Admit it girls, a session in the gym rarely involves a venture into the weights room and usually is centered around a cardio machine and the floor mats. While being at the gym and doing any exercise is fantastic, if you knew the benefits that resistance training offered you might not think twice about joining the big muscly men!
Benefit 1: Building muscle improves your metabolism
The first issue most women have with lifting weights is that they think that they will get bulky and develop big muscles, which I can assure you is not the case! The hormone testosterone is needed to build muscle and women produce much smaller amounts than men, so it would be impossible to start looking manly from strength training. Lifting weights will help you speed up your metabolism and burn more energy. This is because muscle requires more energy to function than fat tissue, so the food that you put into your body will be utilised more quickly and efficiently if you had more muscle. Having more muscle mass has also been found to improved the transit time food spends in the gut, reduce the risk of diabetes and decrease cardiovascular disease risk. Now more muscle doesn’t need to equate to BIG muscles, but it means that you will be more toned and have less wobbly bits! If you still think that you will get bulky have a look at these celebrities who use weights in their training programmes:
Benefit 2: Prevents Osteoporosis
Inside the bone matrix. Healthy bone on the left and osteoporotic bone on the right
You may think that you don’t need to worry about osteoporosis, especially if you are young, but women are the most susceptible sex to developing osteoporosis and everything that we do now (diet and exercise wise) will determine the strength of our bones when we are older. Bone density starts to decline at the age of 30 and is exacerbated by oestrogen deficiency (experienced in menopause), calcium and vitamin D deficiency and restricted low calorie diets. Therefore people dieting and trying to lose weight quickly could be doing serious unrepairable harm to their body. Suffers of osteoporosis experience extreme pain in joints, brittle bones and breakages however if you are clever you can provide yourself a good chance of not developing it. Weight bearing exercise (such as lifting weights) puts pressure on your bones and causes them to get stronger in order to cope with the exercise which acts as a preventive of osteoporosis. If you are trying to lose weight by eating as little as possible not only will you be seriously damaging your bones but as soon as you start eating normally again you will put the weight back on. So refer to benefit 1 and lose weight the most sensible, beneficial and healthy way.
Benefit 3: Look Toned and Sculpted
Let me make something clear… looking toned is achieved by having muscle underneath your skin not fat! Just by building more muscle and reducing your fat mass your limbs will appear longer, leaner and slimmer. Areas that used to wobbly will not wobble because you have exchanged fat for muscle. Do I need to say more? This benefit speaks for itself. Examples of tonedness achieved from resistance training:
Hopefully these benefits will have made you realise the importance of resistance training from a health perspective and inspired you to hit the gym and do some weights, don’t worry if you don’t know where or how to start my next blog post will show you exactly what to do demonstrated by me, so stay posted!!