I’m writing this as someone who used to do endless cardio & classes with no real results!. Yeh I got a bit “smaller” “dropped a dress size” but my boob to ass ratio was still way out, not matter what I did cardio wise. So, What activity is going to get you the body you have always dreamt of?
Female body composition is really exciting stuff. Transforming your shape is awesome, seeing your body change into something you have always wanted is truly an amazing feeling and I want to share some of my knowledge with you. Now, I am going to assume that nutritionally you have everything covered as that forms a complete separate blog and not for today’s discussion.
There are countless articles written on the benefits of women lifting weights, yet despite this the favorite form of exercise for many women wanting to get in shape remains cardio. This perturbs me, with all the information available out there today, why is this so? Well, I believe there are several reasons for this. Women are fearful & assume that they will get ‘big and bulky’ lifting weights, they don’t know how to get started, friends influence their exercise choices, the message is not getting through via the material they are reading, they are just disbelieving that weight training is more superior than cardio for body composition or the content of the material they read is telling them quite the contrary. It actually amazes me that certain magazines are still promising dramatic results from as little as 3 min’s a day or such like.
Now I believe that it is a combination of all of these reasons why women shy away from weights, plus add a touch of low self-confidence, male-ego-gym intimidation, & not a clue what to do anyway into this mix and you can see quite clearly the appeal of “cardio” for women. Lets face it, its easy, it’s technically not difficult to grasp – you don’t usually have to ask for help to clamber onto a cycle or jump on the X-trainer do you. In a class situation you just follow the lead of the instructor and fellow classers, work up a sweat and you go home feeling like you’ve worked your ass off and on your way to that dream body!
For those women reading this that want to look in the best shape of their life, with sculpted shoulders & arms, a tight butt, toned legs, and a flat stomach – listen up, I want to give you a few facts to see if you can be persuaded to head into the weight area and get the results for yourself.
Fact number 1 – women lack the genetic makeup to get BIG muscles, we just can not, I repeat can not get massive due to the fact we have approximately 90% less testosterone than a guy!
Fact number 2 – look around your own gym, see all those guys pumping iron week in week out, yes some may have reasonable muscles on them, but I bet the majority don’t. My point being if it was that easy to build BIG BULKY muscles ALL guys training in the gym would have them and from what we see this is far from the reality.
Fact number 3 – Lifting weights is easy to learn, thoroughly engaging & enjoyable, your sessions will whizz by and you will actually spend less time in the gym.
Fact number 4 – Repetitive cardio sessions actually causes your body to break down muscle, so over a relatively short space of time, reduce your muscle mass. This may make you look ‘smaller’ but you’ll have less muscle, look flat and not shapely. Plus, even worse you’ll have a slower metabolism (more on that later) – not ideal situation for a dream body.
Fact number 5 – For women that hold fat mainly in the lower body and have a pear appearance, cardio is not sufficient to change this.
It can seem like a minefield as a newbie, as there are many pieces of equipment & lifting systems you can use, but that’s all part of the fun of it & keeps training interesting. The best advice I can give you is just get lifting and keep it simple. Your body will respond to any weighted stimulus you place on it initially so don’t overwhelm yourself! Periodically you can change things to keep your body responding. I’ve said this is other pieces I have written, the body is like a child; it gets bored, meaning it adapts to what you have been doing over time and needs to be further stimulated. The beauty of lifting weight is you can change lots of variables, such as weight, reps, equipment so your body never gets bored and neither do you! This keeps training exciting, enjoyable & you progressing towards your body goals.
Here are my top 10 reasons ALL women should include weight lifting into their training program
1). Increased Metabolism: Muscle is metabolically active, meaning the more you have the ‘faster’ your metabolism will be. Muscle uses up to 10x more energy at rest than fat and other tissues. So, you’ll be burning up fat long after you leave the gym!
2). Muscle gives you that ‘firm’ look: Unlike any other type of exercise, using weights in your program will sculpt your muscles creating a toned appearance.
3). Anti-Aging: We all want to age ‘well’ and look amazing for as long as possible. Well, Hormones that are released to burn fat & grow muscle also reduce inflammation creating a more ‘healthy’ internal environment, which will help you look youthful for longer.
4). Increases Bone Density: The force of muscle and bone working together against gravity, promotes new bone growth. Keeping bone strong & healthy prevents the onset of osteoporosis, or falls later in life.
5). Improved Confidence: Increasing your weights, and seeing improvements each week is incredibly empowering! Over time women feel more confident in themselves, their abilities and life in general as a side effect of lifting.
6). Life becomes easier: Everyday activities such as lifting, carrying & moving heavy items becomes much easier the stronger you become. This creates a feeling of independence too.
7). Decreased risk of disease and chronic illness: Muscle protects internal organs, keeps your heart healthy, balances blood sugar, increases insulin sensitivity and balancing, improving your overall metabolic hormone profile to name only a few!
8). Reduced Injury: Lifting weights keeps the connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments that support the body, healthy, strong and injury free. Injury to these areas means a long slow recovery so this is an important benefit to using weight training in your program.
9). Improved Energy & Vitality: Keeping you feeling happy with a sense of overall wellbeing and vibrancy.
10). Improved Sleep Quality: Quality sleep reduces internal inflammation & can improve your health profile. Lifting weights has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to include weights in your program then seeing is believing! The first picture is me during my time as an avid runner & weekly spinner. The next is my most recent progress picture. For me I use cardio as an addition to my comp prep & recreation, as I still enjoy a run. However, I truly believe if you are wanting a body transformation, especially women that hold fat in their lower body the main part of training MUST include weight training.
Remember KISS (keep it simple silly) and I guarantee within 4 weeks you’ll start to notice a difference in how your body appears, you will notice a firmer, tighter body emerging ….. Keep going, this will gather momentum, and you’ll never look back!!