It feels like there is so much anxiety amongst women about lifting weights. Women feel it is a very masculine way to exercise and instead opt for Zumba, yoga, or aerobics classes. Women feel lifting weights will turn them into men with big muscles, and that they will lose their curves. I used to be part of that brigade until I started to train with weights and found out this was a myth. The truth is lifting heavy weights will create a much better looking body for most women. You don’t have to lose your curves. You won’t look masculine. That is a total lot of rubbish. Men and women’s hormonal profile is so different, and this is what determines the amount of muscle you can add. Men pack on more muscle than women as they naturally have more testosterone, a hormone. It is virtually impossible for a woman to bulk up like a man, we are just not designed like that. Thank goodness. Female bodybuilders bulk up because they inject testosterone. So, what are the benefits of women lifting weights?
Create a More Attractive Body
Lifting heavy weights builds a toned body, which to me is more attractive than a fat or emaciated body. What do you think? Gone are the days of women aspiring to be stick-thin and boyish looking. If you want to have a toned body the only real way of doing this is to lift heavy weights. Some women weigh very little but their body fat percentage is high because they have such little muscle. These women have bingo wings and muffin tops, not very hot. If you build some muscle and you weigh around the same weight on the scales your body is going to look smaller, not larger, as muscle is more compact then fat.
Reduce Your Fat
Muscle burns twenty-five times more calories than fat, and even burns calories while you are asleep. In fact, every pound of muscle uses 35 to 50 calories a day. So if you build ten pounds of extra muscle, your metabolic rate increases by 350 to 500 calories a day. This is huge, and a great way to lose the extra spare tyre. Also, by lifting weights whilst following a calorie controlled diet you are more likely to hold onto your muscle and lose mainly fat. Muscle keeps your metabolism high.
Improve Overall Fitness
Lifting weights increases your overall fitness. This is because the stronger you are the better your body will perform in daily activities, including other sports. For example, stronger legs will help you run faster.
Build Stronger Bones
Just like muscle gets stronger and bigger the more you use it, bone becomes stronger and denser when you regularly place demands upon it. Lifting weights is one of the best types of exercise for building strong bones. Having strong bones helps prevent osteoporosis and fractures in later years. This might seem unimportant in your youth, but you want to keep your body hot and not let it slip into disrepair.
Create a Youthful Body
Lifting weights helps your body age slower. Lifting weights has a beneficial impact on the ten biomarkers of aging. The biomarkers include body composition, blood lipids, blood pressure, blood glucose control, cardiorespiratory fitness, aerobic capacity, bone density, strength and muscle mass, and gene expression and telomere length. The earlier you begin lifting weights and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your future well-being. Over the longer term, lifting weights keeps your body functionally fit.
What is the Ideal Amount of Muscle for a Woman?
It is good to establish your muscle mass before you start lifting weights, as it provides a baseline. Some more sophisticated Tanita scales can give you this information. If you train consistently you can add ¼ pound to ½ pound of muscle each week. You need to be in calorie excess for this to happen though. I consider the following amounts of muscle good, average, and poor for most women:
- Exceptional– 7.7 stone
- Good – 7 stone
- Average – 6.7 stone
- Poor – 6 stone
- Awful – 5.7 stone
Tips on How to Add Muscle
I have written another article on how to add muscle mass, you can check it out. Muscle really is a girl’s best friend. Gone are the days of soft wobbly women’s bodies, and in are toned and lean functional bodies designed to stay hot for decades, not just for years. If you want a hot body you need to lift heavy.
Lorna is a personal trainer in London. If you are a woman who would like to start training with weights but not sure how to, contact Lorna today.