Friday, March 2, 2012

Fitness Friday - Why Women Should Lift Weights

I was going to share with you my breakfast smoothie recipe today, but I came across this article that I thought was important to share.  All to often women think that cardio is a main component of losing weight and toning up, but the truth is, you can't tone what you don't have and prolonged stints of cardio actually burn muscle.  I found this article to be straight and to the point so I wanted to highlight some key points here:

1. Strength training can help you lose weight.

Too many women focus on cardio workouts or diets alone for weight loss. In reality, our muscles are the "engines" that actually burn the calories we consume. If we don't use that engine and keep it progressively tuned, it can't burn the fuel. Strength training is a powerful tool to help you achieve your goal weight.

2. Strength training can help reduce stress.

If you’re looking for something cathartic, try a good strength workout. There is nothing more stress-relieving than deadlifts, kettlebell swings or ball slamming. Heavy work raises the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Most antidepressants work by doing the same thing. Strength work can give you a happy boost and calm you down as well.

3. Strength training makes you stronger.

Having functional strength helps with everyday life. Ever rearrange your living room? Do you lift children or groceries or both at the same time? Training makes you feel empowered when you no longer need to recruit a man for help.

4. Strength training is good for your heart.

The American Heart Association recommends strength training as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease in cardiac rehab patients. By making your body stronger, you also increase your endurance which puts less stress on vital organs.

5. Strength training can reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

The "use it or lose it" rule applies here. When you lift weights, you are putting a healthy dose of stress on your bones. This continual stress builds bone density and can help keep your bones strong and healthy.

When I have more time available, I will do more weight lifting, which was a main component of the Live Fit Trainer I was doing late last year:

"Many women are convinced that lifting weights will transform them into fist-pounding, growling wrestling stars. I get it. No woman wants to look freakishly ripped. However, unless a woman is taking large doses of hormones and eating pounds of protein a day, she won't be able to look like a man.

Women don't have enough testosterone to get the big muscles. A program of whole body functional movements (lunges, dead lifts, squats, presses) with low repetitions of progressively heavier weights will make you stronger, not bigger. This is key."

I put that last paragraph in bold because this is the thing women fear the most about strength training.  I definitely got leaner as I was lifting, not bulkier.  And now I feel strong and find myself checking out my muscles in the mirror sometimes :)

When I don't have a lot of time, or if I am really trying to lean out, I will do high intensity interval training:

"These circuit exercises are short in duration (between five and 20 minutes) and usually involve more than one repetitive movement. You will be breathing hard and they may have you teetering on the edge of passing out.

Even though this type of training tends to be short, it increases your metabolism rate and burns calories even after you've finished. You may be sore for days."

A lot of times, hubs will train me at home with some HIIT.  The workout lasts 20 minutes, tops, but I work hard in those 20 minutes and it takes me a while to really cool down from that.  I like my workouts to be efficient and effective and HIIT really gets that done.  A great resource for these types of workouts is BodyRock.Tv.  They have great tips on eating as well as 30 day challenges with videos that can all be done at home with minimal extra equipment.

I hope you got as much out of this article as I did.  What are you waiting for?  Get to work!

1 comment:

Ashley said...

great article lady! these points are so true!

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