Perhaps you’re a personal trainer that listens to these comments and questions every single day or maybe you yourself are part of the clan that associates weight training with bodybuilders or those intense women that snatch over 300lbs overhead. Better yet, you may be the person that has walked by a woman lifting heavy weights and thought to yourself “WTF is she doing? And why on earth would she think that swinging that heavy-looking-thing-over-her-head is a good thing to do?”
Regardless of which side of the table you’re on and the preconceived notions you have about lifting weights, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands so you, once and for all, have a clear understanding of why yes, you should lift weights!
1. Armor Your Body – Your muscles are your protective armor. What do I mean by that? Let’s involve a tiny bit of science into our conversation to fully understand this concept: a joint is the location where two bones make contact. Muscles are connected to bones via tendons. We move because various muscles work in union to pull on our bones. When you lift weights, you are strengthening your muscles and tendons, which means, by definition, that you are fortifying the areas surrounding your joints. You get where I’m going with this? A stronger body moves better and faster and is less prone to injuries, slips and falls. Think of your body as your house. As you lift weights, you are building a more solid house that can withstand outside factors. Remember Miranda? She was in a car accident and was walking around for 3 weeks with a broken neck before doctors realized she needed emergency surgery as she was at major risk for paralysis. Her neck was literally hanging off of her body. They said the only reason she was not paralyzed was because of how strong her body was. Crazy. Similarly, for those of you that are parents, you know how taxing it is to run after your kids all day. Wouldn’t it feel better to be able to drop down on the floor for playtime or lift them to your arms when they’re exhausted, keep up with their fast feet and play with them all weekend with ease? Get stronger and your body will move more efficiently to keep up with them.
2. Say Goodbye To Fat – What?! Where do I sign up? Here’s the general scoop: The more muscle you gain, the higher your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories at rest). Lifting weights, unlike cardio, results in you continuously burning calories long after your workout is complete. Consistent weight training causes a permanent increase to your metabolism. Couple that with eating healthy and you will have amazing changes to your muscle to body fat ratio as will be apparent by a decrease in your body fat %, changes in your dress size, more muscle definition and countless “Wow, you look amazing and so fit”, or “Geez! You’re so tiny and toned” comments from your girl friends.
3. Fight The Aging Process – It’s inevitable. We are all getting old. Three experiences that happen as we age: 1) Our joints ache more 2) We see fat develop in certain areas that were never there 3) We walk slower and perhaps at some point, can’t get up from the toilet seat. The future does not look fun: our bones mineral density decreases, we are at risk for osteoporosis and it’s harder for us to lose fat because our metabolism is going down. So how do I delay this depressing reality? Lift weights. By loading your body/bones with weights and exercising with big movements (i.e. Squats, Deadlifts, Overhead Press), you are increasing your bone mineral density and like mentioned above, strengthening your joints and increasing your metabolism. You may not move like you did when you were 30 years old or have the metabolism of a teenager, but you will be at a lower risk for breaking your bones, feel less aches and pains and not see as drastic of a decline in your metabolism as you would if you never lifted. Start now and the future doesn’t have to look so bleak!
4. Mommyhood preparation – If you’re looking to get pregnant at some point, this is for you. Ponder this: The stronger your body, the greater your body will be able to withstand the weight gain during your pregnancy and the faster you will be able to shed the pounds after your little munchkin makes their grand entrance. Danielle is a prime example. She gained lots of muscle before her pregnancy (check out this video of her clean & jerk @ 128% of her bodyweight) and was strong enough to physically carry 45% of additional bodyweight over 38.5 weeks with twin boys. The result? Two healthy babies with a total birth weight of 14lbs. Can you imagine what could’ve happened if she wasn’t this strong going into her pregnancy?
