The national center for health statistics says only about 26.9% of women strength train. Poor advice could be the blame. Over the years, I have heard many times that women were afraid to lift heavy because they didn’t want to “bulk up” and just wanted to “tone” their bodies. Women have fallen victim to false information circulating about lifting. It seems 73% still spend most of their time at the gym on cardio machines.
On one of my recent podcasts, I invited Coach Kate Graydon from Lakeland Athletic club to help us break some of these myths and get some good information out to those thinking about making the change.
Weight Training builds muscle, whereas Cardio breaks it all down. As lean muscle increases, so does your metabolism, and this means that if you have lean muscle, you will burn more calories all day. Studies found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For every pound of muscle you gain, you can burn 35-50 more calories daily.
What about getting too bulky?
Kate shared, “one of the most common misconceptions for women is thinking they will get bulky when they weight train, it physically cannot happen” Women will develop muscle definition and strength without the size. The average strength training will help women lose fat and gain muscle.
Weight training not only strengthens muscles, but it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones and reduces the risk of injury. So, if osteopenia, or worse, osteoporosis is on your radar, weight-bearing efforts help combat this issue.
Why can’t I just do Cardio?
Too much Cardio can slow the metabolism down. There’s not enough variety to avoid adaptation or burnout. Weight training increases your metabolism long-term. At the same time, providing constant variety to avoid over-adaptation. For Cardio, there are 2,000 steps in a mile, meaning jogging a mile is jumping on each joint 1,000 times, whereas strength training builds durability in muscle, tendon, ligaments, and cartilage which will save your joints long term.
When you stop doing Cardio, your body stops burning calories, whereas with weight lifting, once you stop, your body starts to recover and continues to burn calories for a long period of time.
Benefits of lifting for women
Lifting weights has mental and physical health benefits for all genders. Like I said before, bone health keeps mobility in tendons and joints and hopefully helps us live longer. It can improve self-confidence and self-image, reduce stress, boost mood, and improve sleep quality!
Weightlifting isn’t just for men, and it’s a myth that women think they will get too bulky. Women can excel at weightlifting and experience major physical and mental benefits. Kate mentioned that once women feel they are capable, they build confidence, and the possibilities are endless.