Total wellness expert Alicia Kirschenheiter says women should embrace weight training rather than turn and run scared for the cardio machines.
Weight training will not leave a woman looking like a muscular freak. When done properly, weight training wll help you slim down, tone up and get healthier!
Check out the 10 reasons you may want to put down that cell phone and pick up a weight.
In the past few years there has been a barrage of information regarding the importance of strength training for woman, yet whenever I have introduced the idea to any of my female personal training clients, all but a few have looked at me like deer in headlights.
In general, women are still convinced that sticking to the cardio machines is the way to go. In this article, I want to address why as woman, we can no longer fear the weight rack.
1. You Will Lose Body Fat
The average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. Yes I said it, that's 3.5 pounds. Understand that as lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and in turn you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. Building a higher metabolism is one of the key ingredients to help keep the weight off.
2. You Will Gain Strength Without Bulk
This is one of my favorite questions: "Will I get big muscles?" Women typically don't gain size from strength training, simply because compared to men we lack the necessary hormones. And ladies let's make it count! If you are not lifting enough weight to challenge yourself then your efforts may be in vain.
Face it, most of us carry bags that weigh more than the weights we are willing to pick up in the gym! So, do 12-15 repetitions and shoot for at least 2 sets twice a week. Remember by the last repetition you should be what I like to call, "comfortable exhausted," meaning you cannot do another repetition with compromising your form the weight has become too heavy.
3. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
More important than the first 2 reasons - OUR HEALTH is primary. To the surprise of many women, heart disease is our number one killer. Weight training has been noted to improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increasing HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
4. Reduce the Risk of Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that one-third of all cancer deaths are related to nutrition and physical activity factors. Strength training increases your body's overall development and efficiency. Need I say more?
5. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
Weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
6. You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Injury, Back Pain and Arthritis
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Additionally studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
7. You Will Improve Your Attitude and Fight Depression
Strength training can reduce clinical depression symptoms successfully. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression. Additionally, woman note feeling more energetic and sleeping better.
8. You Will Be Physically Stronger
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. And who doesn't hate asking for help! Chores will be easier and lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer make you feel like you have run the miracle mile. If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury and frankly exhaustion.
9. It Is Never Too Late To Benefit
Women at any age can begin strength training. Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training. My recommendation: Seek a professional before starting to help give you direction, perfect your form and get you on a plan to great improvements.
10. Strength Training Will Help You Reach the Long Lean Look You Desire
And, more importantly, strength graining will help you keep this long lean look once you reach your goal. Development of muscle tone, definition and decreased body fat are all benefits of adding a strength training routine.
People have asked me why I am so passionate about wellness initiatives. The best answer I can give them is that I am not afraid of dying but I am terrified of being sick. If there are things within our power to stave that off then I believe we should do all we can.
Be well and stay well.
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit www.linkedin.com/in/evolutiontotalwellness.