Welcome followers of Don’t Eat Crap Blog! My name is Sarah and I am coming to you today from my home site of Ingredients Of A Fit Chick. Brianna has asked me to bring a little insight into the world of women and weight lifting. But before we begin, let’s congratulate Brianna and Garrett on their wedding this past weekend! I hope you have an amazing honeymoon and a life time full of love, laughter and of course, good health!
I have worked in the fitness industry for the last 6 yrs., specifically, in gyms as a fitness manager, certified personal trainer and spin instructor. You can imagine all of the things I have seen and heard about women and lifting weights! If you had walked into the gym a few years ago, you would have seen almost all of the women in the cardio room or in group exercise classes and most of the men in the weight room. Although this has changed slightly, men aren’t as embarrassed to take classes or do cardio; women are still very intimidated by lifting weights. So why do women shy away from weight lifting? Here are a few of the many reasons I’ve heard over the years:
- Cardio burns more calories than weight lifting does
- I don’t want to get big and bulky
- When I lift weights my weight goes up, not down
- I don’t know how to lift weights properly
- I don’t have time to do both cardio & weights
Let’s look at each of these in more detail and see if I can’t change your mind about the importance of using those pieces of metal!
1. “Cardio burns more calories than weight lifting does”
Although this might be true, you do burn more calories per minute (in most cases) during a cardio session than you would in a weight lifting workout, the after effect is something quite different. After exercising there is a little thing known as EPOC or Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption that happens in your body. EPOC is the amount of calories that your body continues to burn after you are done working out. After a cardio session your EPOC is low, (lasting 30-60 minutes) meaning your body burns very few calories when you are done. After weight training your EPOC is high! Your body will continue to burn calories up to 48 hours after! That’s 2 days! WOW!
2. “I don’t want to get big and bulky”
Ok, let me just start off by asking you how many ‘big bulky’ women (i.e. extremely muscular) do you see walking around your gym? My guess is at most, maybe 1! Most likely your answer is none. You may see lots of lean women with defined muscle, but you don’t see women with muscles like a man. Women don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies for major muscle gain, so unless you decide to take a testosterone supplement (PLEASE DON’T), it is impossible for you to become “big and bulky.”
3. “When I lift weights, my body weight goes up not down”
That could very possibly happen because muscle weighs more than body fat does. However, muscle takes up less space, therefore you look leaner and more trim. Even though the scale might be higher, your clothes will be looser. The way your clothes fit you is a much better indicator (good or bad) than the scale of how your body is changing. Too often women get fixated on the number on the scale and don’t focus on true health. Use your clothes, energy levels and increased exercise performance as indicators of better health.
4. “I don’t know how to lift weights properly”
You’re not alone! Neither do most people! Luckily, most gyms have personal trainers on staff to give you guidance. Almost any gym will set you up with 1 free consultation with a personal trainer. If you cannot afford a trainer, make sure to take full advantage of this time! Come prepared with specific questions about how to reach your goal. Some great questions include:
- How many times a week should I do cardio/lift weights? For what amount of time each session?
- Where should my heart rate be during cardio/weight lifting?
- Can you show me how to use the weight machines/free weights?
- What should my nutrition look like?
- What are my starting body measurements?
All of this information can be covered in a one hour session. My suggestion is become as friendly as possible with the trainer! This way you can always say hi while you’re at the gym and ask them quick questions every now and again. I can’t speak for all trainers, but I know that my mission as a trainer is to help people reach their goals. I understand that not everyone can afford personal training; therefore, I would try to help out the members at my gym as much as possible!
If you are fortunate enough to be able to work with a personal trainer, take advantage! They will teach you everything you need to know and keep you accountable to your goals. The point of personal training is to educate the client so they eventually feel comfortable enough to go out on their own and maintain their health. We love you, but we don’t want you with us forever! J
5. “I don’t have time to do both cardio and weights”
Not a problem! Turn your weight training session into a cardio circuit! You can lift weights while keeping your heart rate up so that you burn maximum calories! This type of workout is great when you’re short on time, like during a lunch break.
Here’s an example of a great cardio/weight circuit. You will need a pair of 5-10lb dumbbells and a jump rope. Move from one exercise to the next without resting. Repeat the entire circuit for 2-4 rounds depending on time and fitness level.
A) Run for 3 minutes
B) 15 pushups
C) 15 squats
D) 15 standing shoulder presses
E) Jump Rope 1 minute
F) 15 biceps curls
G) 15 triceps kickbacks
H) Plank hold for 30 seconds
With all that said, lifting weights is about more than just losing weight. Some of the other reasons why it is so important for women to weight train are:
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis
- Decreased risk of injury
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Better mental and physical health
So, have you decided to take the next step? Are you ready to venture into the world of the weights and tighten and tone that body? Become stronger? Have more energy? Grab your best friend and get to it! I guarantee that once you begin to see changes in yourself (physically and mentally) you will be hooked! Weight training does amazing things! May sound crazy, but when I’m lifting more weight than the guy next to me in the gym, I get very excited!
I’d like to thank Brianna for inviting me over to Don’t Eat Crap today. I hope I have broken through some of the excuses as to why you don’t use weights and given you enough reason to start! If you have more questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com or contact Brianna and she can forward them along to me! I am always willing to help! Don’t forget being in the gym is only 20% of your health goal; the other 80% is your nutrition! If you are looking for some easy, healthy recipes head over to my blog: ingredientsofafitchick.com! I look forward to talking with you again soon!