Whenever I tell people that I like to lift weights over cardio, I always hear: “don’t get too big or muscly, that’s not attractive.” The problem with this is that they ignore the reality of just how HARD it is for a woman to actually get big. The bottom line is that strength training a few times a week will not result in a woman looking like a male power lifter. Now that that’s cleared up, we can dive into what strength training will actually do for women, and it’s a whole lot.

You’ll increase your metabolism

When you perform a really intense strength training workout, you’re capable of burning up to 500 calories in an hour. That’s almost 300 calories more than what you’d lose if you chose to take an hour long walk on the treadmill. Besides that, when compared to body fat, muscles take up more energy to maintain. This increases your basal metabolic rate, meaning that even while you’re resting on the couch being lazy, your body will still be burning calories because of those lean muscles that you’ve built. All the more reason to pile them on!

You’ll burn more calories

What also makes strength training special is that it allows you to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, producing that toned look. When you’re performing these workouts, it takes a great deal of energy out of you, so you’ll be burning a ton of calories while you’re doing them. On top of that, you continue to burn calories even after you’re done. This is done through a process called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) where your body tries to recover from the workout. It can have you burning some more calories for up to a day after your strength training session.

strength training

You’ll have stronger bones

As you age, your bones naturally become weaker which can lead to osteoporosis. This makes it so much easier for you to have fractures and breaks. For women, this is especially the case since estrogen is the hormone that protects the bones. When you hit menopause, and estrogen drops, so does your bone density.  Thankfully, strength training has been proven to increase bone density by multiple studies. So lifting up weights every now and then can save you pain, medical bills and a whole lot of headache.

You’ll prevent back pain & build better balance

If you have a desk job, it’s safe to say that you experience some back pain and discomfort from sitting in the office all the time and you may now be a victim of an endless crouch. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix that doesn’t include chiropractors and massage therapists. If you  build the muscles in your back and shoulders, not only does this improve your overall posture, but it helps to prevent back pain and lower back injuries. So, get started on those deadlifts!

You’ll build up your mental strength

It isn’t until you’re in your 4th set of bench presses, with only 3 more reps to go that you really find out your true potential. I’m still trying to figure out how, but strength training always results in you digging deep and locating the strength to persevere, allowing you to push those last few reps out. Once you do this all the time, it’s going to spill out into the other areas of your life. You’ll be confident and know that anything is possible for you and find yourself always pushing.

These are just some of the benefits I get to experience from lifting weights, and that’s why I love it so much. It also just feels so good to feel yourself becoming stronger and more capable. And you look better in jeans. And you feel less stressed out. And a whole other lot of things. So, girls don’t be afraid of heavy  weights! Have these benefits convinced you? Which have I missed out? 

Sources: BodyBuilding.comWomen’s Health Magazine , Fitness Magazine & HuffingtonPost.com

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