Walk into any gym and take a look around. With a quick scan of the room you will instantly notice a gender split between the cardiovascular machines and the weight training area. Women pedalling as though their lives depend on it. Sweating on the stepper and running off the calories they are going to eat at lunch. Men congregate by the weights, knocking back protein shakes and checking out their biceps in the mirror. With weight training offering a whole host of benefits for women as well as men, there is no better time to pick up those dumbbells!
The great thing about weight training is its diversity and flexibility. There are different ways to work out with weights to suit every goal, whether you want to be strong, slim, fit or super toned. Your instructor should be able to advise you and create a programme to help you meet your targets. For many women who exercise, losing weight is a priority. Of course cardiovascular exercise will burn calories and can lead to weight loss, but heading over to the weight training area instead of the treadmill can condition your body to burn extra calories even when you are not working out. For every pound of muscle you gain, you can expect to burn approximately 50 calories every day in addition to your usual energy expenditure. It is surprising how quickly this will trigger weight loss or help you to maintain your current weight. One of the biggest benefits of weight training is the muscle definition that you will achieve. Where men utilise the hormone testosterone to build muscle when they train with weights, women’s hormones do not naturally allow bulky muscle gain, and instead ladies who lift are able to create a strong, lean and toned physique without gaining in size. As with other forms of exercise, it is not only your physical appearance that will reap the benefits when you regularly engage in weight training. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with what we look like that we forget to celebrate the positive impact that our fitness activities can have on our overall health. Weight training is fantastic for promoting healthy bones and joints due to stronger connective tissues and reducing the risk of heart disease as a result of maintaining a healthy weight, cholesterol level and blood pressure. Last but certainly not least is the incredibly important effect that a weight training regime can have on your mental health, happiness and wellbeing. Women who incorporate weights into their weekly exercise schedule are more likely to feel confident with their bodies and feel both physically and mentally stronger. Regular training sessions and adopting a healthier lifestyle in order to achieve goals can give women a focus, which in turn provides a sense of achievement and purpose as well as all-round wellbeing.