With March being Women’s History Month and March 8th being International Women’s Day, I think it’s important to address a topic that has faced many misconceptions and myths throughout modern history that has hurt women for a very long time. Strength training and weightlifting for women.
With the evolution of social media we have seen an ever increasing popularity with women entering the weight room. These hurtful myths that have held women back from their strength and fitness goals are shifting. Women are able to see the benefits of lifting weights and doing resistance training.
Lets unpack why strength training is so important for women, what these myths and misconceptions are that have held women back from the weight room, and how women can get started with resistance training at any age.
Why Is Strength Training Important For Women
While strength training makes you stronger and improves your overall health and fitness, there are very specific reasons it is so important for women.
Once women turn 30 they begin to lose muscle mass approximately 3-8% per decade and that number increases even more after 60. This involuntary loss of muscle and strength is a large contributing factor to senior women’s loss of independence. Without necessary strength they lose the ability to perform functional daily tasks and are more susceptible to life threatening injuries.
The more muscle mass you can build in your youthful years puts you at an advantage as you age. And continuing to replace muscle loss with resistance training as you age will only increase your ability to remain independent and improve your quality of life.
Additionally, women are more susceptible to osteoporosis than men. Hormone changes that happen as women go through menopause can affect bone density. Strength training and building muscle can help women protect their bone health. During weight bearing exercises the muscles and tendons put tension on the bones. This stimulates the bones to produce more bone tissue resulting in stronger, more dense bones opposed to brittle and frail bones that can fracture easily.
Also, as it relates to aesthetic reasons, like weight loss, many women neglect strength training and focus heavily on cardio activities. However, a consistent resistance training plan not only helps boost self-esteem and confidence, but when you build lean muscle mass it contributes heavily to an improved body composition and metabolism.
When you begin to research the benefits strength training and weight lifting provides to women, it is easy to see that it is almost a no-brainer and you are doing yourself a huge disservice by not finding ways to incorporate it into your fitness routine.
Common Myths Surrounding Strength Training for Women
It seems as though since the beginning of the modern fitness industry women have been fed lies and myths that have only created limitations and frustrations. There are two myths that I hope are starting to break with modern research and those are…
Women will get bulky if they lift weights
Women should stick to cardio for weight loss
These two myths have held women back from achieving their fitness goals for as long as the fitness industry has been in existence. For women to get “bulky” there has to be an intentional effort that is almost extremely difficult to achieve naturally. The average woman who lifts heavy weights 2-3 times a week will never get bulky or take on the physique of a man. She will only begin to develop lean, healthy muscle mass and begin to reap the benefits we mentioned above. And while cardio is great for things like heart health and boosting endorphins for mental health, weight loss goals void of strength training can leave you frustrated and unable to attain desired results. Often your joints break down faster, excessive cardio can increase cortisol levels and restrict the body from being able to lose fat effectively, and the results tend to be shorter-lived. A healthy balance of both cardio and strength training can be an effective way to attain a balanced healthy lifestyle.
How to Get Started With Strength Training
One of the hardest things to do when it comes to starting any kind of exercise routine is simply getting started. Where do you begin? What exercises should you do? How much and how long should you be exercising for?
In today’s era of information overload it can feel overwhelming. Everyone has advice or knows best. While you can start on your own, as there is a wealth of resources available to help you, there is nothing quite like having an experienced and knowledgeable strength coach or personal trainer who can hold your hand and guide you in the right direction.
Find a personal trainer who you feel comfortable with, who can teach you why and how to do exercises, helps you set realistic goals, tracks progress, and celebrates your successes. A personal trainer should help you stay accountable and make you feel empowered.
No matter how you get started, whether you hire a personal trainer or turn to online resources, there is one thing for certain, you are only hurting your present and future self by avoiding weight training. Build muscle, feel strong, and reap all of the amazing lifelong benefits strength training for women can provide you.
Search for a personal trainer in Clearwater, FL? Learn more about Strength & Performance Institute. A unique and personalized one-on-one personal training gym that focuses on curating strength training programs just for you.