I know many women hear the word “weights” and automatically think of an overly built-up, macho woman who could crush a walnut with her massive quads. They think that lifting weights will make them “look like a man” and they will lose their feminine curves. I get it – I do. That was actually my line of thinking several years ago. Now? At least ninety percent of my exercise regimen revolves around weights. I know, gasp!
So what changed, you ask? Well, for one, I was tired of being frail. I was what you would call “skinny fat”; no butt, thin arms and legs, and soft in the middle. I felt weak and tired all. the. time. This was a mixture of both a poor diet and doing waaaaay too much cardio (ie: doing 1-1.5 hours, 4-5 times a week).
Secondly, I became a mom. On top of having to get used to my new postpartum body (if you have kids, you know exactly what I mean), I also had to lug around a chunky baby all day long. That takes some strength, which I was definitely lacking!
Long story short, I started attending group fitness classes and really fell in love with how lifting weights made me feel. Not to mention, I saw major changes in my body’s composition. Once I felt comfortable, I slowly migrated to the weight floor, where I could keep progressing at my own pace. I was a believer: strength training really can make you lean, toned, and strong!
With that said, here are my top three reasons why you should stop all the “cardio queen” nonsense and start incorporating some strength training into your workout regime:
1. Muscle burns calories 24/7.
When you have lean muscle on your frame, it is constantly burning fat/calories throughout the day. Whereas cardio burns fat and calories during the process, that’s where it stops. Strength training, on the other hand, has a high EPOC (“Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption”), which means your metabolism stays elevated for longer after your workout is done. How long, you ask? Well, studies have shown that lifting weights can keep your EPOC elevated for up to 38 HOURS after exercising. Say whaaaaaat?? That’s right, you could be a lean, mean, fat-burning machine – even in your sleep!
2. No one wants a flat booty.
Come on, you know it’s true! No woman actually prefers to have her pants all saggy in the backside. We want feminine curves, including a perky, toned bootay! And how do we achieve that? You guessed it: strength training! By doing weighted exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts (which all work those gluteal muscles), you can lift, fill out, and tone your tush. Umm, yes please!
3. Strength equals confidence, and confidence is beautiful.
Did I feel good about myself when I was frail, weak, and “skinny fat”? Absolutely not. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and as my loving husband would tell me, “You’re absolutely beautiful, but your lack of confidence is not attractive.” Wow. It’s amazing how being at a healthy weight, toned, and feeling strong can really change your overall self-esteem. I now have confidence in myself; not only knowing that I look as good as I feel, but also in knowing that I can set goals and achieve them, both in the gym and in my day to day living. Additionally, I am able to teach my amazing kiddos to exude the same confidence! That, my friends, is totally worth the sore muscles and couple of hours a week I spend working out.
Well, there you have it, loves! I hope I have helped debunk the myth that lifting weights makes you “manly”, and that you can join me in the journey to becoming a stronger, more confident, healthier YOU!