Strong is the New Skinny: Why Lifting Heavy Weights Is Crucial for Women
Let’s talk about lifting heavy weights. Many women are fearful that lifting heavy weights leads to “big” and “bulky” muscles. This misconception has lead many women to focus on intense cardio workouts and “light” lifting.
However, it’s time to set the record straight. Lifting weights do not lead to bulky muscles simply because women do not produce enough testosterone to produce the kind of muscles men do. Instead, lifting heavy weights helps women build lean muscle. Building lean muscle has some benefits for women including increased calorie burn, fat loss, stronger bones, slimmer figure and injury prevention. Here are five reasons to start incorporating heavyweights into your workout regime:
Increase Calorie Burn
Studies show that women that lift weights regularly burn more calories both during and after their workout.
A pound of lean muscle can burn 35 to 50 more calories per hour than a pound of fat. This means the more muscle you have, the more energy your body dissipates and the more you’ll burn calories throughout the day.
Burn More Fat
Aerobic exercises burn fat and muscle whereas weightlifting exclusively burns fat. After a heavy session of strength training, your body continues to consume additional oxygen in the hours and days that follow, ultimately increasing metabolic rate.
Build Stronger Bones
Not only does weightlifting target your muscles but it also strengthens your bones. This is especially important as you age because postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. Adding in resistance training is a great way to combat loss of bone mass. For example, when you perform a bicep curl, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bones cells resulting in stronger and denser bones.
Want to drop pounds in the most efficient way possible? It’s a common misconception that strength training leads to bulky muscles. However, the opposite is true. Yes, body weight often goes up because muscles weigh more than fat, but typically dress size will go down as your muscles become more defined. Women produce about 5 to 10 percent of the testosterone men do, which limits their muscle-building potential.
Ease Joint Pain
If running is your favorite workout, may have experienced knee or joint pain from the constant impact from running on pavement. Strength training can help combat this joint pain. Stronger muscles hold joints in place, so you can run without your knees flaring up. Additionally, if you have arthritis, lifting weights can improve motion, flexibility and ease the pain.
Lifting heavy is the key to building metabolism-revving muscle, leaning out and looking and feeling stronger. Adding in strength training to your cardio exercises will increase your work output as you’ll be able to support more power.
Strong is the new skinny, so ditch those light weights and feel awesome after every workout.