[As originally contributed to http://www.ThisFitsMe.com on 8/5/14]
Recently, I hosted a fitness workshop and found that all of the women in attendance exclusively had cardio in their daily routine with Zumba being the favorite. Zumba is fun and gets your heart pumping, running for miles and miles really improves your endurance, running on the elliptical and treadmill are great for the legs, but what about weight training?
There is a myth, among many women, that lifting weights is a man thing or that if you lift too much, you will end up with the physique like a man. Let me let you in on a little secret…both are false. Women have been lifting weights for just as long as men and the only way that you will end up with the body like that of a man is if you are taking steroids and/or lots of testosterone.
Incorporating strength training into you workout creates a great balance for the body. Adding a little muscle to can help fill out the body and, depending on how heavy or light you lift, can really get you the curves you desire. And just know that lifting weights doesn’t mean that you start with a 300 pound barbell. If you are not looking to achieve that ripped, super defined look, lift light, yet challenging weights for longer repetitions (reps). For instance, curl 10 pound dumbbells for 20 reps, instead of 35 pound dumbbells for 10 reps.
Aside from gaining muscle tone, here are five other reasons you should start lifting weights.
1. Lifting Burns that Baby Fat
High intensity lifting and metabolic training stimulates lipolysis or the fat breakdown and release and increases the body’s metabolism hours after your workout is complete. You not only burn calories during your weight training session, but you’ll continue to burn calories long afterwards.
Your body becomes strong, defined, and lean. No more will you feel ashamed or lack self-confidence when you are naked. You will look and feel better than you did before you had your baby!
2. Post-Workout Burn
A high intensity lifting session burns approximately 500 calories per hour and boosts your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the minimum number of calories your body burns at rest, working out, or lying down.
What this means is that you not only burn calories while working out, you also continue to burn them up to 24 hours afterwards. The more intense you lift, the more you burn through your boosted metabolism.
This also means that the more muscle you gain, the less fat you’ll have. The less fat you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Gaining muscle gets you lean and keeps you lean.
3. Prevents Your Metabolism From Declining
As we increase with age our metabolism typically decreases, starting around the age of 30. To prevent this from happening, incorporate frequent weight training in your fitness life.
With your metabolic rate elevated, you will stay in shape well after the kids leave the house!
4. Improves Posture
Lifting weights strengthens your muscles, including your back, neck, shoulders, and core (abdominal area). Strength in these areas helps you to stand up taller, improve your posture, preserve the spine and reduces back pain.
Who wouldn’t want to look strong and confident on a daily basis?
5. Reduces Stress and Improves Mood
Exercise and weight training release endorphins- neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and enhance pleasure. Endorphins are released during long workouts where the intensity is moderate to high and breathing is difficult.
With all of that release going on, your stress levels decrease, along with any anxieties and depression. You begin to feel happy with each breathless set you complete! The kids love it when you smile, so should you.
Being strong is not a “man thing.” Being strong is what you are everyday and in everything you do. Believe that.
Be sure to visit www.FitGirlbyMaya.com for FREE recipes, workouts, and fitness apparel.
Photo by: http://www.fitsugar.com