The sheer look of wide-eyed terror from her as I carried through what looked must have looked like the ultimate dumbbell of doom. My client exclaimed, quite loudly, “But that’s a man weight!”.
Holding back the cringe of hearing that, I looked down at the weight, looked back at her and bluntly asked “Did it tell you that because it just looks like a weight to me?”
This sort of attitude is almost engrained in females and on some level it’s easy to see why.
For example, in looking at stock photos to go with this post I looked on one site and nearly every female was holding some shitty little pink dumbbell, it’s annoying.
Yes, today’s post is about reasons why females should lift weights and by weights, I mean actual weights that will challenge you to work hard.
#1 Losing weight is made a whole lot easier for you!
Nearly every female I talk to during a gym induction state one of their main goals is to lose weight. When I see them in the gym a few weeks down the road, they’re usually lifting some ridiculously light weight. The sort of weight where your weekly shopping would be heavier.
Don’t get me wrong though, I applaud anyone who wishes to move more and get a bit fitter, it’s just they can be a bit misguided about what to do.
There’s two factors to consider here:
1. Using resistance training in a well designed training plan creates a greater metabolic demand on your body (even for several hours after your workout finishes). This means your body will continue to burn calories which aids in losing body fat.
2. By adding some healthy, lean muscle you will increase your resting metabolism. This means your body will naturally burn a few more calories throughout the day, again the more calories you can burn, the easier it is to lose the weight.
#2 Resistance training will get you stronger and it won’t cause you to bulk up!
Not a week goes by where I don’t hear the common concern regarding lifting weights and bulking up. So here’s the deal – A few weeks / months with a well designed training plan will not have you waking up looking like some she-hulk with arms ripping the sleeves of anything you want to wear.
The reason for this is because of a hormone called Testosterone. Men have a higher level of this hormone than females which allows them to build muscle a lot easier. In females, the testosterone levels are between 10 and 30 times less than in men. This means it’s a whole lot more difficult to add muscle.
So I’m not saying you won’t build some muscle and, as discussed in the first point, adding some muscle is a good thing for you.
However, what I am saying is you won’t get all muscle bound and have to start walking through doors sideways because you won’t fit otherwise. You will also notice yourself getting stronger and this is definitely a good thing as it makes a lot of everyday activities so much easier.
#3 Your risk of osteoporosis decreases!
Whilst we are all rushing for that perfect summer body, sometimes you also have to think long term and this is definitely a biggie.
For anyone who isn’t aware of what osteoporosis is, here is a definition:
“a disorder in which the bones become increasingly porous, brittle, and subject to fracture, owing to loss of calcium and other mineral components,”
Resistance training can help to maintain and in some cases increase your bone density. Couple the resistance training with a healthy way of eating, it will provide you with a long term payoff.
#4 Your health!
Sometimes, it is not just all about looking good on the outside, you want to be healthy on the inside too and resistance training can help. As above, having that perfect summer body is all well and good but what’s going on in your body is even more important.
Resistance training, in particular strength training has been linked to reductions in blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol and helping with Type 2 Diabetes.
#5 Look, feel and move better!
A good training plan can strengthen key muscles and help to get them moving better. It is amazing how some aches, pains and niggles can decrease or even go away when your muscles start to get stronger and you’re moving better.
For athletes and those who play sports, strength training can really improve overall performance as well. Imagine playing or competing in your sport and being stronger, faster and more explosive as well as moving better.
To finish up the story of my client who looked like a rabbit in headlights at the “man weight”, after some convincing she knocked out 10 easy reps with the weight and turned to me and said “That wasn’t heavy.” That was an awesome moment! Since that point, quite a few of the weights went up in other exercises; all it took was that initial push.
This particular client then went on to lose about 2 stone in weight and drop a few dress sizes. Food for thought if you current light weight high rep workout isn't getting the results you had hoped for.
To wrap up, the key take home message is to place a demand on your body through the training so it adapts. For example, if you’re doing 50 tricep kickbacks with a 1kg weight whilst checking your latest Facebook notifications, this won’t get you where you want to be.
If you can handle a 15kg weight for an exercise, don’t use a 1 kg weight. Challenge yourself.
I’ve worked with a number of females who are still growing stronger and realising just what they’re capable of with a proper program designed for them and personal training to help them with that extra push.
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!