If I had a dollar for every time I heard one of my friends say “I don’t do weights because I don’t want to bulk up,” I’d have a lot more high heels in my closet by now. It’s quite common for women to think that lifting weights, even heavy ones, will give them bodybuilder figures. I actually used to be the girl who would go to the gym just to run for 40 minutes, then do some sit-ups and leave. In the past year, I’ve been reading more and more about how important lifting weights is for your body—especially if you’re a woman. So, today I’m going to do my best to convince you that incorporating weights into your workout will be the best thing you’ll ever do for your body, your metabolism, and your skinny jeans. Here’s why you should be using weights…
- Weights strengthen your bones.
One of the most important things lifting weights does for your body is strengthening your bones. Lifting weights—not just doing cardio or aerobics—actually helps to prevent the bone disease osteoporosis later in life. In fact, studies have shown that lifting weights can actually increase your bone density and build new bones. It may seem like a long time from now, but years from now when you aren’t using a walker, you’ll thank yourself for lifting weights back in the day.
- Weights burn fat.
The more muscular you are, the more calories your body burns throughout the day and the more fat you burn too. Sure, doing cardio, like running or spinning, will burn calories, but doing weights will sculpt your muscles and give you the toned body you want. According to Women’s Health, when Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. The reason was because the lifters’ weight loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle. So, protect those gorgeous, toned muscles by lifting weights! I like mixing up my cardio days with days when I go on a quick run and work my legs or arms with weights afterwards.
- Weights don’t bulk!
Women are afraid of bulking up when they do weights, but what women don’t realize is that we don’t even have the hormone levels men have to make our figures look like bodybuilders. According to the girls at Tone It Up, it is much more difficult to create massive muscles like the professionals than it is to lean out when using weights. The bulkiness women are afraid of usually comes from a high caloric diet, or not burning enough calories throughout the day. Eat healthy, sweat at least five times a week, and lift weights—your muscle definition will take the spotlight!
- Weights will make your clothes feel better.
Since I’ve started incorporating weights into my workout routine in the past few months, I’ve noticed that I’ve gained definition in areas that I never saw it before. Since lifting weights increases your metabolism and builds muscle, you’ll start to notice signs like a flatter, strong stomach, a more muscular derrière, and defined shoulders, to name a few. Along with eating a healthy diet, lifting weights will help those skinny jeans look better than ever, give you a defined waist in your favorite dress, and make your shoulders and back look toned and feminine in your end-of-summer tank tops.
If this doesn’t convince you to start picking up some weights, I don’t know what will! Just make sure you’re lifting weights the right way. For example, if you’re doing a set of 20 lunges with 5-lb weights, the 18th, 19th, and 20th lunges should feel very challenging. When they start to feel easy, that’s when you know it’s time to bump up your dumbbells to 7- or 8-lb weights.