I hear from a lot of women who admit they’re scared to lift weights.
Maybe it’s because we have this image of steroid-pumping, oil-slicked bodies that barely resemble a female shape. Or maybe we just don’t know where to start and are afraid of looking clueless at the gym.
1) It will not make you look like a man.
To the concern of looking like a steroid-pumping bodybuilder, let me dispel the myth. 99% of women who lift weights won’t end up looking like they had a gender change. God made you a woman, and if you have a woman’s body, I guarantee that fact won’t change by lifting 5-pound weights at the gym a couple times a week.
The women who appear on bodybuilder magazines go through a crazy gym regimen. They often engage in a high-protein diet and take other supplements to make their muscles pronounced. Unless you go to these extreme measures, rest assured you’re safe in your womanhood. In fact, basic weight training will actually improve your figure, boost your posture, and give overall tone to your shape. (More on that below)
2) Weight training is simple to learn.
Now let me step back and say that I know how intimidating the gym can be. Seriously. Before I got my fitness certification, I never set foot in a gym because I had NO idea what to do. All those bulky machines that looked like torture devices? No thank you.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be intimidating. If you have access to a pair of dumbbells or even a floor, you can learn basic moves. A personal trainer or fitness class is a great place to get in-person guidance. But if you have little ones who keep you tied down at home, check out my Exercise board on Pinterest for tons of exercises you can do right in your own living room or backyard.
3) Strength training fights osteoporosis.
As women, this is a disease we should pay attention to. Osteoporosis affects the strength of our bones and can make them extremely brittle and prone to fractures. Other than being female, certain factors increase your risk, like age (the older you are, the more at risk you are) and race (Caucasian and Asian women are especially susceptible).¹
The beauty is that this is one disease we can do something about! Strength training is one of those ways. It is truly possible to ward off and reverse the effects of osteoporosis through simple lifestyle changes like lifting weights. (My friend Keli Gwyn is a living example of this.) For more on what you can do to prevent osteoporosis, visit this article by Mayo Clinic.
4) Muscle takes up less space than fat.
All right, let’s level up here. Many of us want to feel healthier and have more energy. But we’d also love to fit into that pair of jeans we’ve been eyeing for the past month, right?
Here’s the exciting thing about strength training. As you add muscle and burn fat, the composition of your body will change so that you’re taking up less space in your clothes! Even if you see no change on the scale, regular exercise and weight training will transform your body from the inside out. This photo from a Curves forum shows the difference.
So if we refuse to lift weights to enhance our posture, fight osteoporosis, or to prove it really is easy to learn, let’s do it for the jeans, ladies! 🙂
ONE SIMPLE STEP: Follow one of the links I shared in this post (your choice!). Take one idea from the article or Pinterest board and incorporate it in your week.
ONE STEP FURTHER: Write it on your calendar. Choose one or two days each week and put “Strength Train” on your to-do list. Seeing it in writing will shift your thinking and make it a priority.