I began lifting weights about a year ago. When I was younger I was an athlete playing many sports, my favorite was gymnastics. I loved the feeling of competence I had then…strong and flexible.
Many women think that lifting weights will bulk them up. This is simply not true. Pictures you may see of very bulky women with oversize muscles are taking steroids to get that way. Natural weight lifting for women creates lean muscle without bulk.
Last year I began losing weight seriously since I was able to go off a weight gaining medicine (Femara) after six years! Forty pounds gone Hurray! I did a lot of reading and found the best way to gain muscle and lose fat and to build bone mass (something that was a new concern with early menopause) was weight bearing exercise.
Today, I’m focused on losing another 20ish pounds or so. But more importantly, I aim for FAT LOSS.
You don’t even need weights to do weight bearing exercises. Using your body as a weight you can start simple weight bearing exercise. The push-up is a classic example. It is equivalent to a bench press in that it works the same muscle group, you just use your body as the weight. Start simple. But start.
Top Five Reasons Weight Lifting IS for Women:
1- Build lean muscle, which requires more energy (calories) to maintain than fat. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
2- Lose fat!! Who doesn’t want to shed fat, right?
3- Reduce osteoporosis risk by building stronger bones. Studies show that a 6 month weight training program can help increase bone mineral content by up to 13%.
4- Those who train with weights have less risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome aka pre-diabetes. This is because the more muscle you have, the better your body can manage glucose!
5- Improved attitude. A Harvard study indicates that 10 weeks of weight training did better at improving symptoms of clinical depression than standard therapy.
That’s my two cents on the topic. It should be noted that I use weight training in conjunction with, not instead of cardio! I love my weight training and missed it dearly when I could not lift while my wrist was healing. Try it out for a few weeks and you’ll see results. Just be mindful that the scale may not move as much while lifting weights. Losing fat and gaining muscle will keep the scale more even, but the body is being reconfigured and you’ll see it in your clothes and feel as you literally get stronger!