I'm a personal trainer, and when I begin with new female clients, I always start them on a weight-lifting routine. Yet I always hear the same complaints: "Only men should weight-lift!" or "I don't want to get big!"
I squash these myths as soon as I hear them. There are countless benefits to a weight-lifting regimen, and it's something men and women should work into their training schedule. Here are 10 reasons why I think everyone should pick up some weights:
1. Muscle takes up less space in your body than fat.
Because muscle is denser than fat, it takes up less space in your body than fat does. Lifting weights will help you turn the fat in your body into muscle and thus help you lose inches.
2. You don't need a gym to lift weights.
You also don't need a treadmill, park, or trail either. If you don't have dumbbells, you can use body-weight exercises that require no equipment and work just as well at toning your body.
3. Strength builds balance.
Practicing some form of strength training will improve your balance.
4. Muscle strength allows you to do more.
Whether you want to simply be able to rearrange your house or roughhouse with your toddler, strength training will allow you to have fun and stay active without having to call someone to help you.
5. Muscle uses more energy than fat.
The best way to explain this is also the simplest: You can use muscle as you move; you cannot “use” fat. When you walk or talk or lift, you engage your muscles, and in doing so, expend energy. Even when doing nothing at all, muscle is burning more calories than fat is. Granted, it’s a small amount, but it still counts.
6. Lifting weights lowers your stress levels.
This is my personal opinion. When life is going faster than I can handle, I go out to my garage and start lifting. It doesn’t have to be for a long amount of time. I’ve fit in a great 10-minute session while waiting for clients. Whether it's 10 minutes or two hours, I leave feeling better about myself and my brain feels a bit calmer.
7. Lifting can double as a cardio session.
I always tell my clients to get in three days of weight training and at least two days of cardio. However, they don’t have to be separate workouts! Anyone who has run hills or a hard, off-road trail will understand that is a serious leg workout. My simple rule is to mix in some legs with pretty much any weight session and you’ll see your heart rate climb. Boom, cardio.
8. You'll sleep better.
Active adults sleep better after doing things during the day that are exhausting. I seriously doubt most people would continue to have sleeping issues if they stayed active and had a great weight-training session that day.
9. Your bones will become stronger.
Weight training, along with running and a healthy diet, is the best way to develop strong bones. WebMD even lists it as the best way to curb osteoporosis. Why wait until it’s an issue? Make your bones stronger now.
10. It is the ultimate healthy habit.
The healthiest daily thing you can do for yourself is to go lift. Make it a routine; make it habitual. Lift weights for your health, for your looks, and for your longevity. For your loved ones and for yourself, getting your workout in is far more important than you think. Remember, not every lifting session needs to be your best to reap all these listed benefits. Do it honestly and consistently and you will be rewarded. I promise!