One of the most common concerns women express when they begin a personal training regime is, “I don’t want to get too big.” The apprehension is in thinking that lifting weights will result in huge muscle mass and make them look too bulky. Being in the business for over two decades, I can honestly say I’ve never seen that happen with a female or male client. The reality is that strength training, especially for women, has multiple health benefits, and acquiring muscle tone from lifting weights is a gradual process. As the process unfolds, body fat is replaced by muscle tone, which yields a similar body mass with the benefit of tissue transforming from fat to muscle, resulting in a more compact physique.
1. Increased Metabolism and Weight loss
The first and obvious benefit to strength training is weight. A regular strength training regimen is a double attack on calorie intake. First, we burn calories during the workout. Second, even when we are at rest, muscles burn more calories than fat. So, after you begin to tone and strengthen your muscles, you have a built-in fat burning machine going all the time. In fact, your body will burn more calories in the 24-hours after a strength training session than after a cardio session.*
2. Muscle Tone
The beauty of strength training is that it goes beyond skin deep. Lifting weights and exerting muscles beyond their current thresholds actually tears the muscle fibers. The body responds by going to work to repair the tears. The repair process rebuilds the muscle with stronger fibers, resulting in a bigger, denser and stronger muscle.
3. Stronger bones
Women can begin losing bone density as early as age 30. Maintaining or increasing bone density is important because fragile bones increase the risk of broken bones. The good news is that bones respond in a similar fashion to muscles when stressed. When we bear additional weight onto our skeletal system, it responds by creating new bone, thereby making them more solid and stronger.
4. Better Balance and Reduced Risk of Injury
Increased muscle mass and bone density work together to help improve balance regardless of age, however this is especially important as we grow older when balance can become an issue. Maintaining a good weight, toned muscles and making positive steps to increase bone density are the triple attack to preventing falls. A stronger muscular-skeletal framework also reduces the risk of injury in household tasks such as carrying grocery bags, cleaning, walking up steps, bending, stooping and picking up laundry baskets.
5. You’ll Feel Better and Have Fun
It’s also a good idea to mix up your fitness routine because our muscles and bones can get used to certain activities and stay the same size in response. When we vary our workouts, whether by area of the body, type of exercise or increasing weights, these new ways of stimulating the tissue ensures that muscle and bones continue to respond by getting stronger. The sum result is that you will feel great, and your clothes will fit better too, and who doesn’t want that!? Trying different workouts also adds a component of fun and community to our hard work.
Full Spectrum Fitness offers a variety of ways to vary your workouts; strength training, spinning, group fitness classes and multiple options in the cardio room. Schedule your next appointment now!
* The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research