The stigma that women should not lift weights needs to go out like low rider jeans did (high rise waist for the win!). Many women are realizing how beneficial and empowering weightlifting can be; however, there is still a rumour that by touching a dumbbell one time we risk turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m here to bust that myth, no you won’t get bulky… but what will you get? We are all aware of the health benefits of exercise in general, but here are my top reasons to why women should lift weights!
As women we often play many roles. As mothers, wives, friends, and professionals; Improving over all body strength will help make everyday tasks easier. As we age muscle mass naturally decreases, but weight training can help preserve precious muscle, maintain mobility, and even ease aches and pains.
Burn More Calories:
Cardiovascular exercise can burn a significant number of calories during exercise, but your metabolism is only ramped up for 30-60 minutes post exercise. The “after-burn” effects of weightlifting can last 48 hours post lift. In addition, people with higher muscle mass tend to have a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR), meaning you will burn more calories AT REST!
Weight training is not just for those seeking bulging biceps or rippling abs, the ever popular “toned” look a lot of women strive for, is MUSCLE! Building muscle via weight training with help women achieve an hourglass figure, rounded glutes, defined arms and athletic legs.
Increased Confidence/Better Mood:
Not only does weightlifting increase serotonin (which effects mood, appetite, and sleep) and endorphins (the happy hormone), pushing yourself in the gym will give a sense of accomplishment which will boost your confidence not just in the gym, but in every aspect of your life too. As women, the gym can be a sometimes intimidating, male dominated place; but we can change that by inviting more strong women to make their presence known in the weight room. and show why women should lift weights
Maintain Bone Mass:
Peak bone mass in women is achieved by their mid 30’s, after that time there is a first period of rapid decrease, followed by a second decrease during menopause. High impact physical activity, such as weightlifting, provides bones with mechanical force which directly effects the modelling, remodelling, and strength of bone. Building a high amount of strength before that peak with help lessen the detrimental effects of bone loss associated with aging.
“Whatever happens in the body happens in the brain too..” Loss of muscle as we age can cause metabolic issues that decrease cognitive function. A specific and individualized weight training program can slow this decline.
Weight training not only increases strength and endurance but can be used to manage and prevent chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, low back pain, arthritis, cancer, and dementia.
Women Can Get Jacked Too!
While not all women are interested in a highly muscular physique, there is a growing number of women who are! So if you are reading this, and maybe you don’t fall into the category of weightlifting for general health, this last point is for you. Female bodybuilding is on the rise, more and more women are finding a love for pushing their bodies to the limits and breaking the current beauty standards. Woman can and should be given their spotlight on bodybuilding stages worldwide. There are no limits set just because we are female, we are all capable of building amazing, award winning physiques. In 2014 women’s bodybuilding took a hit with the ceasing of the Ms. Olympia title, this was due do lack of participants and support from the public. A notable organization with huge influence in the come back of the women’s bodybuilding division at the Olympia is Wings of Strength. Wings of strength give female athletes support in building their careers in the industry with a goal to not just maintain this division but to grow it. 2020 was a huge moment for women in the bodybuilding community, with the return of the women’s bodybuilding division. The take away? Women belong in the gym, on the Olympia stage, and every where in between!
In conclusion, when weighing the pros and cons of starting your journey into weightlifting, there is no evident reason you shouldn’t. Strong muscles, bones, and brain will help us live our lives fully. So if you are seeking improved health both physical and mental, a strong body capable of fulfilling every task that comes, or a bangin’ physique you’ll be proud to show off; the answer is simple. LIFT WEIGHTS!
My name is Shannon Mclean a 30-year-old mother of two, I found my passion in the fitness 8 years ago. I had always admired female bodybuilders such as Dana Linn Bailey, Iris Kyle, and Chyna and I strived to build such a strong and muscular physique. In 2019, I began competing in physique competitions myself; but I have found so much more than health and strength gains from the gym, this is why this article holds a special place in my heart. I want to encourage women to take the first step and see just how powerful their bodies really are!