Women often times are intimidated by weight training and have this fear of looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. First, let me say there is no way for a woman to look manly when weight training unless she is using some sort of enhancer; our bodies simply don’t make that much testosterone. I started lifting weights when I first started this process and they have helped me make a significant amount of progress over the past 7 months. Actually, when I go to the gym my main focus is pumping iron. I usually do anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes of cardio before I hit the weights. Throughout my journey, I have done an endless amount of research on why weight training is so effective and I’m going to give you everything from multiple sources in a nutshell.
MORE EFFECTIVE FAT LOSS
Think weightlifting only benefits those who want shirt-ripping arms? Think again.Although many people consider weightlifting only a means to add size, when contrasted head-to-head against cardiovascular exercise, resistance training comes out on top in the battle to burn calories.The huge advantage to weight training is your body’s ability to burn fat during and after exercise.
As you build muscle, your body begins to take a nice hourglass shape. Though endurance exercise can help you lose weight, that weight comes in the form of both fat and muscle tissue.If you’re losing both fat and muscle, you can lose those lovely curves as well. Strength training can help create and sustain them.
Boost your metabolism
The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
MORE MUSCLE, MORE CALORIE EXPENDITURE
As you increase strength and lean muscle mass, your body uses calories more efficiently. Daily muscle contractions from a simple blink to a heavy squat contribute to how many calories you burn in a given day. Sitting burns fewer calories than standing; standing burns fewer than walking, and walking burns fewer than strength training.The more muscle contractions you experience during a day, the more calories you’ll burn. If you have more lean muscle mass, you’ll have more muscle contractions and thus burn more calories.
As noted above, resistance training causes an increase in energy expenditure hours after you train. A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that the chronic increase in energy expenditure, even after a minimal resistance training session, may favorably affect energy balance and fat oxidation.2 Rather than reaching for that early afternoon cup of coffee, grab a barbell.
As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
You’ll Boost Your Flexibility
Ignore that super ripped guy fumbling in yoga class for just a minute. Researchers from the University of North Dakota pitted static stretches against strength-training exercises and found that full-range resistance training workouts can improve flexibility just as well as your typical static stretching regimen. The key word here is “full-range,” notes Sinkler. If you can’t complete the full motion—going all the way up and all the way down—with a given weight, you may need to use a lighter dumbbell and work up to it
You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, in conjunction with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.
Defend Against Diabetes
In addition to keeping your ticker strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 weeks of strength training can improve glucose metabolism in a way that is comparable to taking diabetes medication. The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.