Bro, do you lift?
Is the idea of using your gym’s weight room cringeworthy? We know there’s a ton of grunting and the equipment is all sweaty, but the truth is there are benefits of weight lifting for women.
Just because you’re lifting weights doesn’t mean you’ll get bulky or turn into a meathead. Most strength training can be done in your living room and in many cases you only need your weight or resistance bands.
If you want to start lifting weights, make sure to select a routine that works for your body and your goals. There’s also nothing wrong with talking to a professional trainer or coach first.
The big question on most people’s minds is does lifting burn fat? Absolutely. Studies have shown it burns more fat than cardio alone.
Keep reading our FAQs about strength training below to learn the truth about weightlifting.
I’m Trying to Tone Up — Does Lifting Burn Fat?
Most people start running on a treadmill every morning when they decide it’s time to shed a few pounds or get in shape. This certainly will make them healthier in the long run, but they’re missing a huge opportunity by not lifting.
When researchers have studied “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (EPOC), or the amount of oxygen the body needs to return to a resting state, they found strength training results in higher EPOC.
In simpler terms, the body keeps burning more calories after weightlifting. This effect lasts up to 48 hours after a workout.
What Are the Reasons to Lift Weights?
Lifting weights isn’t just about getting “swole.” Everyone needs strong, healthy muscles throughout their lives. This is especially important as we age.
The adage “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” applies to your muscles. A good strength training routine strengthens your bone density, boosts your metabolism, and increases your overall quality of life.
And it’s not just about muscles. Weightlifting affects our body’s physiology. Incorporating it into your exercise routine can help manage chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, depression, and diabetes. Studies have even shown it can sharpen your thinking skills.
Will Lifting Weights Make Me Bulky?
This is a common misconception about weightlifting and one of the reasons some women avoid it. Not to mention that using heavy weights and barbells are intimidating for most beginners.
We’ve all seen the guy at the gym with biceps as big as your waist but the truth is that doesn’t happen naturally. Chances are he’s working out seven days a week and taking bodybuilding supplements to get bigger.
A well-balanced diet and a safe routine will not make you bulky. It will give you muscle definition. Most people end up losing more weight than they thought was possible, looking skinnier than when they first started.
The good news is women are starting to learn the truth about this myth and hitting the weights. Just check out the fitness community on Instagram if you don’t believe us.
Can I Strength Train Without Equipment?
Yes! You don’t need a state-of-the-art gym that costs $200 a month to use or a full set of dumbbells in your garage to lift weights.
The best way to begin is to buy two sets of dumbbells, one you can do a lot of reps with and the other heavier for exercises involving your legs. Combining these dumbbells in a HIIT-style workout is all you’ll ever need.
Some people buy resistance bands to ease into weights and, if all else fails, use bodyweight exercises like push-ups, air squats, sit-ups, or burpees. They can be done anywhere and are highly effective.
How Do I Start Lifting Weights?
When you’re ready to begin lifting, the Internet is your best friend.
At the click of a button you can find hundreds of articles and databases full of sample strength training workouts for beginners. You can also hire a coach, download an app, or order a program.
At a gym, you can use free weights — like dumbbells or barbells — or machines. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Free weights will get you stronger, faster. They naturally activate more muscles. Machines are easy-to-use for beginners and ensure you have good form, but often don’t hit your stabilizer muscles.
Next, choose how many repetitions to do based on your goals. Doing 1-5 reps builds super-dense muscles, 6-12 reps builds equal amounts of strength and size, and 12+ reps are for increasing your muscular endurance.
For beginners wanting to see results and improve their overall health, 6-12 reps is likely the best choice.
Should I Change My Diet When Weight Lifting?
This is something most people don’t like to hear but diet is the foundation of your training program.
Contrary to popular belief, working out doesn’t let you eat whatever you want. At least if you want to see results. Good nutrition also helps with recovery.
Not that you have to give up everything you love, just be strategic with what you eat and how many calories you consume. Everyone has a cheat day now and again.
Experts recommend tracking your macronutrients — carbohydrates, proteins, and fats — and balancing them in an approximate 40-30-30 split. With a goal of weight loss, you should probably take in fewer calories than normal.
Other tips for weight loss include drinking a lot of water, getting plenty of sleep, loading up on protein early in the morning, and cutting back on sugar.
It’s Time to Start Pumping Iron!
If you’ve been doing cardio exercises like running or biking for weeks and you’re unhappy with the results, introduce some strength training in your regiment. It’ll make you stronger and healthier.
And does lifting burn fat? Never worry about it again. It burns fat up to 48 hours after your strength training workout.
Keep reading Healthy Living Women to have all of your health and wellness questions answered. We have hundreds of articles with tips on working out, eating healthy, and we even have delicious recipes to share.