesthetics and looking great naked are one of the driving forces behind why most people strength train. Society weighs appearance so heavily, which makes it vital to look your best. It also produces self-confidence. Not only that, but a muscular, lean, toned body screams health and strength. A healthy, strong person is an attractive person that people gravitate towards.
Apparently “attractive” people make 3-4% more money on average than those with below-average looks. Well, well, look at that.
2. It burns a ton of calories and boosts BMR.
A high-intensity weight lifting session can burn up to 500 calories per hour. Weight lifting has also been scientifically proven to boost BMR (basal metabolic rate) for up to 24 hours post-workout.
Not only are you burning calories in the gym, but also afterward when you’re on the couch relaxing. The more intense the workout, the more calories you’ll burn post-workout via boosted metabolism.
3. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.
More muscle = higher resting metabolism. More muscle and less fat means that you’ll burn more calories at work, on the couch, and while you’re sleeping. Muscle tone helps you get lean, look lean, and stay lean.
4. Muscle is functional.
Having more muscle means you’re stronger and fitter, which translates into better functional performance in everyday life. You’ll look A LOT better when you’re the only friend that can carry a heavy TV up a flight of stairs. It’ll at least get you a free beer, and maybe a date.
5. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC.
EPOC is the increased rate of oxygen consumption following intense exercise. This means your body burns more calories naturally after you lift weights.
Basically, EPOC causes the body to increase its consumption of fuel, in this case the body’s fuel is fat. In response to exercise, fat stores break down, free fatty acids (FFA) release into the bloodstream, and then are burned off. That’s a very, very good thing.
6. Prevents the metabolic decline that comes with age.
Weight lifting can reverse the natural decline in your metabolism, which begins around age 30. Keeping your metabolism elevated for as long as possible will help keep you in top shape and let you eat like a teenager.
7. Bone strength.
Weight training does more than strengthen your muscles, it also strengthens your bones. Regular weight lifting increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fracture and osteoporosis.
Studies show that adults over the age 80 who do weight-bearing programs can significantly increase bone density. Exercise truly is a lifelong activity.
THIS IS KEY FOR WOMEN: Osteoporosis is MUCH MORE common in women than in men, primarily due to the hormonal cycle (and probably because women don’t weight train like they should!). In fact, women are four times more likely than men to develop and suffer from osteoporosis, and can lose up to 20% of their bone mass during the first five-seven years following menopause.
8. Improves posture.
A stronger back, shoulders, neck, and core can help you stand up straight and look confident. Plus you’ll look taller. Better posture also preserves the spine and reduces lower back pain.
9. Lowers blood pressure.
Lower blood pressure helps reduce coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other heart conditions. That all equals a longer, healthier life.
10. Reduces lower back pain and injury.
This builds off of #8, but strength training targeted at the back reduces lower back pain and the incidence of lower back injury. Indulge often in deadlifts and rows!
11.Improves balance and coordination.
Weight-lifting is phenomenal for ballroom dancing, mountain climbing and staying un-clumsy in your day-to-day life. Lift standing on a flipped-over Bosu ball to add extra emphasis on balance and coordination.
12. Decreases the risk of adult onset diabetes.
8.3% of the population has diabetes. Weight-lifting helps ensure that you stay a part of the other 91.7%.
13. Improves cardiovascular health.
Weight lifting is a great way to get the heart pumping and improve its strength. It also serves to increase HDL cholesterol (the good type), and lower your RHR (resting heart rate). A lower RHR means that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard on a day-to-day basis, which ultimately allows it to keep pumping blood for many more years later in life…
14. Strengthens joints, ligaments, and tendons.
This is critical for injury prevention. It’ll also improve sports performance and boost all-around full body strength.
15. Releases endorphins.
Legally Blonde was 100% right. Exercise and weight-training release endorphins–neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and enhance pleasure (the same endorphins are released when you eat spicy food, or experience pain, excitement, or orgasm). Endorphins are released during long, continuous workouts, when the intensity is moderate to high and breathing is difficult.
Acupuncture also releases endorphins.
16. Stress reduction, mood improvement.
Weight lifting is one of the best ways to naturally improve mood. It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression, and creates a sense of happiness (see endorphins above). If you’re ever depressed or stressed, weight lifting will literally make you feel 1000 times better.
17. Mental alertness and energy levels.
Weight lifting stimulates the mind, improves alertness, and provides an energy boost later in the day. Working out in the morning, if possible, is a great start to any day.
18. You’ll look and feel younger, trimmer and sexier.
A healthy body is a young, sexy body that you can be proud of. Nothing boosts self-confidence like a body you’re psyched to show off — the only way to do that is through diet, cardio and diligent weight-training.