Updated: Oct 13, 2021
For years women have avoided the weight rack. Why?
For fear of bulking up, looking masculine, intimidation, or the misconception that cardio is the best way to achieve weight loss.
Well it's time to bust the myths and shed light on some of the pretty great benefits of adding strength training to your life.
Strength training is actually an important part of maintaining your overall health, especially as you age. That's because muscular strength supports agility, balance and coordination and helps you to perform everyday functions like unloading the groceries, going up and down the stairs, sitting down and standing up with ease. It also plays a key role in reducing your risk of injury.
And if one of your healthy living goals includes weight loss, then you want to build that fat burning muscle! The more lean muscle mass you have in your body, the more efficient your body is at burning calories, which translates to lost inches all over your body.
Ready to learn more? Ok, let's bust those myths and explore some of the awesome benefits of picking up a dumbbell!
The top 5 misconceptions of strength training:
1. Weight lifting is for men. The idea that the weight room is only for men is simply outdated. Statistics show that more and more women are adding weight training to their fitness routine. Why? Because they're realizing all the great benefits! Regular strength training helps you build muscle, burn fat, sculpt and shape your body. And if that's not enough, it's a key component of supporting healthy balance, coordination and posture too, which all translates to less risk of injury.
2. You're going to "bulk up." Statistically speaking, women are just not physiologically made to build muscle mass like men. In general, women have 15 to 20 times lower testosterone levels than men, therefore the chance of you getting "bulky" simply by adding weights to your fitness routine is highly unlikely. Instead, adding weight empowers your ability to create definition and an overall toned physique. Bottom line, if your goal is to "bulk up" you're looking at a specific style of training plan accompanied by a special diet and supplements to make it happen.
3. Cardio burns more calories than strength training. Endless hours spent on the treadmill, stair master or elliptical may be good for heart health, but it won't help you drop pounds. Many women think they need to invest in hours of cardio in order to shed fat before they add weights to their routine. But in fact, strength training will help you achieve your weight loss goal faster (when combined with balanced eating) by building muscle, and the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, all day long, even at rest! Studies show that women who regularly do some kind of strength training activity will burn nearly 50% more calories than their cardio queen counterparts. Wowzers!
4. You need a gym membership. No way! Home workouts offer a great alternative to the gym. You can start by using a chair, stairs in your home and even countertops. Bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, planks, squats and lunges are super effective. And as you get stronger you can begin to invest varying strengths of resistance bands and even a few sets of dumbbells, I recommend 5-8, 10, 15, and 20 pounds as these tend to be the most versatile. The key is to have variety within your exercise routine to hit each of the muscle groups for a full body workout.
5. It takes a lot of time. Unlike endless hours of cardio several days a week, you reap the benefits of strength training workouts in half the time. Did you know that The American Heart Association recommends adults engage in some form of strength training activity at least 2 times per week. And you don't need an hour to make a meaningful workout happen. In just 15-30 minutes a day, you can build strong muscles and reap all the great benefits. Start by setting a goal to exercise each muscle group at least two times per week, with 1 to 2 rest days between your workouts. Aim to complete 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, working muscles to fatigue (where that last rep feels like it's the last one you can do maintaining proper form). If you're a beginner, enlisting a personal trainer (virtual or in person) to help you create a balanced training plan and ensure proper form are recommended.
Check out these 5 eye-opening strength training facts:
Inactive adults experience an average loss of 3 - 8% muscle mass per decade as they age.
Resistance training has been shown to increase resting metabolism an average of 7%.
Regular strength training helps reduce body fat, build muscle and increase caloric burn.
Engaging in regular strength training is a key component to supporting a healthy weight.
Strength training has the ability to preserve, build and enhance muscle mass as well as bone mass... regardless of your age!
Bottom line - strength training is a part of a well-balanced lifestyle. And adding strength building exercises to your fitness routine carries a wide variety of benefits, from maintaining and building muscle, to enhancing caloric burn and supporting a healthy waistline. It's time to bust through the myths and grab a set of dumbbells!
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight and become the best version of you? I’ve got you friend! Come join me inside my FREE women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy. It's for busy women like you who are ready to lose weight, gain energy, get healthy and fit -- without restrictive diets or punishing food rules.