Strength training is one of the absolute best ways to care for your body. It only takes a two second Google search to produce millions of results on the benefits of having muscle mass. The health benefits of a strong body will carry you throughout your life. To keep it simple though, strength training gives you the look of being lean while providing the strength and energy to conquer your days. And who doesn’t want to look better and have more energy?!
Too many women avoid the weight room in fear of “bulking up,” but let me be the one millionth person to tell you that it is not possible. Women do not have nearly enough testosterone (naturally) running through their bodies to build the muscle that men do. Ok, now that we’ve gotten that myth dispelled, let the benefits strength training speak for themselves.
The most obvious benefit of building muscle is the increase in your strength, but there are several other beneficial side effects that come from lifting weights. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at its resting state. This occurs because your metabolism is always revved. More muscle slows the aging process too (this reason alone should encourage everyone to go do some bicep curls today). Additionally, the more muscle you have, the stronger your core is and the taller you’ll stand giving you improved posture. The benefits aren’t just limited to your physical body though. Having more muscle mass has also been said to lead to improved emotional and mental states. Overall, a stronger body is a defined body making you look good and feel good in that outfit you’ve been dying to wear. Being strong should not be feared – Strong is Sexy!
Not all women (or men) will build muscle at the same rate. It is a process that requires dedication and commitment. It also takes research and time to learn and try various routines, exercises, and weights to understand what works best for your body. Each body is unique and responds differently. Some require a routine of a few exercises using high weight with a low number of reps. Then there’s the opposite that require moderate weight with a high number of reps for a variety of exercises. Take your time to find your best fit and give the results time to show. They will – I promise!
With strength training must also come proper nutrition. Not only do your muscles require the right mix of fuel to constantly be in repair and build mode, but without proper nutrition, you can add size and appear “bigger.” Which is where the most common myth (already debunked above) comes into play. There is no need to live solely off egg whites and protein shakes, but you do need to keep your food choices in check when strength training. You’ll quickly learn when it’s alright to indulge on that piece of cake and when you need to remain disciplined and eat your greens.
Rest, Rest, Rest. Strength training is not a 7 days/week fitness routine. When lifting weights, you are creating tiny tears in your muscles. And when those tears heal, they pull themselves together tighter. Cue the muscle definition! When those tears heal, they are stronger too. But the healing takes time, and this is why a day of rest is so vital to your strength training routine. It is often recommended to focus each strength training workout on only one or two body parts to ensure the entire body is worked during a one-week period and then it has a full week to rest, repair and prepare for the workout again. Same place, same time, next week.
A strong body keeps you standing tall through any situation life may throw your way. Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine may just be the missing piece. And there’s no time like the present to start. Sexy, sculpted shoulders could be yours by summers’ end.