When most women start thinking about losing weight or getting in shape, they look to cardio exercises to help them burn calories and in turn lose pounds. Although cardio workouts including running, spinning, or group classes can be great for burning calories, boosting your mood and many other benefits, don’t be afraid to pump a little iron. I can hear you cringing now – “but I don’t want to bulk up”.
Don’t worry, ladies, you are not going to look like this from lifting weights a few times per week. Trust me women are not likely to bulk up like men from strength training. Women are physiologically unable to build large muscles like men unless they possess an abnormal amount of testosterone or receive assistance through artificial means.
Strength training is so important for your overall health that every woman should be including it in her fitness routine. Yes, that includes YOU!!! Here are just a few of the benefits of strength training:
- Helps to improve balance
- Assist in the maintenance & increase of bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- Increases muscle mass which results in a faster metabolism so your body burns more calories, even at rest
- Helps protect your joints from injury
- Studies have shown that it may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes
So what does all this mean? Don’t be afraid to start adding some strength training into your fitness routine. You should ideally be doing strength training 2-3 days per week. Most women can get by with as little as 20-30 minutes per session. According to Livestrong.com, “New England Wellness suggests that women choose a weight that causes muscle fatigue at around eight to 12 repetitions and to complete one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Choose exercises that work all of the major muscle groups.” This is also the technique used in one of my all time favorite strength programs, ChaLean Extreme. Chalene Johnson encourages women to go heavy and reach that point of fatigue to increase lean muscle mass, which has been proven to burn calories and raise your metabolism. The result is a lean, firm, well-toned physique.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start pumping some iron!