As a Crossfit Trainer, I get the following comment quite frequently -
“But I don’t want to get big muscles by participating in resistance training. I should be sticking with cardio and if anything, exercises with low weights and high reps. Right?”
There is a tragic misconception in the fitness world of women getting bulky lifting with weights and I would like to nip this one in the bud once and for all. The benefits of lifting will blow your mind and have you thinking twice before leaving the gym after another mundane treadmill run.
Change your Body Composition - Women produce a fraction of the testosterone (muscle building hormone) that a male does, making it nearly impossible for females to be looked at like a “beef-cake.” The female body builders that you see on TV have incredible genetics, coupled with a specific diet, a rigorous training regime and unfortunately most of the time take unnatural supplements (a.k.a steroids). For the average “Jane,” lifting weights will have you burning more calories long after your workout is over. Combine lifting with a healthy diet and before long your muscle-to-fat ratio will improve. Inevitably those “oh you look so lean and fit” comments will start flying from all directions.
Lifting is the fountain of youth - Aging stinks! However, resistance training provides a light at the end of the tunnel. By loading your body with compound, multi-joint lifts such as the deadlift, power clean and overhead press you reverse the aging process by increasing your bone density, strengthening your joints, and revving up your metabolism. How would you like to be able to lift up your 70 pound grandson long into your 70’s?
Increase your Brain Power - Did you know that lifting weights combats an aging brain? According to John Ratey in his book Spark, “We discovered in the 1990s that exercise was a way to prevent cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer's. We now have tons of studies that show how regular physical activity can prevent the age-related brain fogginess that often develops by age 65.” Yes, there is as much of an improvement physically as there is mentally with resistance training and exercise.
There you have it. Lifting with weights increases your metabolism, strengthens bones and joints, alters the aging process and improves cognitive function. The next time you’re at the gym, forgo the treadmill and don’t forget to “pick things up, and put them down!”