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Important Note: Always ask your doctor before beginning a workout routine. Always seek out a personal trainer to help with proper form so you don’t injure yourself. 🙂
I LOVE lifting weights. It’s probably my favorite form of exercise, I’m so not a “I love running and all things cardio!” type of girl. But whenever I try to talk to a girl friend of mine into lifting weights with me, the response is always the same, “eh… I don’t know… lifting weights isn’t really my thing, I want to look like a girl not like a man.” haha! Okay, let me set one thing straight (and if you look on any other weight lifting page it will tell you the same thing), lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky! The women you see who look like men, with the grossly large muscles, in general are taking testosterone supplements and possibly steroids in order to look that way. Don’t take those things and you wont look that way!
In fact you will look slim, sleek and toned. Instead of being skinny fat – you know where you look ok in clothes because you’re thin, but naked you have no tone – you will be toned and look amazing in the nude.
Okay so you want reasons to lift heavy weights instead of tiny dinky ones?
1. It builds muscle faster.
I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking “Well duh, weight lifting = building muscles, who knew?!” But I just wanted to reiterate that while lifting light weights can increase your endurance, it’s nothing more than weighted cardio. To build real muscle you need to lift heavy weights. You want to lift the heaviest weight you can lift for 8-12 reps, if you can’t lift 8 reps it’s too heavy if you lift more than 12 reps it’s too light.
2. According to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, when you build muscle you burn fat continuously! 2 sessions of heavy lifting a week will burn 3% body fat in 10 weeks without cutting calories. You’ll also burn 100 more calories than if you did only cardio, even though your heart rate monitor and calorie counter may tell you that the cardio you just did for an hour burned more than weight lifting, throughout at 24 hour period weight lifting will continue to burn calories and end up burning 100 more than the “cardio only” counterparts. (Put cardio and weight lifting together for a fantastic continuous burn!)
3. In a study from the University of Alabama in Birmingham they showed that dieters who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as dieters who did just cardio, but all the weight lost by the weight lifters was primarily fat while the cardio ladies lost muscle along with some fat. That equaled smaller clothing sizes for the weight lifters compared to the cardio goers.
4. Lifting weights prevents osteoperosis and can even help build stronger bones. Check out this article which talks about weight training for osteoperosis
5. According to Harvard University Women who lift heavy weights lose more belly fat than those who don’t lift weights. Weight lifting targets intra-abdominal fat and helps you loose the visceral fat, something that crunches alone cannot do.
6. Lifting heavy weights makes you feel amazing. Whenever I’m in the gym lifting heavy weights, I feel like a beast, like I can take on the world! A feeling of empowerment, knowing that you aren’t some weakling walking alongside the road and that people may misjudge you and you could prove them wrong. I’m particularly fond of the leg press, women tend to have stronger leg muscles than men do and it was always fun to be able to do more than a guy can.
7. Strengthening your muscles can help with your cardio. If you are still a cardio lover, adding some weight lifting can improve your knees and joints so that your runs are faster and less painful.
8. You’ll reduce your risk of heart diseases and diabetes, “Muscle helps remove glucose and triglycerides from the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as hardening of the arteries,” says Timothy Church, MD, PhD, a preventive medicine expert at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Want some weights to start out with? Check out this 105lb adjustable barbell set or these adjustable free weights (they go up to 105lbs as well!) Please note; these are adjustable and range from lighter weights to heavier weights. I in no way recommend using 105lb weights when you are just starting out, but you can work your way up to it.
Cardio is still a great workout, I myself am not able to do any high impact workouts, so I stick with weights as it doesn’t jar my knees or joints (provided I’m doing techniques correctly!) anyone who does both cardio and weight lifting will gain the most benefits. But it IS possible to have benefits with only one or the other 🙂
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this article!
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**Article edited on 1/20/14 to include references and important notes.
***ALWAYS check with a doctor before beginning a workout routine! ALWAYS make sure you know how to do proper form. If you are unsure of proper form please seek out a personal trainer to show you how to do the moves so that you do not injure yourself. ***