Too many women believe that the only way to lose weight is to do tons of cardio. They decide to start jogging or take aerobic classes five or more times a week. But what tends to happen? They notice their bodies get a little smaller but there are still those “flabby” and “jiggly” areas that aren’t changing.
Have you been there too?
Cardio is part of the solution; but not all of it! In order to achieve long lasting fitness and goals you can be proud of; you MUST work on weight training and flexibility training too. If you are afraid to lift weights heavier than 5 lbs over time, you are missing out on the best fat burning methods around!
When you lift weights, you shouldn’t focus only on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell us what is happening WITHIN our bodies at any given time. (which can seem confusing but trust me here!) I like my clients to focus more on picture updates, measurements and clothing fit. The size of your body will shrink as you build muscle and shed fat, but sometimes that scale won’t shift as you’re used to when you’re focused on dieting and cardio only. How important is the number on the scale when you look hot and tight in your skinny jeans, anyway, right?
Here are 10 reasons you should reconsider lifting weights in order to reach your goals….
1. You will burn more fat. When you do an intense weight-training program, your metabolism stays elevated and long after your workout ends and you continue to burn fat for several hours afterward. During your cardio exercise, however, you stop burning fat shortly after the workout.
2. It will change the shape of your body. I always thought that my genes were the biggest reason my body looked the way it did. It’s not completely true. With weight training, you can slim down, create new curves and help change the “I’m over a certain age and my body won’t change much more” mentality. And ladies, you will not bulk up by lifting weights! We don’t have enough muscle building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men can. If we focus on eating a clean and calorie deficit meal plan, we will burn fat.
3. It helps to boost your metabolism. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. As women age, they lose muscle at increasing rates, especially after the age of 40. When you diet without doing resistance training, up to 25 percent of the weight loss may be muscle loss. Weight training while dieting can help you preserve and even rebuild muscle fibers. The more lean mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
4. You’ll become stronger and feel more confident. Lifting weights increases functional fitness, which makes everyday tasks such as carrying children, lifting grocery bags, and picking up heavy suitcases much easier. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular weight training can make you 50 percent stronger in 6 months. Being strong is also empowering. Not only does it improve your physical activities, it builds emotional strength by boosting self-esteem and confidence.
5. It helps to build strong bones. It’s been well documented that women need to do weight-bearing exercise to build and maintain bone mass, and to prevent osteoporosis. Just as muscles get stronger and bigger with use, so do bones when they’re made to bear weight. Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to better flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.
6. It helps fight depression. You’ve probably heard that cardio and low-impact exercises such as yoga help alleviate depression, and weight lifting has the same effect. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activities are also present during resistance training. Many women find that regular strength training, along with psychological treatment, helps lessen their depression symptoms substantially.
7. Improves sports fitness. You don’t have to be an athlete to get the sports benefit of weight training. Improved muscle mass and strength will help you in all physical activities, whether it’s cycling with the family, swimming, golfing, or skiing…whatever sports you enjoy most.
8. It helps to reduce injuries and arthritis. Weight lifting improves joint stability and builds stronger ligaments and tendons. Training safely and with proper form can help decrease the likelihood of injuries in your daily life. It can also improve physical function in people with arthritis.
9. Helps get our hearts healthy! More than 480,000 women die from cardiovascular disease each year, making it the number-one killer of women over the age of 25. Most people don’t realize that pumping iron can also keep your heart pumping. Lifting weights increases your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and decreases your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. It also lowers your blood pressure. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that people who do 30 minutes of weight lifting each week have a 23 percent reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those who don’t lift weights.
10. Defends against diabetes. In addition to keeping your heart strong, weight training can improve glucose utilization (the way your body processes sugar) by as much as 23 percent The more lean mass you have, the more efficient your body is at removing glucose from the blood, which can reduce complications from diabetes or even help prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place.