While discussing the benefits of weight training, I would like to encourage everyone out there to finally step foot into the long-avoided weights area. Too many women are afraid of bulking up, and are unaware of the true facts of weight training. To actually bulk up, body builders eat and train in a very specific way for long periods of time, sometimes up to a year. Women have a significantly lower amount of testosterone (male hormone), which is needed for muscle gain; therefore it is extremely difficult for them to get big. What you initially may see as ‘bulk’ is muscle hypertrophy (gain) underneath the fat cells, which is great news, because that new lean muscle soon starts burning your fat! Once the thicker layer of body fat is gone, underneath you will see lean muscle tone.
At the end of the day, to lose weight is about a simple equation between energy in versus energy out. The good news is there is no need to starve yourself to lose weight, instead eat more frequent protein containing meals that keep you full and help you burn fat while increase your muscle mass to burn more calories 24/7.
So here are 10 great reasons to pump the iron:
- Toning – Helps you develop muscle tone and definition. Skinny is not enough ladies, you should aim for strength and tone.
- Boosts metabolism – The more muscle mass you carry, the higher your metabolic rate (BMR) is, therefore the more calories you burn even just sitting around.
- Burns fat – it is your lean body mass, the muscle mass underneath your body fat that burns calories without you even doing anything. Each pound of muscle burns 30 calories per day, even when you are not exercising. Remember muscle takes up less space than fat, but it weighs more; so don’t rush to the scales, the figures might not change much. When you lose fat, don’t you worry; your clothes will fit differently.
- Anti-ageing – Weight training is the best anti-ageing product on the market by far! As we age, we lose muscle mass, therefore we burn less calories day by day. Even if we consume the same amount of calories over time, we have a good chance of putting on weight because we burn less calories. Increasing lean muscle mass is the best way to slow down the ageing process, and ‘fight against gravity’. Yes, you can tackle flabby arms, thighs and buttocks etc.
- Reduces risk of injury – doing weight bearing exercises you strengthen connective tissue, which increases joint stability.
- Makes you stronger and more confident – it will make your everyday tasks easier, carrying groceries, lifting up kids will no longer be a pain.
- Mood elevator and confidence builder! The stronger you become, the more confident you get. Exercising produces endorphins, a chemical that makes you feel good. Harvard research showed that 10 weeks of weight training reduced symptoms of clinical depression.
- Provides great variety – there is so much you can do, with or without weights. Circuits, TRX, kettle bells, or using body weight. You don’t have to stick to the dumbbells, and you don’t have to go heavy. Moderate stimulus reminds the muscles what they are for.
- Decreases osteoporosis – Your body is designed to adapt to anything you put it though. The more weight baring exercise you do, the stronger your bones get because they have to keep up with the load. Studies show that weight training can improve bone density by 13% in just 6 months.
- Increases energy – energy is produced in the mitochondria part of the cell. How many mitochondria we have depends on several factors, one of them is exercise. The more exercise you do, the more mitochondria, therefore more energy you have.
If you have never done weights before on your own, consult a professional to show you the drills, at least for the first few weeks. It is very important that you maintain correct posture during strength training, to avoid injury!