No longer is the weight section of the gym just for the guys: female weightlifting seems to be having a moment right now as the benefits of strength training and building lean muscle mass are better understood. Here we look at the top 5 reasons why you should consider making weightlifting a part of your health and fitness regime, and some insights from Natalie Goodchild of the health and fitness blog The Blonde Ethos on the difference weightlifting has made to her fitness.
1. Stronger Bone Structure
Osteoporosis is a real concern for many women; 1 in 2 over the age of 50 will break a bone due to skeletal weakness. It’s never too early – or too late – to start though, with weightlifting helping to combat the deterioration of bone marrow to make it stronger and more durable and increasing bone density.
2. A Boost in Confidence
Instead of focusing on losing weight, your main focus with lifting weights is strength – with weight loss and toning to be the positive side effects. As your body shows what it’s capable of, the knowledge that you can achieve previously impossible goals is extremely empowering in all areas of your life. Being able to squat more than your own bodyweight? That’s pretty amazing.
Natalie says about her own weight training regime: “While it has definitely given me more body confidence, weight training has also made me more confident in my own ability to get on and do other things. It’s also really empowering to know your way around the weights section of the gym!”
3. Improves Posture
Sitting at a desk all day – and slouching over your computer, phone, and tablet all day – could seriously be ruining your posture. Not only will this create stress points in your body, but it can lead to serious injury. With weightlifting, your muscles become stronger, and – if you are using the correct form for compound lifts – you will find yourself sitting and standing just a little bit taller, as well as being able to sit more comfortably and not slouching.
4. Burning Fat
Muscles are fat-burning powerhouses, so the quickest – and arguably the easiest – way to lower your BMI is to gain some muscle. If you lift weights regularly, you’ll notice a huge soar in your metabolic rate.
Bonus: If you love food (and, let’s be serious, who doesn’t?), you’ll need to increase the amount of healthy nosh you consume to keep you fuelled. You can’t bypass meals or starve yourself while weightlifting – your muscles need a lot of food, and you’ll be burning through those calories much quicker than usual. Natalie told us that “…since I’ve been weight training, I’ve had the best body composition of my life – lower fat mass and greater muscle mass that gives that ‘toned’ look.”
5. Toning: Without ‘Bulking Up’
Many women are frightened of ‘bulking up’ if they start weightlifting. Let’s just quash this once and for all – ladies, if you do it right, it’s won’t happen. You’ll gain some muscle definition (the true ‘toned’ look – and who doesn’t want that?), but you won’t become bulky if that’s not your intention and without a lot of hard work.
Put simply: weightlifting 3-4 times a week will change your body, but you’re not going to look like a human tank. As Natalie says, “… the biggest misconception amongst women and weightlifting is that they’ll ‘bulk up’ and appear big. The reality is that it’s extremely difficult to achieve a body builder physique.”
Weightlifting promises improved bone structure and posture, a boost in confidence and a healthy, effective, no-fad way to burn fat (and no accidental hulk-like gains in sight); you’re donning your gym kit as we speak, right?
If you have any questions about female weightlifting, please ask us in the comments below.
Thanks so much to Natalie at The Blonde Ethos for giving us her two cents on weightlifting and its benefits! You can catch her here…