I have changed up my training significantly lately, which many of you have probably noticed from my stories on Instagram. These changes, specifically in regards to my weight training, has sparked some conversations amongst some of my followers. My goals for the remainder of the year is to reduce my body fat, increase muscle and to get leaner, so my trainer Kyle Ardill from SWAT Health has me lifting some heavy freaking weights plus has introduced some explosive workouts into my weekly routine.
It has been interesting to see the number of women who not only don’t do any form of weight training, but believe that it is bad for them or make them “bulky”. There are not many things I can make a definitive statement about, but I can say with absolute conviction that LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY. Actually, you may be surprised by this, but it actually does the complete opposite. Yup, weight training will make you leaner because it helps you build muscle and shed fat at the same time. But more on that later.
There is endless amounts of research that proves that there are benefits to strength training and other forms of resistance training, however women are spending most of their gym time doing cardio and it breaks my heart simply because I know how beneficial it is for us. If your reason for avoiding hitting weights during your workouts is because you hate going to the gym or feel overwhelmed by the equipment – trust me I can totally appreciate that, you can still get in a work lift at home with some basic equipment like dumbbells or kettle bells. Ladies, whatever reason you’re avoiding weights, here’s 10 reasons why you should be taking strength training seriously.
SHOP MY LOOKS: JACQUARD PRINT ACTIVE LEGGING // FITTED ACTIVE TANK IN PLUM // PRINTED CROCHET SPORTS BRA // PINK MESH CROPPED LEGGINGS // CROCHET BRA IN CERULEAN BLUE // PRINTED MESH LEGGINGS IN CERULEAN BLUE
- YOU WILL LOSE BODY FAT QUICKER: Women on average store about 10% more body fat than our male counterparts. This makes complete sense based on the fact that we are made to give birth to little humans. That being said, it can be frustrating finding ways to lower your body mass index. But here’s the truth, muscle mass burns fat. This is a scientific fact. The more time you take to develop that muscle, the quicker you’ll see the fat shedding off your body. And, the beautiful thing about muscle is that there’s no “spot treatment” necessary. If you want to lose fat in your arms, you don’t have to do one thousand bicep curls. Instead, you should build muscle all over your body, including legs, butt, core, arms, and upper body. The more muscle mass you have, the more fat it will burn—regardless of where that fat is stored.
- BURN CALORIES, ALL DAY LONG: Ladies listen up…Strength training helps you burn more calories and helps to speed up your metabolism, which means you can lose more weight. Your metabolism is the rate at which your body processes food for energy. When you strength train, your metabolism goes through the roof! In fact, studies have shown that regular strength training can increase your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) by about 5%. What does this mean exactly? Well, it means that your body burns more calories throughout the day – even while you’re not working out.
- GET STRONGER WITHOUT GETTING BULKY: I know this should have been listed as the first benefit, but I wanted to make sure you kept reading this post 😉 Becoming bulky through lifting weights is a common misconception and let me just be clear – 100% a myth. The heavier I lift, the leaner and smaller I look – hence the recent pivot in my training. Women who weight train, myself included obviously, tend to lose inches and lean out as a result of this kind of training, not gain in size. Here is the magical thing about strength training…you can shed inches where you don’t want them but it also allows you to build in places where you do. I SWEAR IT IS MAGIC. You can literally control your appearance through consistent weight training. You name it…it is possible doing this just 3x’s a week. It can tone you up, slim you down, and even give you curves in places you never thought imaginable.
- MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF: When I say this, trust me it is coming from a non superficial way. By getting stronger and noticing changes to your body over time – like being able to lift heavier and/or do more complex exercises, it helps build confidence and improve body image. And wait for it, it can also help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression and overall a great way to help deal with stress in a natural way. I am currently going through a challenging time and when I am lifting in the gym, I am totally focused on the weights I am lifting and no energy is being given to all the other crap that I have been dealing with. That hour of training acts as an escape for my mind and body.
- IT INCREASES BALANCE, STABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY: By not preserving our muscles mass we end up losing it when we get older resulting in weight gain, no to mention loss of flexibility and balance. It’s not a good look. Lifting can help you work your joints through a full range of motion, keeping them flexible and strong helping keep you steady on your feet as you get older.
- REDUCES THE RISK OF BACK PAIN, INJURIES AND ARTHRITIS: Call me crazy but as mindful and present as I should be, I am constantly obsessing about how my body will be feeling and looking as I get older. I turn the big 4-0 next year and the next decade I know is going to go by in the blink of an eye, so I am already thinking ahead and so should you. Weight training can help build connective tissue that acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Strengthening the low-back muscles helps in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. It’s super debilitating and trust me, none of you want to have to deal with that as you get older. Weight training can also ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints. Oh isn’t it so fun to think about our golden years?! LOL
- IT WILL CHALLENGE YOU KEEPING YOU INTERESTED AND MOTIVATED: Guys, doing the same damn cardio workouts week after week is bound to get boring. For anyone. Not to mention, you may seem some changes to your body at first but there is a high probability you will plateau, which can be super discouraging. Weight training is the perfect way to challenge your body and mind (yes, I think of this as a mental workout too because I have to get my head in the game when I am lifting heavy in the gym!). One of the things I love about strength training is that is always offers something new.
- REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE: Weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added (and I mean added to supplement not the main form of daily exercise), these benefits are maximized.
If you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a medal because 1) it was lengthy and 2) it means you’re actually open to learning how you can be better. I’ve never been one for progress pictures and these images were actually taken a few weeks before our big switch in my training, but continue to follow along in the coming two months for more glimpses into my workouts on Instagram, my progress and how we are modifying my training week by week.
This post is in partnership with Joe Fresh, however all views and opinions are my own