Women Should be Lifting Weights, too!

     So many beautiful things are happening in the world of female empowerment, yet the realm of fitness still feels so gendered. The weight room is typically overflowing with guys while every elliptical seems to be occupied by girls. The problem is that women just roll with this dichotomy, and I believe that’s rooted in age-old misconceptions about simple resistance training. Someone needs to (I’m here to) set the record straight and remind women that pumping iron is for girls! It’s imperative we forget the rumors that lifting will make us look “manly” or “bulky”, because not only is resistance training a great cardio workout, it offers a list of other health benefits.

   Whether your fitness goal is to lose some weight or maintain your weight, then you should certainly give some resistance training a try! Weightlifting workouts will actually help you to burn more calories than your usual jog around the block. It’s kind of like getting a bigger bang for your buck. Although you may burn more calories during your run than you do during your actual lifting session, your body will continue burning calories long after you finish your workout; talk about an efficiency! This happens because your muscles will require more oxygen throughout the day and as your body consumes more oxygen, it burns more calories (Davis). So the more muscle mass you gain, the more calories you burn – all day long.

More than just an efficient workout, weight training packs some long lasting health benefits. Women are especially vulnerable to bone diseases like osteoporosis, which is when postmenopausal women begin suffering from loss of bone mass because their bodies stop producing estrogen (Davis). Participating in resistance training when you’re young will put you on the right track to combat those symptoms later in your life and thus increase your quality of life. Think about how light those grocery bags or that backpack will feel after a few weeks of weightlifting, it’s all about that “functional fitness”. 

No need to fear; weightlifting will absolutely not make you look like a muscle man! Even though men and women are equally bad ass, the truth is we are not anatomically the same. First of all, our physical make-up is inherently different. Women don’t produce enough testosterone to experience the same muscle growth as men who weight lift. Gaining muscle enhances a man’s masculine build, so it makes sense that weightlifting will do the same for a woman, to enhance her feminine body by literally “building” her curves. 

So how does one enter the (intimidating) world of weightlifting? It’s actually pretty easy! A new weightlifting routine doesn’t have to take over your life, it only needs to be part of your life. Just start with 2 days a week of some sort of resistance training. These workouts could even be a mere 20 minutes each with some simple push ups and weighted squats. Even sculpt classes are a good way to start using some free weights and learning some new poses. Weightlifting does not have to be hours of complex barbell movements. Just add some weights to your walking lunges next time you’re at the gym! Pretty soon you’ll notice a difference in your strength, your mental state, and even in your appearance! Fitness is all about moving your body, releasing some endorphins, and making you feel good. What better way is there to feel good than by lifting some heavy sh*t and feeling like a boss?!

Francie McCall