WHY WOMAN SHOULD LIFT WEIGHTS
Ladies, if you want to get fitter and stronger, lift weights! Thats the verdict of top JDP Fitness trainer Scarlet Hollands.
More often then not, many ladies and clients that walk through the door associate weight lifting with being big and bulky and turning into the she-hulk but let me tell you right here and right now… YOU WON’T!
How do I know this? I’ll be brutally honest;
Most of my young life, being an ex professional ballerina, I had spent the majority of my time worrying about being too big and too muscly as this was hugely frowned upon in the ballet industry. My days were spent rehearsing, performing and dancing some more with excessive amounts of cardio to ensure my output was a hell of a lot higher then my input (food) and this unfortunately not only lead me down the road of having a terrible relationship with food but a very unattractive physique with minimal muscle tone and a lot of skin and bone, not to mention the extremely negative perception of myself and all of the above coupled with low self-confidence and zero energy simply lead to me feeling in general, rubbish and depressed.
Since leaving this world behind and delving into the health and fitness industry I have been educated and learnt that strength and resistance training definitely doesn’t turn you into Mrs Schwarzenegger (although this is a huge misconception that I myself used to think and many women believe to be true) but gives you firstly a great toned and strong physique, an endless list of health benefits to which I will continue to explain and a bundle of confidence, energy and drive. To be able to wake up every morning and feel energised, strong, confident and niggle free is something that I can’t advocate enough and this all stems from my love and dedication to weight training.
Why is it important to be strong?
1. Metabolism and Muscles: Probably one of the most cogent effects of resistance training is the result of lifting weights has on your metabolism which ultimately leads to fat loss. In short, the more muscle a female has, the more calories she will burn at rest. So not only do muscles speed up your metabolism and therefore result in effective fat loss but we need to consume more/enough food to fuel this process to allow muscle hypertrophy (growth).
2. Bone Health: Regular resistance/strength training, surprisingly, actually improves bone health and density. To the younger females out there this may not be so appealing to you right now but when your body starts to age, you will be thankful that you began caring about your bone density when you did. Increasing bone density will mean you will reduce the potential risks of breaks and fractures particularly as we get older, reduce the onset of osteoporosis and also improve balance and connective tissue strength.
3. Improve Flexibility: Another misconception of strength training is it will inhibit flexibility. In the case of a hulk sized bodybuilder, perhaps flexibility can be limited due the immense bulk and size of their muscles but for us ladies who simply want to get fit and toned then yes, lifting weights will do just that. In some cases, better then completing endless amounts of uncomfortable static stretches. Its proven that weight lifting itself – with full range of movement – will actually improve flexibility as you are putting your muscles, joints and ligament through their full range and probably pushing past what you feel as the maximum.
4. Prevent Injury: Lifting weights is vital to avoiding injuries and staying injury free. In addition to muscles being stronger, your ligaments and tendons also improve in strength and durability which therefore will mean you are less prone to tears, sprains and other injuries in everyday activities. A ruptured ligament or tendon is not something you DO NOT wish to endure, not only is the pain unbearable but can require surgery to fix and potentially lead to permanent disability if left untreated.
5. Quick Results: Firstly, I’ll start by saying you can’t out-train a bad diet however, are you one of these ladies that eat very well, spend countless hours on that treadmill and see minimal results? Then lift some weight. Cardio will not tone/build muscle. This will simply slowly help you drop you overall weight and body fat but you will not look fit and toned at the end of it. Trust me, if you read the beginning of this blog, I experienced this first hand. Resistance Training can offer faster results if programmed individually to you coupled with a consistent healthy diet. Many clients have experienced a significant change in their body composition and muscle tone in as little as 3-4 weeks!
6. Feeling Blue: Life got you down? Exercise in general but particularly lifting weights is proven to pick you up and make you feel awesome again. This is due to a release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormone, that will help relieve pain, keep anxiety at bay and help fight depression as well as induce feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
7. Stress Relief and Sleep: Lifting weights routinely can help ease stress and insomnia. It helps regulate important functions of the body such as resting glucose metabolism, blood pressure and metabolic rate all of which contribute to stress reduction and a more restful nights sleep. Also the constructive physical change in your body will help you cope better with everyday stresses and therefore allow for a better nights kip. It will also allow you to have a deeper nights sleep which is interdependent on muscle growth. When you sleep deeply, growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) releases more growth hormone into your bloodstream. This encourages tissue growth and repair as well as the GHRH inducing a much better nights sleep.
8. Improves Cardio Strength: The hearts primary job is to pump blood, oxygen, nutrients and energy to the working muscles regardless of the type of activity. Lifting weights also increases your breathing rate and requires the heart to pump and circulate more blood to the working muscles therefore will also be training your cardiorespiratory system. This will result in the heart becoming stronger and is able to pump out more blood with each beat so ultimately works more efficiently. By keeping your rest periods shorter, increasing volume and introducing dynamic and plyometric are all ways in which you can improve cardio strength whilst lifting weights.
Ladies, if these tips still leave you with doubt about weight training, I would recommend you to get in touch with our personal trainers here at JDP Fitness and we will happily take you through a complimentary taster session. I am confident that in the hour you will feel happier, more confident and probably surprise yourself with what your body is already capable of! New Year is just around the corner so why not make your New Year’s resolution to become fitter, faster and stronger and let us help you get that ball rolling!