As a female bikini competitor I get asked all the time, “You’re a bodybuilder?? But you’re so tiny!” And then proceeds a 10-15 minute conversation explaining the different categories of competing and so on and so on, followed by the next question, “So you lift weights. Doesn’t that make you bulky?” My response is always a resounding no way, I earned this body by busting my butt (literally) in the weight room, not just on the treadmill.
Lots of women tend to shy away from weights because this fear that they’ll look like a linebacker - I should know I was one of those girls! But I can tell you first hand, lifting weights has dramatically changed my physique, my energy level, and overall strength. And if you don’t believe me, check out these proven facts.
Here are just a few benefits of weightlifting for us ladies:
- Increased metabolic rate…hello calorie burning! While cardio is a great form of exercise, it only helps us burn calories while the actual exercise is taking place. Lifting weights, however, makes our body a calorie burning machine all day long.
- Increased bone density…Goodbye osteoporosis! Women especially, are at risk of bone loss as we age. Pumping iron along with a healthy diet helps keep our bones strong and healthy.
- Increased lean muscle mass…No bulkiness here, just strong, sexy curves. Also, the more lean muscle mass we have on our bodies, the higher our metabolic rate. Muscle burns calories even after we leave the gym; you can’t beat that benefit!
- Improved balance and prevention from injury. We can all benefit from improved balance given that all of our daily movements involve some sort of balance and coordination. Strength and resistance training also strengthens our joints, muscles, and tendons, which helps prevent injuries in everyday activities.
- Reduced blood pressure and other health benefits. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in America. Lifting weights can lower your risk of heart disease; a health benefit that is hard to beat (pun intended). And you know that stubborn “spare tire” that’s so hard to lose and most likely contributes to a string of diseases? Guess what gets rid of it…yep weights again.
- Better outlook on one’s self and life. What’s that quote from the movie “Legally Blonde” starring Reese Witherspoon? “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” Well she’s right on. Exercise releases endorphins into the body, thus increasing your mood. And of course working out is going to give you a rockin’ bod, which usually makes us ladies pretty happy 😉
All that from pumping iron, who knew? So now that you’re ready to hit the gym and enter what I like to call the “jungle,” remember safety first. If you are new to lifting weights I recommend making an appointment with a trainer to help familiarize you with the equipment. So work hard, have fun, and lift those weights girl!
Elspeth Polt serves as Fitness Ambassador for LeaseQ, one of the leading providers of fitness equipment leasing and financing in the United States. Polt is also an ISSA certified personal trainer, AFAA certified group exercise instructor, national bikini bodybuilding competitor, fitness model and published writer. To learn more about LeaseQ and its free financing platform, visit www.leaseq.com. To learn more about Elspeth Polt visit www.elspethpolt.com.