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It is not uncommon for women to avoid the weight training area in gyms because they feel uncomfortable at the thought of lifting weights. Instead they take themselves off to aerobic classes, spend endless hours on cardio equipment & repeat the cycle day after day, week after week in an effort to lose weight and/or change the shape of their body.
There is a misconception that when women train with weights. they will develop large, unsightly muscles that make them look ‘big’ and ‘bulky'. This simply isn’t true. If your specific fitness goal is to increase your body size, you will need to pair your weight training program with an appropriate nutrition program that is specific to muscle gain and development.
The truth of the matter is that lifting weights has many documented health and fitness benefits for all women, regardless of age or fitness level.
In some instances when women do start to lift weights, they are concerned that lifting heavy means getting bulky, so opt for lighter weights with high repetitions or doing classes such as Body Pump, Barre Pilates.
N.B. I am not saying that these forms of exercise don't serve a purpose, as they absolutely do. All forms of movement and exercise are valid. What I am saying is that the chosen exercise (a personal choice to us all) should be fit for the purpose (or goal) if that chosen exercise is to be effective in assisting what you want to achieve.
Lifting Light Weights with Endless Repetitions Will NOT Change the Shape of Your Body.
It Will NOT Create A Physiological Change To Your Body.
If you are serious about changing the shape of your body you need a well-structured weight training program with progressions of appropriate challenges to bring you closer to your fitness goal/s.
There is no such thing as “toning.” It is a word used to soften the fear for women who believe that lifting weights will make them bulky.
The reality is “toning” is essentially building muscle and losing body fat, and to do this you need to lift heavy weights, not a feather light dumb bell.
The health and fitness benefits of weight training for women are well documented. Lifting weights has positive benefits on women's physical and psychological health and well being.
5 Benefits of Weight Training/Strength Training for Women:
1. BURN FAT & BOOST METABOLISM
Developing lean muscle mass through resistance training will have a woman's body burn fat more efficiently, and is a great way to boost metabolism.
As muscle is metabolically active tissue, your body will burn more calories when at rest and not working out. This far exceeds the calorie expenditure at rest than someone who doesn’t weight train.
It is true to say that the more muscle you have, the greater your basal metabolic rate, the more calories you will burn throughout the day.
Weight training is understood to be one of the most effective ways to lose weight when combined with appropriate nutrition matched to your weight loss goals.
2. CREATE STRONGER BONES AND BODY
Inactivity and ageing for women can lead to a decrease in bone density and brittleness. Studies have clearly proven that consistent is an effective way to offset diminishing bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.
Resistance training Weight training can have a profound affect in increasing spinal bone mineral density, and can help to preserve and enhance both muscle and bone mass irrespective of one's age.
3. GIVES YOU A MENTAL LIFT
Lifting weights is not only beneficial to one’s physical health, but is also known to have psychological benefits.
Resistance training has been found to improve our mental health and well being, improving cognitive function, self-confidence and self-esteem, sleep quality and memory.
The sense of achievement and gratification of feeling and becoming stronger positively contributes to one’s general mood and disposition.
Lifting weights has positive benefits in managing depression and for reducing stress and anxiety. We therefore recommend that “For a mental lift, you should lift!”
4. ENHANCE BODY SHAPE AND APPEARANCE
Lifting weights does not equate with becoming big and bulky for women due to their different testosterone levels to men. Without a diet suited to gaining bulk, women who lift weights should not fear creating a “manly appearance.” as this is not the outcome of a suitably crafted resistance training program tailored for body shaping
Your overall body weight measured by scales may not change, but you will gain muscle and lose fat. Over time you will notice decreases in waist measurements, body fat measurement and an overall improved body composition
Lifting weights will help to decrease body fat, develop lean muscle mass and thereby create a physically healthier appearance.
5. HELPS TO KEEP AGEING AT BAY
Human ageing is associated with a loss of muscle, a decrease in muscular strength, and impairment in performing some activities of daily life. Typically, these changes start to occur at the age of 40, and progressively worsen with ageing.
However, it doesn’t mean that this is inevitable, as lifting weights can help reverse this process. An appropriately structured strength training program can help women to slow or possibly reverse the ageing process associated with a reduction of strength, increased body fat, reduced energy levels and mental alertness.
Physical activity keeps us alive and vibrant. Strength training ensures we are strong enough to participate in aerobic activities, outdoor recreation, and sports. Strong seniors with a developed sense of balance and proprioception, experience less falls. However, if a fall is experienced, a stronger body is more resilient and less likely to be injured by the fall. If an injury is experienced a stronger body is better able to heal and recover quickly from the injury.
If you keep using it, you won’t lose it. Lifting weights is about building muscle & creating a strong & healthy body that will have you looking & feeling better throughout your years, having you age gracefully
At Healthy Fit we encourage strength, commitment, identity and realistic body images for all women. We want to empower and inspire women to be proud of their strength.
Strength can be breaking your personal best, it can be lifting your own body weight or even achieving things you once thought you never could.
Strength is a very personal definition and comes in all shapes, sizes. Therefore, do not be afraid to push heavy or train hard. Work outside your comfort zone and achieve great things.
Believe in yourself because we believe in YOU!
We welcome all women to call on us for assistance with weight training and becoming strong.
Written by Brigitte Piscioneri
Co-Founder/Personal Trainer/Educator Brigitte has an extensive background in both education and fitness. As a successful small business owner, Brigitte is a natural leader and a highly skilled, knowledgeable fitness coach who has helped thousands of people reach their fitness goals. With more than 20 years’ of coaching experience in the fitness industry, Brigitte has undertaken studies in strength and conditioning, advanced programming, health and nutrition, Pilates, injury rehabilitation, weight management. A dynamic and creative fitness coach who is passionate about sharing health and fitness, Brigitte brings great energy and enthusiasm to her work and provides motivation, inspiration and encouragement to both clients and “The motivation behind starting Healthy Fit was our belief that health and fitness changes lives. We wanted to create a different type of fitness experience because we know that for many people, fitness doesn’t come easy and gym environments can be intimidating and overwhelming. We consciously set out to create a space that is different to other gyms. We wanted to make it fun and create a culture of welcome, providing people with a sense of safety and comfort in order to support their success to: Live Fit – Live Life!" Brigitte and her team are on a mission to give people a positive and sustainable experience of fitness and wellness.