Hello! I’m Jennifer from Wine to Weightlifting, and I am super excited to do my very first post-swap with Nicole! While it seems like a lot of fitness world out there is dedicated to women running and doing yoga, my passion is in weight lifting, and I want to encourage all you guys to add lifting some heavy things into your weekly fitness routine! I started my path to fitness last spring when I wanted to do something for myself and train for my very first 5k. I trained, I ran, I finished, but I didn’t feel satisfied! Fast forward to earlier this year when I decided I wanted to try something different and lift. Since I started lifting, I look and feel better than I ever have, even though I just celebrated my 30th (*gasp*) birthday!
I want to start by addressing a major misconception that some ladies have about getting into lifting. I’ve heard it before and I can bet many of you have thought it at some point: “I don’t want to get bulky.” Ladies, listen up. You WILL NOT get bulky unless you try. REALLY try. Most females do not have nearly enough testosterone, nor do they consume enough calories (namely, extra protein calories), to get huge. Getting man muscles is not easy – ask any body builder lady that is consciously trying! If your goal is to look like the picture below, I cannot help you.
But if you want some reasons on why you should lift, please read on!
Prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis: While running is a great activity to increase bone strength in your legs and hips, weight lifting and resistance band training are great ways to increase bone strength in your upper body. During weight lifting or resistance taining exercises, muscle pulls on the bone to make the bones stronger, while the weights also put pressure on the bones themselves, thus making them stronger. While there are a number of factors that determine bone density as we get older (mid 20s and up!), we may start to lose bone density, so need to do what we can to preserve what we have. Future injuries may also be prevented by improving joint stability in the knees and hips, which may directly translate to increased running performance.
Become more efficient: Lower body strength training can increase leg strength, while consistent strength training can improve endurance, a key skill needed for any other type of workouts. It also helps to convert metabolic waste into energy faster, which can help when you are running to fuel longer runs.
Lose body fat: Even the skinniest of girls will always say they have some fat to lose, which can be true since many girls are “skinny fat.” I have always been thin, yet I always carried weight in my belly and thighs, as I’m sure many of you can relate. While many girls choose to do hours of cardio to burn calories, what they fail to realize is that once those calories are burned, you’re done burning for the day. However, with weight lifting, not only do you burn calories while training, you build muscle which raises your metabolic rate. What does this mean for you? It means that you start to burn more calories doing nothing throughout the day than you would if you were to just do cardio. Less work? More burn? Who knew!
Increase self confidence. You will start to walk by the mirror and flex your baby biceps as soon as you see. You will quickly amaze yourself that you can do real push-ups, or that you can complete a pull-up. Or that you can lift something that weighs as much as you do. This is an awesome feeling that not only is applicable to the weight room, but your new-found confidence will carry on into the outside world. You’ll walk taller, want to brag about what you can do, and overall be proud of your accomplishments.
Opportunity to set positive goals. Doing strength training or weight training is a great way push yourself to do more. There is always something more to strive for and even the small gains can encourage optimism. If you’re a cardio-junkie, you may strive to burn more calories. If you’re a runner, you may set goals for distance or time. With lifting, you can push for heavier weights, more reps, better endurance. Being able to create a list of motivating goals and to start checking them off provides a huge sense of accomplishment.
To try something new: If you are tired of your old routine strength training is a great way to change things up. There are countless exercises that you can do, both with and without weights so you can constantly create new routines or work different body parts on different days. There are many different ways to get started such as New Rules of Lifting for Women (3 day a week program that can keep you on track for 6 months – highly recommend, as this got me started!), or Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program if you’re feeling super daring. I personally haven’t tried hers because of the time commitment, but I’ve heard others that had success. Alternatively, you can just read up on some lady lifting blogs, such as Nia Shanks, Julia Ladewski, or any of the Girls Gone Strong (note – all of these ladies LIFT HEAVY, and I don’t see any bulk in this group..)
If none of the reasons above have convinced you, do it just for the sole purpose of being physically stronger. While I am sure there are a number of ladies out there that wouldn’t mind a hot, muscular man helping them load something up into the car, sometimes these men are just not readily available. You may need to carry that bag of 50lb dog food by yourself, or load up those 10 bags of 40lb topsoil for your garden on your own! Or if you’re feeling extra good about yourself and that muscular man does come to help, imagine how good you’ll feel when he asks if you need help, and you can say without a blink, “Nope, I got it!”
I really hope that any of you that never considered strength training before will reconsider, and those of you that are on the fence will have some courage to try something new and see what it can do for you. If you’d like to keep up with my progress, please visit my site! Also, feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have! While I am not a certified personal trainer (yet!), I am working on my certification and would love to help anyone who doesn’t know how to get started!