10 Reasons Why Girls Should Lift November 03 2014 1 Comment
When I first decided to try lifting weights, it was scary and awkward like hell. But since then, I've come to really love it for many reasons, and that's something that I want to share with all girls. It's been transformative, and I want to encourage you to try it.
#1: Lose body fat!
Lifting weights actually offers significantly higher resistance training than cardio. As a result, there is higher excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) than if you did cardio. Higher EPOC means your body requires more energy to recover from lifting weights, ensuring that calories will burn at a higher rate even after you are done lifting. Muscle also needs more energy to be maintained than fat, and hence increasing muscle also increases your metabolism rate.
#2: “Toned” muscles
It's a myth that lifting weights makes girls bulky! Guys get "bulky" because they have much higher levels of testosterone, and testosterone is essential for building muscle. Because girls have much lower levels of testosterone in our bodies, we won't "bulk" up easily.
The same amount of muscle also takes up less space than the same amount of fat :
Muscle is incredibly difficult to build. One doesn't get muscular simply from lifting a few weights. Building muscle takes intentional, hard work, and is accompanied by eating the right diet to build it. It takes eating a large surplus of the right kinds of food to put on hard, dense muscle. Female bodybuilders look the way they do with the aid of anabolic steroids or testosterone supplements. Neither can one wake up with an accidental 6-pack!
#3: Functional Strength!
You can't lift weights without getting stronger and better at it. I can now lift that bag of rice in the supermarket, carry gallons of milk myself to the car, and replace the water dispenser in the office with a new tank when needed. No guys needed! Girl power for the win! Which leads us to the next point…
#4: It is empowering!
Being able to lift heavy makes me feel incredibly powerful—it has increased my faith in my own abilities to do something that I set my mind to. There is a thrilling rush of euphoria each time I set a PR. It's addictive!
Lifting heavy makes me feel strong and capable of taking care of myself. I love lifting weights because I know that if I set my mind on the goal, and I work towards it, I will be able to accomplish what I set out to do. Lifting heavy hasn't just changed my physically, but it's also transformed me mentally. I'm a stronger woman now than I was two years ago!
#5: Lifting helped me to love myself for what I can do and not what I look like!
Let's face it, our physical looks are temporal. Every time I look in the mirror, all I see are the thighs that touch, the muffin top, the cellulite, and pretty much every flaw I can think of. Lifting weights has helped me to enjoy what I do and to accept that looks aren't everything. It helped me to love my body for what it is capable of, be it pull ups, squats, or simply being able to move pain free. It is a blessing to be able to do what I want physically, and being engaged in physical activity helps me appreciate my body that much more for what it is capable of!
#6: Because cardio and crunches don't work!
If cardio and crunches worked, then why isn't everyone around you an extra small? I've been down that path of endless cardio and hundreds or even thousands of crunches, but it never helped me achieve that toned physique I was looking for.
Lifting was an entirely different experience. I began to enjoy exercise, and I loved what I did. I didn't count down the minutes (like I do in a spin or zumba class), and I didn't have to think of chocolate cake just to get through the workout. It also gave me more shape, and a way perkier butt! So if cardio and crunches haven't given you the kind of shape you want, then lifting might just be the thing for you!
#7: Stress relief.
There is nothing more liberating than going to the gym and throwing some weights around. (Only if your gym allows it. Don't be that person.)
Focus all your energy on the workout, and moving the weights. It's a great distraction and a wonderful way to relieve your anger.
I particularly enjoy deadlifts and throwing a medicine ball around on such days. As a friend of mine put it, "dropping a deadlift is like smashing plates against a wall".
#8: Helps build patience and perseverance in achieving long term goals.
Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither can you squat your body weight the first time you step into a squat rack. Setting long term goals and working towards them weekly taught me the value of perseverance and diligence. It translated into other qualities which I could use outside the gym- like setting long term goals, short term goals, planning to achieve these goals, discipline in executing my plan, and a doggedness not to let anything stop me from giving my 110%.
Lifting weights is perfect for building this mentality because it offers an objective way of measuring progress. Either you lift it, or you don't. If you don't, then reflect on why, plan again, and set out to conquer.
#9: Conquer osteoporosis
Weightlifting is a form of resistance training, which helps to increase bone density, thereby staving off osteoporosis in old age. Turning 50 is a 2 and a half decades away, but what you do now in your 20s can affect you when you’re much older. My mum was diagnosed osteo-arthritis in her hands when she was in her 40s, and that made me all the more sure that I want to keep myself strong and fit so I can take care of myself when I’m older.
I want to be like this awesome grandma!
#10: Because you have nothing to lose by trying something new!
By Cheryl Ng