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5 benefits of weight training for women

There’s a plenty of research supporting the benefits of weight training for women; however, a lot of us still tend to ignore these benefits, opting, instead, to stick with cardio.

Putting aside the myths regarding putting on too much muscle, resulting in looking “bulky,”
weight training can help women achieve the physique of their dreams by improving lean muscle tone, increasing strength and being one of the most effective ways to lose body fat quickly.

Although cardio is still seen by some as the best way to lose fat that’s not really true, with numerous research studies actually showing weight training can be as effective, if not more so, than just cardio for pure fat loss.

Below are some of the unique benefits of weight training for women and why it should become a key tool for you to improve your health & physique.

1. Weight Training Improves Muscle Mass

It goes without saying that weight training can help increase muscle size and quality. Unfortunately, and due to some confusion, it’s often for this very reason that many women actually avoid weight lifting in the first place.

Increasing muscular size and strength is beneficial for both women and men especially as they get older. Strength is a major determining factor in the quality of life, affecting many different aspects of daily living such as standing, reaching, bending and even walking.

Weight training provides immense improvement in both the size and definition of muscle but also increases strength, which is beneficial, regardless of gender .

While many women fear that weight training will result in them getting too bulky, the chances of this occurring are very unlikely.

Many people train for years on end and never achieve a larger muscular physique. So, the fact that men get bulky isn’t a reason women should avoid it. There are lots of variables and gender differences which render this opinion incorrect.

For example, hormonal variations between men and women result in a significant difference in the ability of men and women to increase muscle mass, giving males an advantage to add bulk.
The best example is testosterone, a key anabolic hormone, which is 7-10x higher in men.

2. Weight Training Gives You That Athletic, Tight Physique

Since weight training can help improve muscle mass, it can also help give the impression of a more defined and athletic physique.

By slightly increasing the relative size of the muscle, it’s possible to give the impression of having a more well-defined and toned physique, especially as you drop fat. Additionally, this can often occur without having to go on a restrictive diet to lose body fat.

While most weight loss diets leave you looking ‘skinny fat’, a well-designed fat loss diet combined with weight training will get you much closer to a tight, toned and fit or athletic look.

3. Weight Training Shreds Body Fat

You’re much more likely to lose body fat over the long term using resistance training or a combination of resistance training and cardio, than traditional cardiovascular based exercise alone.

The first reason for this phenomenon is because weight lifting often requires many different muscle groups to be working simultaneously, rather than just your legs for example.

This is especially true when using compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, since these movements require intense coordination of many different muscle groups in order to move you safely and effectively. In doing so, this requires a tremendous amount of energy usage or calorie expenditure.

Remember, muscle mass is also metabolic, and requires more energy than fat does, in order to contract and function daily.

When you have more muscle mass you increase the amount of energy that the body needs to produce and burn, even at rest which means you burn more calories on a daily basis, helping you get or stay leaner. It’s also key for long-term weight maintenance – imagine, if you burn 200 calories more per day, this equates to 73,000 calories per year!

4. Weight Lifting Can Help You Feel Happier

Many people often consider exercise to be an effective antidepressant.

Fortunately, research backs this up, showing that the use of higher intensity exercise, such as intense weight training, can actually significantly help to alleviate symptoms of depression.

These effects of exercise can be widely explained by natural opioids or endorphins.

Intense exercise actually up-regulates receptors in the body that endorphins attach to. So, while during exercise you may feel discomfort, in doing so you are actually enabling endorphins to become more effective afterwards.

Long term, weight training is going to help you improve your physique to a greater extent than just cardio and will also likely help with long-term happiness and confidence.

5. Weight Training Can Help Combat Osteoporosis

A major concern for women during ageing is the risk of osteoporosis.

In fact, women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with this condition. While lack of weight-bearing exercise likely isn’t the sole reason for this (other factors such as hormones and menopause are involved) weight training can certainly help improve bone density and reduce your risk!

The reason that weightlifting can help ward of osteoporosis is because loading bone structures with weight is actually the number one way to build up and strengthen bones. It works in exactly the same way as the mechanism behind muscle growth: the extra stimulus causes the body to adapt and grow.

Here’s an overview of how it works. Firstly, when a bone is under stress from weight such as during resistance training, and if the load is heavy enough, the bone will actually begin to bend, ever so slightly (you can’t feel this). If there is sufficient stress placed on the bone during heavy weight training it stimulates the migration of something called osteoblasts.

These osteoblasts are cells which migrate to stressed bone areas and actually help to formulate new structural support. Imagine them as hundreds of little workers running to a building to support it. In doing so, the bone’s density increases which can help support it in the workouts to come and in the long term, preventing future issues such as osteoporosis.

In summary, Improvements in strength, bone health, reductions in depressive symptoms and improved body composition are just some of the awesome and quick benefits you will see after you commence a well-designed and advanced weight lifting routine.

(Credits-Rudy Mawer)