Women & Weights

Weightlifting, strength training, resistance training… call it whatever will help you sleep better at night all the while praying you won’t get too bulky… Picture my baby blues rolling into the back of my head right about now, but ladies, for the love of all that is good and decent…. LISTEN UP!

WE ALL NEED TO DO IT!  For the remainder of this blog post I will refer to this thing we all need to be doing as “weightlifting”… I know, I know, (another eye roll) try not to faint and picture yourself as a female Governor Arnold every time you read the word… as I know it literally terrifies so many of you. From Lulu my 11yo daughter, to her YaYa my 67yo mother, lifting extraneous objects is necessary to maintaining good physical health, positive mental health, and an advantageous quality of life for the long haul.

First, a definition of weightlifting = Lifting anything outside your own bodyweight… That’s right, ANYTHING. A bag of dog food or 16 bags of groceries on one arm & a baby carrier in the other just so you don’t have to go back out to the car. How about that 12 pack of coke zero you have to put on the top of the outside fridge so nobody will know you like an occasional sip of the stuff… YUP! THAT = WEIGHTLIFTING

Now that we all have a clear picture of exactly what I mean when I use the word “weightlifting”, let’s get a little more in the weeds with these three aforementioned benefits of women’s weightlifting!

Good Physical Health means:

  1. You’ll burn more calories – YEP, strength training will help you burn more calories by turning fat into muscle! Since it takes more energy to maintain muscle than fat,  the more lean beautiful muscles you have, the more efficient a fat burning machine your body will become! 
  2. You’ll build stronger bones – Did you know that lifting weights might just be your best defense against osteoporosis?  According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “When you lift weights, you engage muscles that pull on the tendons which, in turn, pull on the bones,” says Holland. “This added stress makes bones stronger.”
  3. You’ll maintain muscle mass – Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 70, women lose an average of 22 percent of their muscle! I’ll give you ONE guess as to what our beautiful lean muscles are replaced with as they slowly atrophy… ok fine, I’ll just tell you: IT’S FAT!  Did you know that one pound of fat takes up almost 20% more space than muscle?!  
  4. Better balance – Without weightlifting simple things like putting on your britches will become a feat of great proportions over time! Aerobic exercise (cardio if you will) uses mostly slow twitch muscle fibers. Our fast twitch muscle fibers (the ones used in wieghtlifting) deteriorate with age. It’s these fast twitch fibers that contract quickly and sufficiently to say… catch ourselves should we fall.  

Positive Mental Health means:

  1. Heavy lifting high – Weightlifting has the same ability to induce pleasure that running has by releasing the same “feel good” endorphines in the brain. This “runner’s high” will henceforth be known as the “heavy lifting high”. 
  2. Less depression – Weightlifting is linked  improvements in depressive symptoms, such as low mood, a loss of interest in activities, and feelings of worthlessness. 
  3. Less anxiety – A study from the University of Georgia took a group of women with generalized anxiety disorder and assigned them to one of three groups—resistance training, aerobic exercise, and a control group. While both types of exercise led to a drop in anxiety, the women in the resistance training group saw the best results! 

Quality of Life:

With the benefits outlined above for enhanced Physical and Mental health it’s not hard to see how improvements in those two areas of one’s health lead to a better, more robust quality of life.  

  1. You can play with your kids instead of sitting on the sidelines.
  2. You can participate in activities with friends such as hiking, camping, paddle boarding, water skiing, snow skiing swimming that might not otherwise be possible.
  3. If you’re strong, you can travel the world in your golden years (I mean let’s face it… it’s the only time we’ll have the time or the moolah to do it)!
  4. You can do your own grocery shopping without a scooter.
  5. You can have and care for your own pet.
  6. You can go to the bathroom by yourself… I mean SIGN ME UP!
  7. You can EVEN maintain a healthy, intimate relationship with your spouse…. Again, I’m IN! 😉

BUT… and this is a BIG BUT (one “T”, if you’ll lift some weights) ladies… 😉 

You can only reap these benefits and do ALL these things if you will commit to getting under some load with some sort of consistency.  Two days each week is good. Three days would be better. TBH, I don’t care how often you do it, I just care that you get out of your own way on this one!  Stop making excuses about why you shouldn’t – ESPECIALLY if it involves the excuse “I just don’t want to get bulky” because I JUST CAN’T with that one! I.Just.Can’t.

I feel like I’m coming close to beating a dead horse here, but I’ll say it again… Weightlifting is NOT just for the boys… all anyone needs to do to see this FACT in action is to attend one of our Weightlifting classes at Always Strong Fitness!  The program is literally overrun with the “OLL” AKA Old Lady Lifters (their self-given label, NOT mine)! Our CrossFit classes are a great place to get some consistency lifting weights in conjuction with some heart pumping cardio soooooooo… 

Take that step, make a move, and commit to making yourself physically healthier, mentally stronger, and generally more capable today!

See you in the gym!

-R