Not enough women lift weights. There, we said it. The benefits of using free weights (ie, not attached to a machine) are such that anyone who takes exercise even slightly seriously should consider it.
We regularly use weights and resistance training as part of our routines at Northern Bootcamp – they are a critical part of the amazing results we help campers achieve.
However, there is a stigma attached to using weights and women are frequently hesitant to do it, usually for one of two reasons:
- The free weights section in a gym is a scary, male-dominated place.
- Women don’t want to get ‘bigger’ – and they think using weights will cause them to pile on muscle mass.
Number 1 is admittedly usually true and for these purposes, let’s assume we’re talking about smaller weights that you can buy and keep in your own home, using whenever you want without fear of intimidation.
But number 2 is far from true – and there are so many fitness benefits to using weights as part of your exercise routine that it is well worth considering.
Just to be absolutely clear, we are not talking about anything like this (though it is impressive – check out the guys’ reactions in the background!)
Why every woman should lift weights
Here are six great reasons to incorporate even small weights into your routine. You won’t end up looking like a female body-builder. We promise!
- It helps to burn fat
Lifting weights increases your metabolic rate and, much like High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), will make your body burn energy and calories more effectively and for longer, even after you’ve finished exercising.
- It helps you look toned
That toned look you’re going for? You’re more likely to achieve that with weights than with hours spent on a cycling machine (though cardio work is also important!)
- It increases strength
Weights will increase your core and limb strength, and put that spring in your step. You’ll climb stairs faster, stand up straighter and feel taller.
- It improves energy levels
Even small amounts of resistance training have been proven to raise your energy levels, for hours after the session, and even in the long-term (as long as you keep exercising.) If you constantly find yourself feeling tired, more exercise, not less, is the answer.
- Helps beat stress
Another problem with modern life: most of us feel stressed at some point. Including weights as part of your routine is a brilliant stress-buster.
- Adds variety to your routine
This is critical – you’ve got to enjoy your exercise sessions, and a bit of variety can hugely improve enjoyment levels. Setting yourself new challenges and beating them is great for your self-esteem, too.
So you see, weights really are well worth including. We’ll be looking at ways that beginners can work with weights safely on a future blog.
If you are unsure about lifting weights or want a beginner’s guide, then why not book yourself onto a Northern Bootcamp? We run camps for a single day or a weekend and they are perfect introductions for beginners.