I suppose the question should be why shouldn’t women lift weights? Why do a lot of women feel that the free weights area is for men? I have asked this question to a few people (women) and they all say the same
• I feel silly
• Im not confident enough to walk over there where the men are grunting
• I can’t lift heavy so what’s the point
• And the worst reason possible – I don’t want to get big, bulky and muscular
So lets start from the top.
Why do you feel silly? You pay the same membership as everyone else so be confident – do a bit of reading or watching you tube videos so you know a few exercises to do with dumbells so you can walk over there with confidence like you own the place.
Men grunting – well its probably because they are lifting more than they can truly handle – or they are trying to impress people the ladies!
Cant lift heavy -Even if you aren’t lifting heavy everyone has to start somewhere – and if you don’t try it you will never progress or lift heavy and get that awesome buzz from realising you lifted twice as much as you could when you started.
Last one is a totally myth. Ladies we do not have the same amount of testosterone in our body that men have to make them big. We have to work twice as hard as men to keep our bodies in shape because we have oestrogen. Oestrogen increases the number of alpha-adrenergic receptors in the lower body of women. These receptors slow fat release. This is one reason why many women have a gynoid or pear shape fat distribution. It also makes women store fat just under the skin and in the arms and legs.
So women we need to pat ourselves on the back for keeping our bodies in shape – cause it is a lot harder for women than it is for men – and unless you are following a very strict diet, lifting like a bodybuilder and training like a body builder – then you will not get bulky. You will however get toned, sculpted and stronger. Your bone density will increase, and that’s really good for menopausal ladies as we need strong bones when our hormones go haywire. You will also burn more calories whilst doing absolutely nothing, as the more muscle you have the higher you bmr (the rate at which your body burns calories whilst doing nothing).
The reasons to lift
Weight Training will help you lose weight. There is research showing that us women will burn more calories per day for each pound of muscle we add to our frame.
Weight training can boost bone density. The stimulus for building and retaining bone density is the pull of the muscle on the bone with each contraction. Osteoporosis is a common problem in women as they age, and one prescription for preserving bone density is weight training with weights that challenge you
Both men and women lose muscle as they age. Muscle mass starts to decline by the age of 30 and drops by about 1% per year thereafter. The good news that a woman can slow down muscle loss by doing regular weight training and body weight exercises. You need to build lean body mass and strength and lifting weights that are challenging you will do this.
Without doubt weight lifting builds muscular strength. But did you know that it also builds your internal power by boosting your confidence and self-esteem. You feel strong mentally knowing that you can deadlift your own body weight. Speaking from personal experience, it also helps with anxiety and depression. This is well known to work for some people. It gives you a focus and something to aim for in terms of lifting heavier – also exercise releases a natural serotonin which helps lift your mood.
Lifting Heavy Weights stops you from focusing on your weight on the scales and makes focus on the weight you are lifting. As women we are taught to be obsessed with what we weigh. Whilst the scale is one value of body composition it is definitely not all you should concentrate on. Once you start lifting you will shift your focus to the numbers that are going up on the bar and stop worrying about what you weigh. Start measuring and photographing yourself – that is far more beneficial.
So come on Ladies – no excuses anymore – pick up the dumbells and work those biceps, triceps and lats – you will not regret it