Five strength training benefits for women for a toned and firm body.
Gone are the days when women doing weightlifting exercise is associated only with those dedicated, some might say obsessive, bodybuilding types. There are many health benefits – both physical and mental – and opinion is shifting, with more and more women taking up resistance training without fear of getting ‘too bulky’. It is a great way to get and maintain the lean, physique you have always wanted, but not known how to get.
Here are just five of the major training benefits for women of pumping iron as part of a fitness program.
1. It helps you lose body fat – and quickly
Weight training helps build lean muscle. Muscle is an active body tissue which uses carbohydrates and body fat as an energy source, so the more muscle you have, the more of both you burn. It also increases your metabolic rate – meaning more calories burned off, and healthier, sustained weight loss.
Studies vary as to the rate of this weight loss, but the common consensus is that for each pound of extra muscle, you can burn up to an extra 50 calories per day. Training two or three times a week for a couple of months could see you gain around two pounds of muscle. If you work out the fat loss that results as a result over the course of a year, these are pretty impressive numbers.
2. It strengthens bones and can stave off osteoporosis
As well as upping muscle, it increases bone density and strength. Over a period of time, bones are exposed to the managed stress of resistance training, which increases their ability to withstand extra load. As a result, bone matter becomes denser and the risk of breaks and fractures is reduced – as is the chance of developing osteoporosis as we get older.
Aerobic and resistance exercises both help our bones bear weight, but of the two it is the latter that is more effective in doing so. Another plus for the weights!
3. It’s more effective and varied than cardio and doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up
Let’s move on to a major concern – the possibility of becoming bulky as a result of weight training. This will only happen if you follow a specific weight regime and diet, designed with that in mind. Cardio can mean hours of gym machines and cold weather runs that can get tedious, but with strength training there are numerous exercises you can do that vary the routine, helping you avoid bulking up too much. Cardio also doesn’t strengthen your muscles, but it can strain them. A varied, well thought out weight program gives you results without the bulk.
4. It improves strength and boosts confidence
Every weight workout helps you get a little bit stronger, which means every time you do it, you’ll be able to lift a bit more. Noticeable results which satisfy and motivate you.
In the first five or six months of training, you will notice your strength increase on a weekly basis. Daily tasks which require strength and you previously shirked, will be easily sorted, and this builds confidence in so many scenarios outside of the gym. In the gym, you can’t help but feel a sense of achievement when you are able to lift as much or more weight than other bulkier specimens. Therefore, it really is a great confidence booster as well as strength enhancer.
5. It has mental as well as physical benefits
Physical benefits – of which there are many – aside, there are also many mental benefits of strength training. We’ve just touched on confidence previously but that is just the beginning of the positive effects weight exercise has on the mind.
Couple this confidence with the fact that weight-training exercise release endorphins – the neurotransmitters known to enhance mood, protect against pain, and fight off depression, then you know that you’re on to a mental winner too. Endorphins also help to boost your energy and alertness, at the same time stimulating the mind. Don’t forget the sense of achievement and satisfaction that looking and feeling great give you too.
If these benefits haven’t quite sold you yet – this very well might. One female personal trainer that was consulted for some recent research on the benefits of weight-training said she can eat eight (that’s eight) times as much as she used when just did cardio exercise. So, the next time you walk into your gym, you may want to think twice about getting on the treadmill first and make the dumbbell rack your first priority.