Many women believe that lifting weights will result in them looking like men, bulking up, or stop burning calories. All of this is untrue! The women you see who look like men, with the grossly large muscles, in general are taking testosterone supplements and possibly steroids in order to look that way. They also spend an inordinate amount of time (3 to 5 hours a day, 5-7 days a week) in order to obtain that large size and muscle development. Don’t take those things and make lifting your everyday job and you won’t look that way! In fact you will look slim, sleek and fit. Instead of being skinny fat – you know where you look ok in clothes because you’re thin, but not so good in a swimsuit because you have no lean muscle – you will be healthy and look amazing in practically everything.
Okay so you want reasons to lift heavy weights instead of tiny dinky ones?
1. It builds muscle faster.
I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking “Well duh, weight lifting = building muscles, who knew?!” But I just wanted to reiterate that while lifting light weights can increase your endurance, it’s nothing more than weighted cardio. To build real muscle you need to lift heavy weights. You want to lift the heaviest weight you can lift for 8-12 reps, if you can’t lift 8 reps it’s too heavy if you lift more than 12 reps it’s too light.
2. According to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, when you build muscle you burn fat continuously! 2 sessions of heavy lifting a week will burn 3% body fat in 10 weeks without cutting calories. You’ll also burn 100 more calories than if you did only cardio, even though your heart rate monitor and calorie counter may tell you that the cardio you just did for an hour burned more than weight lifting, throughout at 24 hour period weight lifting will continue to burn calories and end up burning 100 more than the “cardio only” counterparts. (Put cardio and weight lifting together for a fantastic continuous burn!)
3. In a study from the University of Alabama in Birmingham they showed that dieters who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as dieters who did just cardio, but all the weight lost by the weight lifters was primarily fat while the cardio ladies lost muscle along with some fat. That equaled smaller clothing sizes for the weight lifters compared to the cardio goers.
4. Lifting weights prevents osteoporosis and can even help build stronger bones.
5. Women who lift heavy weights lose more belly fat than those who don’t. Weight lifting targets intra-abdominal fat and helps you lose the pooch and enjoy a flat belly faster than cardio and more lean muscle than cardio.
6. Lifting heavy weights makes you feel amazing. Lifting heavy weights successfully can aid in building your self-efficacy, and leave you feeling like you can take on the world! A feeling of
empowerment, knowing that you aren’t some weakling walking alongside the road and that people may misjudge you and you could prove them wrong.
7. Strengthening your muscles can help with your cardio. If you are still a cardio lover, adding some weight lifting can improve your knees and joints so that your runs are faster and less painful. Muscles absorb the stress or impact that would normally be relegated to your bones, tendons, and joints! Stronger muscles mean injury reduction and less wear and tear on your joints!
8. You’ll reduce your risk of heart diseases and diabetes, “Muscle helps remove glucose and triglycerides from the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of type II diabetes, as well as hardening of the arteries,” says Timothy Church, MD, PhD, a preventive medicine expert at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Cardio is still a great workout, but high impact workouts which can be hard on the knees and joints, and anyone who does both cardio and weight lifting will gain the most benefits.