Benefits of Strength Training for Women

Women and strength training: This subject is near and dear to Charlotte & Alyssa because they have seen such a difference not only with their clients, but in their personal lives when adding weights….even heavy weights, to their fitness routine. 

There are many myths surrounding weight lifting, a couple of the most common are:

Lifting weights will slow me down….

  1. Not all weight training is the same. Lifting lighter weight faster helps your muscles adapt to repetitive action of running, climbing or descending
  2. Lifting heavy weight slowly and with less repetition will actually help build strong bones, joints resistant to the force (2-4x) of running.

Lifting weights will bulk me up….

  1. To “bulk up”, you must work the same muscle over and over again to failure, eat certain types and amounts of calories, oh, and work the same muscle group over and over again throughout the week.
  2. Most women do not produce enough testosterone needed to create an incredible amount of "bulk"
  3. Strength training for runners look like this: breaking down the functional movement of your run/gait cycle, training for your terrain (trail/road/elevation), programming a couple days a week to balance out your other days used for running = NOT BULKING UP….but increasing lean muscle for injury prevention and running performance. 

I don't want to gain muscle, I just want muscle "tone".....

  1. Muscle's either grow or shrink... the "tone" comes from an increase in muscle mass and decrease in subcutaneous fat
  2. Lifting heavy weights will help to gain muscle... not bulk, but strong muscle fibers... and more muscle = higher metabolism. This leads increased fat burning throughout the day when you aren't working out and even on rest days.

Several years ago when I (Alyssa) starting working out with my best friend these myths were definitely a hurdle in the beginning. My friend didn't want to lift heavy because she didn't want to get "bulky" but after months of lifting together and many conversations, she was starting to enjoy lifting heavy and seeing some results. We both saw progress in muscle tone and felt better overall.

Top reasons for women to lift weights: 

  1. Get stronger. Not just for fitness but everyday life. Think about everything we do in a day, from wrangling kids to hauling groceries from the car to the house, cleaning all the awkward places in our homes and a wide array of random other thing where more strength would come in handy. Plus, I don't know about you but there's something about stronger than other estimate that is kind of fun
  2. Burning fat.  Don’t we all want to burn fat?  Common thought is that steady state cardio (running/biking/swimming for extended periods of time) is the best way to burn fat. So if you had an hour of cardio vs an hour of weight lifting which burns more calories?  Well, there is a twist, the hour of cardio might have an edge BUT, the hour of weight training will actually CONTINUE to burn more calories throughout the day than just doing cardio.
  3. Prevent injuries. No one has time to be out with an injury, whether we're talking about being held back from out training regimen or an injury that keeps us from some everyday life activities. The stronger you are, the less impact and force on your joints, the better overall form you have while doing your everyday activities and sports and less likely we'll experience injury!
  4. Get better in our sports.  I have trained and competed all my life and I have no intention of stopping as I reach more mature ages. The sport may look different, but lifting heavier weights will allow us all to perform at a higher level. 
  5. Stronger bones.   I don’t care if you are a 25 year old athlete or a 35 year old business owner…..women are at higher risk for poor bone health because of our hormone cycles and when we reach the perimenopausal state.  It just is. Lifting heavy weights has shown huge benefits in bone density for runners and for females as we age. It also helps with hormones! (which is another topic for another day)
  6. It makes you FEEL GOOD! Mentally and physically!

Changing mindsets to overcome pain

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