You know, weights and men go together. Seriously! That is what I thought growing up. All those hunky men in magazines or on movie screens lifted serious weight.
But women. Well their dainty, lighter frames needed to be treated with respect. Who wanted ugly bulging biceps or nerves? Right? Wrong.
This is a huge myth related to weight training that we build pumped up muscles. Trust me, it is not easy to build that.
You need to lift a lot of weight over a long period of time to get rippling muscles. Instead weight training gives you a lovely toned look.
Have you wondered why you don’t lose that pesky belly fat? Are you feeling that despite eating healthy and smaller meals, you weight loss goals have hit a plateau?
Or that it is difficult to shed and maintain weight as you grow older? It is because your daily walks, treadmill or even Yoga can only take you so far.
If you wish to have healthier bodies with the optimum muscle to fat mass, hourglass figures and stronger bones, you have to lift weights.
I have been strength training for the past 1.5 decades. I was perhaps the first in my family to buy dumbbells and use them.
As I have a slim bone structure and history of osteoporosis in my family, I was conscious of maintaining my bone health. And it has reaped rich dividends.
Here are 6 reasons why women must absolutely lift weight:
With each passing decade, our bone mass reduces and is not replenished. As women enter their 40s, they inch closer to menopause and osteoporosis or brittle bones could catch them by surprise.
Weight bearing exercise (even against your own body weight) help maintain your body’s bone mass keeping them healthy.
Since my mum had osteoporosis, I am even more conscious of this fact.
Yes, a leaner body with curves is possible only if you strength train or lift weights.
That way you will have optimum fat to muscle ratio. Strength training or weight training help you lose both fat and muscle and not one at the cost of another giving your body a toned, balanced look and yes an hourglass figure.
Easier to maintain weight:
Most women I know work hard for a few months shedding kilos by controlling diet and rigourous workout.
They seem to gain all the weight once they slacken their strict regimen. Strength training helps create more muscle mass in your body which ups your metabolism and helps you burn more calories even at rest.
If you do only cardio, you will not have the same benefit. Of course exercise and a balanced diet is a key to a fit body.
Don't go overboard on either and it will be a comfortable part of your routine.
If you exercise regularly you would have noticed this. Research has shown that you get to experience the benefits of better energy many hours after you have lifted weights.
Burn Belly Fat:
An anathema of most women is the stubborn belly fat that does not seem to go no matter how much you workout.
One of the best ways to combat this problem is resistance training. As your body burns fat and gets leaner, you will see your abdomen become leaner as well.
This has its own health benefits apart from the aesthetic value. More belly fat is considered bad from the point of view of heart disease hence losing it is something all of us must strive for.
Great for stress and brain function:
Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happier.
But moderate weightlifting especially in older adults can help them cope with stress better as well as improve their cognitive function. It is like keeping all your muscles in good shape.
I hope these will inspire you to pick up those weights today.
As a woman who has had 2 children and has a stressful and full life, strength training helps me in keeping my weight stable and my body lean.
If you are starting out, join a gym with a personal trainer at least in the beginning so that you learn the correct way of doing the training.
Once comfortable you can do them at your neighborhood gym or home by yourself.
I highly recommend Fitness Blender as an excellent resource for videos for everyone at all levels right from beginner to advanced.
There are a number of free resources and very reasonably priced regimens that you can buy.
Do make sure that you do the exercises correctly when you are doing them at home.
So ladies what are your waiting for? Get your weights and begin lifting today. Whether it is curls, chest press, lunges, squats or deadlifts, include strength training in your fitness regimen today.
As a woman especially if you wish to stay fit, get lean, fit into those gorgeous jeans and deal with a stressful career and home, try strength training today.
Shailaja V says
Very useful post, Rachna. Aparna has also been telling me about the Fitness Blender videos for a while now and of course, the benefits of strength training. Must get started on these ASAP.
Will keep all your tips in mind, especially with regard to strength training. Never done weights before so will be interesting to see how this plays out in my regimen. But I am keen to try.
I am so happy to know that you are going to give it a go. Just be extra careful when beginning and start with the lowest weight. Also know that the muscles hurt a lot the next day but it gets better as you get regular. 🙂 FitnessBlender is my absolute favourite and I swear by their quality and results. You know you can always ping me if stuck anywhere. Good luck!
Damyanti Biswas says
I do lift weights as and when I can, have two small dumb bells at home that I lift in spurts, especially when I’m on my step machine.
That's a good start. Now incorporate it for your entire body in a full-fledged manner. You will love the difference it makes to your fitness.
Well belly fat is not just a bane with women but men too i constantly struggle but my issue is i cant stop eating?
