It can be a little intimidating to walk into a gym and see a bunch of super fit, muscular people. This goes for guys and girls alike. But, men have more a tendency to want to “get big” while women tend to avoid the free weights out of fear they’ll become “manly” or “too muscular.”

These are just stories; they’re societal norms that are actually losing their influence as more and more women start to lift weights. The truth is that any woman can learn how to lift.

In fact, most women should. There are many benefits that become available to you when you start lifting weights. This goes for whether you’re already active in other ways or if you need to make fitness more of a priority.

Here are the top seven reasons you should start weight training.

1. Support Fat Burn

Maybe you love running outside or swimming laps, or maybe you’re a big fan of the group cardio classes your gym offers. If you’re doing these to burn fat, you’ve got it all wrong.

It is good to get your heart rate up in order to work your muscles and fight unwanted body fat. But, it’s even better to combine your cardio efforts with weight training.

Using weights allows you to build strength and target your troublesome fat areas at once. It transforms your physique from multiple angles, toning your muscles and slimming your fat all at once. Oh, and this is done without making you “bulky” or “less curvy.” If anything, weight training enhances your natural womanly curves.

2. Increase Your Resting Heart Rate

The more you workout using weights and cardio, the stronger your heart becomes. You should start noticing a gradual increase in the pump you feel at the gym – aka how fast/hard your heart is beating during your workouts.

Over time, this results in a stronger resting heart rate.

Your resting heart rate is the average speed that your heart beats throughout the day. It’s the pace your heart maintains as you do things like cook food, hang out with friends, and do your work. Increasing your resting heart rate improves your overall heart health and helps offset things like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

3. Boost Everyday Energy Levels

Another benefit of a faster resting heart rate is the higher sense of energy you’ll feel. This isn’t just a result of a stronger heart, either. It’s what happens as your body starts to get used to weight lifting on a regular basis.

The cycle of pushing through a tough workout, repairing from it, then doing another one the following day makes your whole body stronger. Your increased energy is a combination of multiple things that happen as you become more active and more in tune with your body.

4. Sleep Better

More energy and better sleep go hand in hand. When you have better energy to get through the day, you’re able to sleep better. When you sleep well, you wake up with more energy to take on the next day.

Lifting weights may be the sleep solution you’ve been looking for. It helps you work through all the energy you have so that you’re not up at night tossing and turning. More so, weight training sets you up to get a full good night’s sleep. Sleep is crucial for the muscle recovery process and the body’s overall well-being.

5. Improve Your Mood

Your body isn’t the only thing that transforms when you start to lift weights: your mental state significantly improves, too.

Working out helps you to work through the things going on in your life. It’s your time in the day to not think about anything but lifting and improving your quality of life. The repetition of the motions and the mental connection it takes to get a good workout clear out the fog in your mind.

This makes you step away from things like drama, stress, and other unnecessary pressures of life. It helps you refocus and feel more connected to and rooted in your thoughts while working on your physical self.

6. Keep Your Mind Sharp

It’s not like the emotional benefits of lifting weights will magically solve all your problems. But, there are more practical mental benefits that occur when you lift.

If you’re starting to feel the effects of aging, lifting weights is one of the smartest things you can do. It boosts the performance of basic cognitive functions like memory input and recall. It also helps you maintain focus throughout the day, which is helpful in casual conversation and for your general level of productivity.

7. Empower Yourself

The final reason to pick up the free weights in the gym is to give yourself a pick-me-up. Even if you’re already in a pretty good place in your life, there’s no reason not to improve it even more.

Lifting weights empowers you to be your absolute best self. It gives you confidence and teaches you things like hard work, persistence, and commitment. These are qualities that anyone could use more of, and they open the doors for you to discover more personal development opportunities.

Fitness Made Simple: Lift Weights and Eat Well

The stigma around women and weightlifting is decreasing more and more, but unfortunately, it’s still there. However, you owe it to yourself to find out what it’s really like to lift weights.

Once you figure lifting out, all the other aspects of fitness become easier to understand. The bottom line of being active is to move your body and feed it well.

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