Step into a gym and look around. The weight room is disproportionately crowded with dudes, usually making noise and taking up space. Head over to the cardio section and you’ll notice the opposite on the treadmills. For women, lifting weights is intimidating, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there to scare you off.
If you’ve always struggled with getting in shape, or if you want to take your fitness to the next level, chances are cardio alone won’t get you there. While there are definitely still stereotypes that exist, more and more women are reaching for the weights in the gym. Here are 9 reasons why you should too.
When you’re on a treadmill, there’s a screen to tell you exactly how many calories you’ve burned as a result of your grueling hard work, but the counter stops the moment you step off. If you spend half an hour on the treadmill and knock off 150 calories, you’ll see your effort negated with a granola bar, or even a large banana. When you lift weights, on the other hand, you fuel your metabolism and set yourself up to burn more calories throughout the day, long after you’ve left the gym. This happens because muscles take energy to maintain, and the more you have, the more you need to eat just to keep up; This is why athletes need more food than the average person
Lower Body Fat
Body fat is relative. It is a function of how much of your weight is composed of muscle, fat, bone, and other tissue. As you gain more muscle, the relative proportion of fat on your body becomes smaller. Plus, inch-for-inch, muscle weighs more than fat. So, as flab turns into abs, you’ll start to see a slimmer profile.
Weights are tiring. Now that’s not to say that cardio isn’t, because it is. But, when you perform resistance training, you develop micro-tears in your muscle fibres, and these need time to repair. Once you start lifting weights, you’ll find yourself ready for rest and recovery.
With booty blasting workouts all over Instagram, curves are all the rage. Resistance training is hugely beneficial if you want to add some shape to your figure. Though weight loss is nice, with cardio alone, those pounds will come at the expense of both fat and muscle. Regular weight training will help you maintain the strength and definition that you've worked so hard for.
Lifting weights does more than develop muscles; Your bones also respond positively to the stress of resistance training. This is great for preventing injuries and things like osteoporosis.
Injury prevention, you say? Well how's that for a smooth segue. Building muscle isn’t just about glamour. When you develop strength in your legs and lower back, it will help prevent movement-related injuries. Just make sure to use proper form and manageable weights to stay safe during training.
Lifting weights makes you stronger. Shocker, right? And the strength you build in the gym isn’t just for exercises. Resistance training is a great way to make everyday tasks easier, from carrying in the groceries to helping your friend move.
There are heaps of evidence that link all forms of physical activity with stress relief. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which react with your brain’s receptors to trigger positive feelings. While it may not always result in an insta-worthy post-workout glow, you’ll always feel better after hitting the gym. And don’t get me started on kickboxing…
Very few people actually have proper poster; shoulders back, core tight… With an office job, it’s easy to let that backbone slide. Resistance training will help strengthen the muscles in your core to help you stand up naturally straighter. Pulling exercises, like rows, will tighten your upper back and prevent your shoulders from slouching inwards.
You Won’t Get Too Big, Trust Me
A lot of women are scared that lifting weights will result in bulk, or ‘manly’ muscles. If building big muscles were as easy as picking up a few weights, every guy in the gym would look like Zac Efron. The truth is, muscle gain is largely a function of diet, and to gain size, you need to substantially increase your calorie intake. Protein powder is a great way to help your muscles recover without adding excess calories. The average women needs 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (0.8 g/kg), and it's especially important after resistance training. Add a scoop of Suppy to up your intake and hit your daily protein target.
If you can't wait for the weights, and you’re looking for tips to get started, check out our post on how to get into into weightlighting.