The importance of strength training for women

Think you’ll turn into a hulk look-a-like? Let’s debunk these myths…

Since I started my fitness journey back in April I’ve faced many people saying “Why are you weight training? You’re just going to end up looking masculine”. Many women miss out on the benefits of strength training out of fear of developing big bulging muscles. This is a total misconception. High levels of estrogen make it very difficult for women to become overly muscular. When women lift weights, the changes to their muscles are generally related to tone and strength, rather than size.

Working with weights keeps your body working long after you’ve finished your training session.

This process is commonly called the “after-burn”. Your body is an amazing thing and will continue to burn calories in what is called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”, or EPOC. The body takes between 15 minutes and 48 hours to return to a resting state after exercise, which means you can continue burning calories post workout.

But what are the benefits of weight training, and can’t I just run on the treadmill to lose weight?

I mean hell, of course you can just run on the treadmill if you really want, and although this will aid in weight loss, you won’t build up any lean muscle mass, which in turn will make you look “toned”.

IT HELPS CONTROL WEIGHT – A regular strength training program helps you increase lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss.

PRESERVES MUSCLE MASSย – Muscle mass diminishes with age, it’s a sad but true fact. You can counteract this loss through strength training. Unfortunately for women, the percentage of fat on your body increases as you get older if you donโ€™t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose. Strength training helps preserve and enhance your muscle mass, regardless of your age.

DECREASES INJURY RISKย – When you build muscle, you help protect your joints from injury and increase your balance and coordination. This becomes increasingly important to help you maintain your independence as you age.

Fancy starting weight training?

It took me a while to get into weight training if I’m being completely honest, as a lot of the moves were so alien to me! I’d maybe picked a dumbbell twice in my life and a smith machine? Like what is that?

Worry not! You’re never alone and you’re never the only one in the gym just starting out.

Using your own body weight for resistance is a great way to begin and an awesome way to increase muscular strength. Pushups, pull ups, and abdominal crunches are some of the simplest exercises that use body weight. But also exercises that you can slowly add weight to as you progress.

There’s also free weights. These include dumbbells, weight bars and barbells. If you want to start your weight training at home before you join a gym, free weights are relatively inexpensive and you can pick them up online. My favourites are the ones from Phoenix Fitness. They have everything from light to heavy for your home workout sessions. Also, if you fancy grabbing some, make sure you use my code SOPHIE20 and save yourself 20%!

Last but certainly not least, the ol’ weight machines. When you get started these may seem daunting. A lot of machines will have instructions on them, you can also hop onto YouTube as there are so many cool ways to use machines on there. Many gyms offer circuit-style weight machines targeting different muscle areas of the body. If you are really unsure, I’d recommend having an induction at your gym first. A trainer will be able to show you the ropes and recommend what machines will aid you in achieving your goals!

There are also so many guides you can buy on the internet; almost 100% of them include some kind of weight based training. I can recommend a few should you need help ๐Ÿ™‚ feel free to drop a comment below or ping me an email via the contact page.

Weight training has been the biggest attributer to my fat loss. That and eating well. Basically (I know I go on about it loads) fitness and health is a lifestyle choice. Unfortunately there is no quick fix. Please don’t follow fad diets, drink diet shakes as meal replacements or try any crazy pills/gels. Yes you may lose weight quickly, but you’re almost guaranteed to put it back on even faster.

To sustain your weight/fat loss, it’s a slow, but worthwhile journey ๐Ÿ™‚

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2 Comments

  1. Nov 11, 2018 / 2:48 pm

    This is such a great post Sophie. It’s only recently that I started focusing more on strength training and I am all aware of its benefits although I must say, it’s not my favourite activity to do but just thinking of the benefits keeps me motivated.

    • Nov 12, 2018 / 2:09 pm

      Thanks so much Petra! It takes a while to get into but it’s so beneficial. X

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