5. Empower Yourself – If you are like most women in relationships/married, you work a 9-5 job, come home, cook dinner, and put the kids to sleep and/or hangout with your spouse. If you’re single, the latter part of your days may be spent having dinner with friends and bar hopping to scope out the scene. In both situations, you are going throughout your day in a routine that only you know too well. Wake up. Eat Breakfast. Work. Eat. Work. Come Home. Eat. Sleep. When you lift weights, you are adding a new fulfilling dimension to your life. I like to coin this “me” time – giving yourself your own undivided attention, to progress and excel at making yourself feel better, get stronger and look hotter every single day. Many days we’re tired, PMSing, feel like crap and don’t want to work out. When you commit yourself to your new lifestyle of lifting weights, you are challenging yourself mentally in ways that you never have before. You’d be amazed at how proud you’d feel after working out on an off day; be astounded by being able to lift weights that only previously were a “yeah right!” in your mind or reach fitness goals that you were doubtful could ever be achieved. Imagine how this newfound sense of empowerment could carry over into other areas of your life? You’d be unstoppable!
6. Make your ass look good – This deserves it’s own line item and can only be justified by photos from our ladies at PrettyStrong Powerlifiting who devote specific days to this topic! Enjoy!
7. Look Better Naked – Whether you are single or in a relationship, lifting weights turns the romance back on! Think about it this way: if you solely diet, you may lose pounds on a scale but only look like a smaller version of yourself. If you lift weights, you will physically look different than before because of the muscle to fat ratio changes. So imagine the confidence boost when you’re in an intimate setting. Priceless.
Three myths that must be debunked from our female mental encyclopedia:
• Myth #1: I’m going to get bulky – If I hear this phrase one more time…..When we think of bulky, we think of bodybuilders will massive quads and shredded abs who walk across the stage in tiny bikinis posing to show off their guns. Here’s the deal: women cannot physically get bulky. We do not have the natural ability to produce much testosterone, unlike our male partners. Testosterone is one of the main hormones that are responsible for increasing muscle size. Imagine how hard it is for men to increase size by merely lifting weights; now imagine women without nearly as much testosterone. Infinitely harder. The reason why female bodybuilders look the way they do is not an accident or a by-product of 3-5 hours of working out in a gym a week. It is part genetics, part synthetic testosterone (unfortunately and not always the case), a ridiculous amount of hours spent in the gym daily coupled with a specific diet. The only reason you may appear to look bigger is if you eat like crap when you are on your weight-training program. This appearance has nothing to do with lifting weights and has everything to do with what you’re putting in your mouth. It’s a classic case of thinking that “because I work out I can eat more”. Negative. Unless you are looking to gain weight, lifting weights and eating more will make the numbers on the scale go up and cause you to get insanely frustrated.
• Myth #2: Lifting weight is dangerous – This statement makes me laugh. What exactly is dangerous about lifting weights? Anything you do against its normal ways can be classified as dangerous. Driving a car and veering off the side of the road is dangerous; climbing up a ladder on unstable ground is dangerous; lifting 300lbs when you’ve never worked out before is yes, dangerous. Lifting weights, when performed in its correct fashion and under the proper intensity for that individual, is not even close to causing injury. Here’s some insight for you: weight lifting is less dangerous than playing sports. Who knew!
• Myth #3: I want to lose fat in a certain area – Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no such thing as spot reduction. We are all born with a specific type of body and we store fat differently. For example, I always had a big butt and legs and a smaller waist. For as long as I can remember growing up, I’ve wanted to have smaller legs. Not gonna happen. When I gain weight, my lower part of my body is the first to blow up; when I lose weight, my ‘target’ areas are the last to be impacted. Crap! So no, you cannot point to an area of your body that you want to get rid of and say, “I only want to focus on losing this”. Be happy with what the universe gave you. Keep working out and eating healthy and your problem areas, although maybe not to your 100% liking, will go down as much as your genetics will allow it.
Your turn to comment: What other myths are out there that you want debunked?
*Dana’s mission is to empower women worldwide to create the Fit Life that they deserve.
A sought-after Fit Life Coach, she has the innate ability to coach you in reaching your fitness goals and simultaneously drive you into discovering what you truly want in all areas of your life and directing you on how to get there. She is also the Co-Founder and CEO of fitID. Click here to inquire on how to work with Dana in-person in NYC or virtually*