Why It's Important For Women to Lift Weights

I get it. I had the same fear once, too. I thought that the second I picked up a dumbbell that weighed more than five pounds, I would instantly transform into Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with huge muscles and veins, on veins, on veins. Okay, maybe not that dramatic. But I definitely avoided using weights because I simply thought that I would start to look more and more like a man with a little help from the squat rack. Then I saw so many women at the gym bench pressing twice their weight, and they didn’t fit the picture in my head of the type of female to be into weight lifting. I started doing more research about the benefits of weight lifting because these women were incredibly strong and toned, but their arms weren’t the size of their heads. I tried to imitate what they were doing at the gym and I was surprised with how much I liked lifting weights. Here are a few reasons why it’s important for women to add weight lifting into their gym routine:

No matter what, you won’t look like a man.

I’m starting off with this point because even if you’re lifting the same amount of weight as a professional male bodybuilder, you won’t end up with the same amount of muscle mass. I’m going back to high school health class here, but the fact is that men have a lot of testosterone, a muscle-building hormone. Women don’t have nearly as much testosterone as men, meaning that lifting weights alone won’t turn their biceps the same size as their legs.  

The reason why you see women who do look bulky is because they’re choosing to get bigger and taking steps to accomplish their goal (and they’re totally slaying it!) They’re combining their years of heavy lifting with eating in a caloric surplus. This means that they’re eating more calories than they burn in a day, on a very specific, protein-rich diet. As long as you’re not spending too much time eating in a caloric surplus, you won’t get nearly as “big” as those women.

Weight lifting speeds up your metabolism.

Whatever your fitness goals may be, it’s always important to have a good metabolism. It’s the key to losing weight, as well as just staying healthy in general. When you add weight lifting into your standard day at the gym, you’ll get stronger and build your muscles. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn during the day (even if you’re just laying in bed all day binging watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix!) Your body will be doing its thing and burning calories while you’re just chilling. Who the heck doesn’t want that?

Cardio alone just doesn’t do the trick.

I can’t downplay the importance of cardio; you need to get your heart rate up and your body movin’ and groovin’ to stay healthy, but just doing an hour of cardio every day without picking up a dumbbell isn’t doing much good. Sure, you can burn 500 calories easily when running, but the amount of calories you burn stops the second you get off of the treadmill. You don’t continue to burn calories throughout your day when only doing hours of cardio- that’s where weight training needs to come in.

Also, I don’t know about you, but unless I have a killer playlist, I get bored basically the second I step on a cardio machine. I’m not sure how I ever pushed myself to do 40+ minutes of strictly cardio, but since there’s not a whole lot of benefits for doing that, I’m never going back.

Lifting weights builds strength.

Aside from the fact that building muscle improves your metabolism, being strong as hell can help you out a lot in life. You’ll be able to easily bring in that 50 pound bag of dog food for your furry friend and won’t even need to call your roommate for help! You’ll notice things in your everyday routine getting slightly easier because you’re getting a lot stronger.

It builds the booty.

In addition to getting more muscular all around, if you add some squats and deadlifts into your workout, your booty will be #goals. You won’t have to arch your back so much in the pictures you post to Instagram because your booty will be there already!

And most importantly, it builds your confidence.

I’m not going to lie, the first time I noticed that I was using heavier weights than the guy next to me at the gym, I felt like a complete badass. I know that the gym shouldn’t be a place where you’re competing against the other people who are just trying to be healthy as well, but it’s always a confidence booster when you see that you’re doing just as well, if not better, than the super jacked guy that looks like he lives off of protein powder.

It’s also a huge encouragement to pick up even heavier weights than you did last time and still crush your workout. It validates all of the hard work you put in by seeing yourself moving up to a weight that’s more challenging.

Stress relief.

Weight lifting-like many other forms of exercise- can provide you with the break you need from your crazy college schedule. You can try to take out your angry energy from bombing an exam by using the heaviest weights and pushing yourself to your limits. You may not be doing so hot in your chemistry class, but at least you can use that rage to set a new personal fitness record! Even if you’re doing fine and dandy in your school life, it’s still great to get away from the hours of homework with a powerful workout that kicks up your endorphins.

Now go out there, set some goals and crush them, Gophers! Don’t let the fear of bulking up stop you from all of the benefits of lifting weights!