Why you should be lifting weights
Most women associate the word ‘bodybuilder’ with the either the image of big, fake-tanned man stood tensed with popping muscles or ladies that look masculine or ‘bulky’.
If you search this in google the definition is as follows: ‘a person who strengthens and enlarges the muscles of their body through strenuous exercise.’
Does this still present the same image as previously? I bet it doesn’t.
Bodybuilding is something that was mostly associated with men but in recent years we are seeing a dramatic shift in this as weight lifting is becoming much more fashionable and we see much more ladies filling the squat racks and the free weights area. Something which I personally find very empowering.
Gone are the days of men occupying these sections and women shying away from these taking over the cardio equipment – it’s fantastic! Yet if you were to say to many females that there approach to training would be categorised as ‘bodybuilding’, many would be astounded and perhaps even be put off.
The fear of weight gain…
Strength training in females in particular can often be neglected in fear of gaining weight and in seeing this on the scale alongside the misinformation that they will look at a dumbbell and increase their muscle mass significantly and lose their femininity.
Gaining muscle mass has different varying factors from genetics, training age, training volume and frequencies along with nutrition, sleep, recovery and stress.
The rate at how someone’s physique develops will depend on these factors but I can guarantee you that anyone who gained significant muscle tissue did not do this by accident, they have controlled and monitored each of these factors in their favour in huge attempts to gain.
If you are serious about building your physique and obtaining a better body composition the obsession with a low body weight must be removed.
Take these images below.
In both of these images I am 66kg and in between the 3 years there has been both times of heavier body weights and lighter weights with times of different goals. As you can see the differences in body composition are significantly different.
I have a lot more muscle mass now and as a result at the same body weight my body fat is also lower.
Most people embark on a journey to create a better aesthetic appearance yet there are actually a whole host of benefits to lifting weights.
⦁ Increased body confidence and self-esteem
Often woman are afraid of lifting weights as they have the fear it will make them appear more ‘bulky’ and ‘blocky’. They are likely to be under the illusion they will gain significant muscle mass and will as a result lose their feminine shape. This will not happen. Instead, by building more muscle mass in certain areas, a more pronounced shape will develop with curves in all the right places.
Look at a Figure competitor for example. They have created width in their back and capped shoulders presenting the illusion of a smaller waistline along with a set of rounded glutes and muscle in their legs creating great shape and symmetry.
How much size you wish to build is up to you over a long period of time and training can be suited and adapted to these goals which is the beauty of weight lifting. You aren’t going to get huge overnight, it takes hard work and dedication over a long period of time to gain the amount of size to make you ‘big.’
Similarly, we look at women who are commonly referred to as ‘skinny fat’ this is due to prioritising cardio over weight training along with a lower calorie diet. When they lost weight they haven’t incorporated strength training to build and protect lean muscle tissue which would help to tighten and firm their bodies.
A female who lifts heavy weights is empowering and feels more confident in themselves. This is something that I believed should be desired, not feared, by all ladies!
Your body is a canvas and with the utilisation of weight lifting you have the ability to make it look more how you want it to.
⦁ Increased metabolic efficiency
By weight training you increase your muscle mass which leads to a requirement for more calories. The recovery demand will also be greater and one component in recovering adequately will come from the food you eat and its quantities.
⦁ Stronger bones
Resistance training can help to strengthen bones which particularly in females will be extremely important as we age. After menopause women are at risk of developing osteoporosis as the body no longer secretes oestrogen so by incorporating resistance training and a higher protein diet this will help protect the loss of bone density. Bone weakness can also be attributed to by lack of physical activity and weight lifting so adding some of these activities will aid the maintenance of good bone health.
⦁ A boost in stamina and energy
As you gain more strength and fitness, you will have more energy for standard day to day tasks and feel more motivation as you don’t get as tired.
⦁ The amount of variation to programming prevents boredom
You can progressively overload muscles in so many different capacities from loads, rep ranges, rest periods, exercise selections and the different styles of programming are endless.
If you are running you may start at 5k then you stall, you then increase the distance and before you know it you’re running 10miles and your results aren’t being reflected by your efforts when you fail to see more improvements.
With there being so many positives to take from lifting weights, I am yet to meet a woman who regrets this decision to change their methods.
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