If you want to lose body fat, gain confidence, increase bone density and look amazing, you have to lift weights. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Yoga, Pilates, running and other forms of cardio all have their own benefits. Body composition changes just aren’t one of them.
Female members keep asking me how much cardio they need to do to lose body fat. More cardio does not mean more fat loss.
The bottom line is, if you are running, on the bike, doing Yoga and occasionally throwing around light dumbbells, you will see minimal results in body fat reduction, bone density and muscle tone.
Why weight lifting?
More muscle equals more metabolism. The most important reason that you should be lifting weights, is to lose fat and build muscle. The effect of lifting weights has on your body composition is profound. The more muscle a woman has, the more calories she will burn at rest. Basically, muscles speed up your metabolism, resulting in more effective fat loss.
If you are women in your 20’s and 30’s, you probably are not thinking about osteoporosis yet, but you should be. Many studies have shown that lifting weights regularly can increase bone density. Other forms of exercises just don’t cut in when you are trying to keep your bones strong and healthy. The only true way to do this is to lift weights.
Strength makes EVERYTHING easier
The opinion of many is that women can’t be physically strong. Women are independent and can do things themselves. If you are lifting weights regularly you will improve your strength.
Creating independence for yourself is an amazing thing to feel. Enjoy the sense of accomplishment from completing a task that you thought you never could do. So lifts some weights and get stronger.
Walking into the gym knowing that you are going to smash a workout is such a confidence booster. In the past, gym management and trainers directed women to the pink dumbbells, or to group fitness class to jump up and down on a small step. In today’s gym atmosphere, my opinion is that many women are better at lifting weights than men. They work harder, push themselves to the limits and have better form.
When a woman realises her outer strength, she can tap into her inner strength. That begins to radiate. Confidence is a very attractive quality and that gym confidence starts to leak into every other aspect of life. A strong girl in the weight area equals a confident girl outside of the gym.
The ‘Bulky’ myth
The majority of women simply do not have the level of testosterone necessary to support a bulky physique naturally. Any women that does have a massively muscular physique may be supplementing with hormones. There may be a very small percentage of women that are blessed to have a cocktail of hormones that naturally can induce large amounts of muscle mass and fat loss.
Women often start out worried that they will get too bulky if they lift weights 2-4 days per week. They quickly find out that eating too much will make them look bulky, not the weight lifting. The reason is because we don’t train women to make them look muscular. Physiologically women are different than men, so will see different results with different training methods. For someone looking to ‘bulk up’ with muscle, the classic training method is endless amounts of sets of isolation exercises and body part split programs. For fat loss and body composition change, the focus should be full-body free weight training (squats, deadlifts, lunges, push ups, pull ups, rows and presses), kettlebell swings, Turkish get-ups, loaded carries and metabolic conditioning finishers. By using a combination of compound and full-body movements you can build lean mass and decrease body fat.
Keeping your diet in check
We know that in order for all of this training to be effective, you have to get your diet just right. This is something that we all can agree on. I have found that the best way to do this is reduce nutritional deficiencies, balance your macronutrients for your body type, pay attention to workout nutrition, increase food quality and don’t worry about meal frequency.
To do this, eat high quality animal protein and plenty of green leafy vegetables and healthy fats (avocadoes, extra virgin coconut oil, nuts) whenever your body needs it. Don’t eat when you are not hungry, drink plenty of water and keep sugary beverages to a minimum. Remember this is a long term healthy eating plan and not a quick fix diet!
Come and speak to any of our instructors at Brooke Weston Fitness for more information and details on designing a personal fitness program to suit you.