As they say, “strong is the new skinny.” Women are turning more and more to building muscles instead of simply dieting and losing weight.
And this is a good thing.
In the 1960’s, thin was in. And girls often made calorie restriction the beginning and end of their “fitness” plan. By the 1980’s, aerobics and running replaced starvation and we all took a healthy step in the right direction. But the endless cardio was often erroneously coupled with too little strength building and fat free diets. The idea was simple, don’t eat fats and perform tons of cardio and you’ll be skinny. The goal was still to get smaller. To weigh less.
Thankfully we’ve come a long way since then. Crossfit and fitness competitions drove more and more women into the gym with the boys. And the results of lifting heavier weights than they had historically done was surprisingly healthy and attractive. Healthier and more attractive than the female fads of the past.
Benefits of using heavy weights are many. First, it gets women to lose their obsession with their scale. As women get more comfortable with having more muscle mass, their bone density also increases due to the effects of heavier weight lifting lifestyles. Appetites will also increase due to this process. They still lose a lot of fat but weigh more and eat more. Further, to their surprise, instead of looking “butch,” female musculature retains all the femininity of a woman’s body. It has an athletic and strong look, but it is not manly or over-sized. The female curvatures are actually maximized and not erased through muscle building. Yet they can be when women simply try and thin out through starvation and endless cardio.
Another benefit of using heavier weights is hormonal balance. Although women naturally produce about 10 times less testosterone than men (which is why the ladies should never worry about becoming “too big”) they still need this hormone. As women age, much like men, they begin experiencing a drop in testosterone. Sedentary lifestyles also can prematurely drop this hormone in young females. This creates an imbalance that has a secondary affect on female estrogen levels. Besides a healthy diet, triggering muscle growth through heavier than average resistance training helps trigger your glands to release growth hormone and testosterone in higher quantities and frequencies than if you do not exercise or only perform endurance workouts. Effectively promoting better hormonal release and balance of even your feminine hormones.
Benefit number three is orthopaedic. Safely lifting weights in multiple angles develops a sturdiness complex of muscles around any given joint. It also helps maintain proper range of motion for body parts. As we noted above, bone density is maximized through heavy weight lifting because both the physical stress of the weights and the testosterone release work to increase bone cells in the bone’s matrix. There is NO drug on earth that works as well for female (or male) bone density as diet and heavy weights.
How Much Should I Lift?
Ah, the million dollar question.
First, proper lifting technique must be learned. You do not want to end up with severe tendonitis or joint pain in your later years. Nor do you want to injury your vertebral discs or other joints in the short term.
Second, choose your goals. Do you want to be ultra fit and athletic like a crossfit athlete? If so, crossfit is something you should try. Do you want to get more curvy? Find a program that develops a standard “fitness competitor’s” physique. Do you simply want to add muscle and bone density and feel healthier and better? Than begin experimenting with different bodybuilder and/or strength training regimens. Our clinic is more than happy to consult with you and point you in the right direction. If you already have a sport you love to do but want some of the benefits of increased hormonal balance, bone density and strength, adding one single day a week of heavy lifting is also very benieficial.
I am happy to see women embrace this new and more healthy fitness trend. If you have any questions on how you could implement this in your life, contact us at: