Why Weight Training Isn’t Your Worst Enemy

I’ve been fairly athletic my entire life. I remember receiving a free membership to YMCA when I entered the seventh grade and spending hours taking advantage of their numerous exercise classes and fitness equipment, as well as their indoor track, which was so helpful when training for track and field. My relationship with the gym has been very off-and-on since then, but this past year in particular I have gotten back into it and have been going religiously again, four or five days a week. For me, it’s the best stress relief and self-care ritual in the world and makes me feel empowered and energized to take on all of the day’s other activities. 

Having been to several different gyms, I can tell you one thing for sure that I’ve noticed: there are almost always more women in the cardio area and more men in the weight training area. I’ve heard time and time again from my friends and fellow women that they avoid weight lifting in fear of becoming “big” or “bulky.” The fact of the matter is that women aren’t built the same way as men and our bodies don’t have the same reaction to weight training as theirs do. Plus, weight training offers an infinite amount of other benefits, and some of these are geared towards women specifically. Here are some of the reasons why you really should start picking up heavy things and putting them back down!

  1. 1. You’re Not Gonna Get “Swole” 

    As I mentioned above, this the biggest fear of many women and the number one reason why they’re sticking to the treadmill and Zumba at the gym. The truth of the matter is that women don’t naturally have enough testosterone to grow large amounts of muscle; it’s even difficult for men who chow down on thousands of calories per day to achieve significant “gains.”

    (https://www.issaonline.com/blog/index.cfm/2016/ladies-lifting-heavy-wont-make-you-bulk-up)

  2. 2. It Speeds Up Your Metabolism

    Our metabolism is something that slows down pretty much every year as we get older. The magical thing about weight training is that not only does it burn calories while you’re doing it, but your body keeps burning them for up to 24 hours or more after you’ve completed your workout hustle. This means that long-term, your body will do a better job of utilizing the energy you give it and use it to fuel you through the daily craziness of life. 

  3. 3. You Can Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis

    Thanks to the raging and consistently inconsistent hormones, a woman’s bone density naturally decreases as she ages. This means we’re more at risk for developing osteoporosis and increases our risk of injury and fracture. Incorporating strength training into your daily or weekly routine can both strengthen and slow down the deterioration of our bones. Happy body, happy you.

    (https://www.healthline.com/health/importance-strength-training-women#benefits)

  4. 4. It’s Good for Your Mind, Too

    Like any exercise, strength training releases endorphins that basically just make you feel like you’re on top of the world. There have been numerous studies done that show the links between physical activity and its positive effect on depression and anxiety, but did you know that weight and resistance training are overall the most therapeutic? A medical news article from 2019 revealed that “researchers have documented the anxiolytic effects of resistance training as well, with low-to-moderate intensity training (less than 70% of one-repetition maximum) effecting the most consistent and largest decreases in anxiety.”

    (https://www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/article/4268)

Next time you’re at the gym, don’t be afraid to hop between the guys and grab those dumbbells. I promise that lifting and seeing results will empower and motivate you to work even harder -- an attitude that will extend to other areas of your life, too!