By Jill Csillag, CI-CPT
I’ll go out on a limb and surmise that if you are female and reading this, at some point and time in your life you’ve been told that lifting weights will “bulk” you up and make your….ahem…problem areas even bigger. Ladies, this is a total farce!
I’ll never forget the experience I had years ago at the gym; I was performing my weighted walking lunges around the track, when one of the old school trainers stopped me dead in my tracks to chastise me.
“You are only going to make your butt and quads bigger by what you are doing!”
Waaaa? I was dumfounded by his ignorant remark . So much so that I took it as a personal challenge, and ramped up my strength training even more to track the results.
Guess what? My butt didn’t get bigger; instead, it lifted higher and tightened up. My quadriceps grew strong like a stallion’s, I was able to power up hills, and my muscular endurance skyrocketed.
Ladies, don’t FEAR the weight room! Strength training offers so many benefits to our overall health and well-being, and you are doing yourself a great disservice by not pumping a little iron now and then.
Here are a few fast fun facts about strength training, especially as it applies to us ladies:
- Greater muscle mass ramps up your metabolism much more than just fat. In turn, we are able to burn more calories than before, even at rest. You are less likely to gain weight from a little indulgence when your muscles are strong and toned.
- Resistance training strengthen your bones! This is even more important for the post-menopausal woman. Researchers have discovered that regular weight training can increase bone density by 13% in just 6 months time. Reduce your risk of osteoporosis and lift those weights!
- Keep heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis symptoms at bay…..no brainer in this girl’s book! Regular cardiovascular exercise AND strength training keep your body moving towards better health.
- Decrease your risk of injury – Resistance training increases flexibility, balance, and overall strength, thereby making everyday tasks much easier. Think carrying bags of heavy groceries, lugging the laundry basket up and down the stairs, even picking up the kids off the floor. All easier than before!
- You look good, therefore you feel good! Self confidence levels can improve dramatically.
BUT – “I don’t want to BULK UP.”
Impossible. Well, unless you are in the gym 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, eating nothing but lean protein and dehydrating your body to look “cut” like the bodybuilders do before a competition. Or, if you are supplementing with copious amounts of male testosterone. A female body simply will not respond to a strength training routine in the way a man’s body does. It’s not plausible.
So, what do you have to lose besides possibly some unwanted fat? There is so much to be gained thru a regular strength training routine. Naturally, if you’ve not lifted weights before, get your doctor’s OK first. After that, I highly recommend enlisting the services of a personal trainer who can educate you fully on proper form and function, as well as devise a plan to ease you into a routine gently to avoid injury.
Do yourself a favor and give it a try! Walk boldly & confidently into that gym – I promise you will not regret it!
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