So, you want to get in shape? To improve your health. To be the best version of you possible.
But where do you start?
Pilate, Yoga, Aerobics, Step Class, Jazzercise – there’s so many options.
But strength training… that’s only for males, right?
Well, you might want to reconsider.
Let’s first talk about what strength training is before we talk about the benefits for women.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training can take many shapes. Anything that provides some type of resistance (that is challenging yet doable) against your muscles can be strength training.
Lifting weights? Strength training. Moving your own body weight? Strength training. Using bands? Also, strength training.
Usually these are done in the 6-12 rep range for most people starting out, but there is no hardset rule.
So, going to the gym and lifting dumbbells counts as strength training. So does doing squats with just your bodyweight. Or going on a hike or walking up a steep road.
It is important you choose something that is “right for you.” But “right for you” will probably change over time as you get stronger and your body adapts.
For example, bodyweight exercises might be a great option in the beginning. Your body might need to move on to exercises with external weight as you improve. We’ll talk about a way to stay on top of this at the end.
So now that we know what strength training is, it’s time to talk about the big question.
Why Strength Train?
Helps You Reach Your Visual Goals
If you’re like a lot of people, you’re most likely working out with the goal to “look better”. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Strength training is a fantastic, proven way to increase muscle mass. That’s a fancy way of saying it helps add muscle to your body while also making it more dense (i.e. take up less space).
Why does this matter? Increasing muscle mass is one of the only ways you can raise your metabolism. Increased metabolism + denser muscle = win-win
More Muscle Mass → Higher Metabolism → More Calories Burned → More Weight Lost
Of course, the idea of adding muscle mass gives rise to the fear of being “bulky”. We’ll talk about why that isn’t the same thing a little later.
But first, the second reason to strength train…
It Makes Life Easier
People don’t usually stop and think about all the heavy lifting they do on a regular basis. You may find yourself picking up kids and grandkids, carrying every grocery bag inside at once, or moving furniture. Lifting heavy things happens quite a bit.
Strength training will help you make all those daily life actions a breeze. When you start following a safe, effective strength training program, you go from the person that struggles to move the couch, to the person that picks up their kid/grandkid with ease.
Speaking of injuries.
Strength Training Decreases Your Risk of Age-Related Injuries
Osteoporosis. It’s a scary word. Especially as you start having more birthdays than you care to admit. It’s when your bones become weaker over time and are more likely to break. It’s why a young child can fall and bounce right back up while the same fall in a retiree can result in a broken hip.
The good news? A lot of potential bone loss and resultant injury can be prevented by regular strength training – Here’s a link to a sciencey article showing it.
Drinking milk won’t get the job done. Strength training helps your bones stay strong and lessens your chance of injury.
Want to feel great?
Strength Training Makes You Feel Awesome
It’s great fitting into those jeans again, but there’s something special about doing your first push-up or deadlifting more weight than you weigh.
Being strong is empowering. Lifting something you couldn’t have lifted a few months ago gives you a rush of pride. It builds your confidence. This is what got me hooked and why I still strength train – it just feels good.
The Myth of Getting Bulky
You might be thinking to yourself “All that sounds great, but I don’t want to get bulky.”
We mentioned it earlier, but strength training and “getting bulky” don’t have to be the same thing. When people hear it increases muscle mass, they picture Arnold Schwarzenegger-bodybuilder type bodies. Strength training, like we talked about above won’t lead to the bodybuilder look. That takes years of dedication, eating way more calories than one would need, and fair amount of specific genetics.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have the bodybuilder look, strength training doesn’t automatically result in that.
So Do I Have to Strength Train? Of course not!
There are many different ways to achieve your goals. We happen to think (and science and experience back it up) that strength training is one of the most efficient ways to do it.
There are almost an endless options for how to exercise, but if any of the reasons above resonated with you, give strength training a try.
And if you’re ready to try it out, make sure you’re doing it in safe, professional way. We start all new members off with an assessment to see what they can do and what they should improve to help prevent injury. We also have multiple levels for each exercise to make sure we’re putting members in the best position to be successful. So, you may start at Level 1, but don’t be surprised when you’re at the Ninja Level and loving it.