Some women seem to be scared to set foot in the weights section of the gym. They fear the bulky shape that lifting these weights will give them, the stares from the sweaty men and the, and all the nails that they are going to break while sculpting their bodies. However, I have news for you. Good things will happen when you start to lift heavy weights… all of which will lead to you feeling much more confident about your body.
Now, when I say heavy… I don’t mean lunging while holding the 8kg dumbbells in each hand.
I mean much heavier.
I’m talking squatting 100kg (which I finally achieved today! Yay), bench pressing 50kg, and doubling the weight of those 8kgs and lunging with 16s.
But… what if you break a nail?!
I have some better questions for you... What if you’re finally able to wear that skin tight LBD with your long, shapely legs catching the eye of everyone who walks past you? And what if you finally feel happy about your body?
Weight lifting will shape your body. You’ll be able to torch fat off your body, get your bum more perky and your arms less flabby. You will no longer need to spend hours upon hours of your life riding that cross-trainer, and will have a much more enjoyable outlook on exercise.
-BUT Lauren, cardio is the best way to lose weight! My cousin’s best friend’s sister’s mum is a personal trainer apparently she said that the cross trainer is the best way for me to ‘tone up’.
There is no such thing as toning up. Toning up = losing fat and/or gaining muscle.
Yes, you burn more calories DURING cardio than you do during a weights session, but the ‘afterburn’ of weight lifting burns much more calories.
Lifting heavy weights will boost your metabolism making your body a calorie burning machine. When you have more lean muscle mass, you can burn more calories at rest than you would before you had this increased muscle mass. It is harder for the body to maintain muscle tissue than it is to maintain fat tissue, therefore the body needs more energy to make the muscle tissue stay. Don’t believe me? In a 2015 Harvard School of Public Health study of 10,500 adults, people who strength trained for 20 minutes a day gained less belly fat over a period of 12 years compared to cardio bunnies.
-BUT I DON’T WANT TO GET BULKY!!!!!
Ah, yes… the common myth that you will become bulky as soon as you touch a weight. I’m sorry to tell you that what’s making you look bulky is last night’s epic binge and the fat you’re gaining from your dad’s birthday meal.
Anyway, you’ve probably heard of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is secreted primarily in male testicles. Women, on the other hand, produce a SMALL amount in their ovaries, but they simply don’t have enough in their bodies to ever become ‘bulky’.
Visions of ripped, oiled up women may spring to mind when you think of highly muscly women, but the truth is that 99.99999% of them are taking steroids to enhance their muscle mass. Trust me, building muscle is hard. I’ve been lifting 6 days a week (I used to do 7) for over a year now and I still barely look like I lift. I, however, benefit from staying lean and self confident thanks to lifting, and I get to eat a hell of a lot of food, too!
I’ve made so many incredible friends in the gym, too. From congratulating me on a PB (personal best), to complimenting me on my form or dedication, everyone is so friendly and easy to talk to. If you need help, you can just ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing! I can honestly say that some of these friends will be with me for life. They’re focused on their goals, dedicated and mentally (and physically) strong.
You can be that way, too, through lifting heavy weights! All it takes is three of four sessions a week, a goal and some motivation. If you’re really skeptical, start by replacing just one of your cardio sessions a week with weight training, and see how you like it! If you need a little more help, I really recommend you asking someone you know who lifts weights to go for a session together.. If you don’t know anyone, ask one of the PTs in the gym on how to perform an exercise, and if you have a little money to spend, get one for a month or two, because after that you’ll be able to do it all on your own!