But yes weight training is good and one must do even if it is just to stay fit.. all the best with it all.. and go go go gooooo
Nabanita Dhar says
My sister lifts weights as part of her time in the gym. As for me, lifting M is just about the weight lifting I do. But yes, a very useful post for women.
the bespectacled mother says
I have been doing weights regularly and if my side bulges have disappeared it is all thanks to weights. My shoulders have also become comparatively stronger than before. I hope this post clears out the misconceptions women have with lifting weights.
Modern Gypsy says
I lift weights or do theraband workouts from time to time. Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness regime for sure!
I haven’t lifted weights ever! I workout at home – Yoga – and a brisk walk followed by climbing up three floors instead of taking the elevator. I guess I need to check out that video you recommended, Rachna. I know I need stronger shoulders, and wrists.
Thank you for this post, dear!
Do start if you have never done it. You will feel strength in your body like never before. But do start small with the lowest of weights. And don't do anything jerky. Ping me if you require any help.
Of course, Rachna! First of all, I need to ask you - I want to start jogging, but am not sure what with spondylosis - in back and neck. Every day when I go for my walk, I so feel like jogging, but hold myself back for fear of hurting my spine.
I would suggest you check with your doctor Shilpa. It is best to do that before starting any strenuous routine whether it is jogging or weight training.
Yes, Rachna..You are right! Thank you, my dear!
Sanch @ Sanch Writes says
90% of my workout is strength training with very little cardio. It helps that I dislike cardio and love weights. Technique is the most important thing of course as people do injure themselves. I get such a high when I lift heavier weights ? All the benefits you’ve mentioned are spot on.
That's wonderful, Sanch. I personally love cardio especially my runs. That is my time out with Coco, my Lab. And also I enjoy running outdoors. So yes, I balance strength training and cardio along with some Yoga thrown in. You are right. Lifting heavier weights is a high and also seeing the toned look. 🙂
I loved doing weights during my days at the gym. And I made pretty decent progress too. Now I only do upper body occasionally in the tiny gym of our apartment complex. I’m a little scared of injuring myself in the absence of a trainer so refrain from doing it at home. I do realise that this is one thing missing from my current workout. Sigh! So many things to do and so little time. A gym is actually the best bet for a complete workout.
This was a great post. As a fellow weightlifter, I can’t agree more with all of the points you made.
I’d also add that weightlifting has done wonders for the quality of sleep I get. I sleep much better and longer now than I did before I started lifting weights.
Thank you so much, Lydia. Oh yes, sleep. I get great sleep after any good workout, that is true.
Soumya Prasad says
I love lifting weights and have dumbells at home and have been thinking on investing in a kettlebell too. Weight tone my body pretty quickly and it gives me a nice head rush as well. Earlier people said that lifting weights would make me muscular and like a man. After a week of weight training, I saw that my arms were getting leaner and toned. Since then I don't listen to anyone and do what is good for my body and me.
While I have a long way to go to reach my ideal weight, I've made a start and that's what matters.
Very well penned, detailed and important post, Rachna.
I haven't got a kettlebell yet. Let me know how your experience goes. Glad you liked the post, Soumya.
I totally agree with all your points. My tryst with weights started only a year ago but I already love how toned my arms look. I don’t go to the gym so whatever exercise that can be done with dumbbells I do at home and it has helped me a lot. Plus I have seen that lifting weights also helped me in doing handstands better ? I would love to know more about the resistance workouts you do.
I don't go to the gym either. I workout at home and I have quite a set of weights at home. 🙂 I am sure you have gained a lot of strength in your arms with weight training. Your headstands are legendary, Raj. 🙂 I will be sure to share more from my own workout in the subsequent posts.
Mayuri Nidigallu says
I am so glad you wrote this post, Rachna. Most women shy away from lifting weights for various reasons, and all of them wrong!
I love lifting weights and it gives me a high like no other. I will be sharing this post with all the women I know who have gross misconceptions about weights.
Thanks Mayuri. I am glad you connected with the post. And I am so happy that so many women are taking to weight training.
True but men have it easier when it comes to losing weight as they naturally have more muscle to fat ratio. With women it is a different ball game.
Jyotirmoy Sarkar says
I can relate with this post very deeply coz am doing it from past few years, totally agree with every points.
An awesome post Rachna and just when I was considering getting into it! I had been hearing about strength training for women from 1-2 people and am in the process of figuring out how to start this.
Loved your tips and advice – great myth busting too!!
Shilpa Garg says
Oh, this busted some myths for me. Have never lifted weights. That it helps reduce belly fat has inspired me to go for it. Thanks for sharing, Rachna!
As of now, I am mostly doing body weight exercises, but now that I have mastered some of them, I am looking to add weights to those exercises. So far it’s been extremely rewarding.
Oh and Fitness Blender is fantastic. I have done their cardio workouts – not their strength training ones, will check them out too.