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Why Women Should Weight Train #SayItWithSweat

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Posted by Stephanie Rozek of Skinny Gene Mom under Weight Training (Strength Training) on 17 January 2014 at 12:00 AM

Women, Weightlifting, and SkinnyGeneMom.com

Steph before and afterI created my fitness and wellness blog, SkinnyGeneMom.com, a little over a year ago, in hopes of connecting with other mothers during their postpartum journey. I am passionate about helping women recover from childbirth, those who struggle with weight loss, and women who are looking to regain their confidence and a body they never imagined possible.

After networking over the last year and working with women at all different life stages, I have found that how we transform our bodies is solely based upon our discipline and proper exercise. Fitness is 85% of how we eat (our nutrition plan), 10% of our physical routine, and 5% of our genetic contribution. When it comes to weight loss for women, the key is to incorporate resistance training into one’s daily fitness regimen. 

There are many reasons women do not weight lift, and instead take a more “traditional” approach (or in my opinion, a “safe” approach) to fitness. Women are afraid because they think that all women who weight lift are body builders; women think they should only lift light weights at high repetitions; and most women are convinced they do not need to lift weights. While cardio is important, weight lifting is essential. No ifs, ands or buts about it… weight lifting must exist in every regimen, young or old, regardless of athletic ability.

Screw the Fresh Start - Weight Training

A problem with traditional fitness and health today is that the media plays such a defining role in our exercise and food choices. The problem lies not so much in the “gorgeous” woman on the cover of a magazine, but young girls are unable or unwilling to invest the time in understanding the science behind that body they admire. Yes, that model probably does do those “500 crunches,” that magazine swears by, but she also eats properly, spends an additional two hours in the gym every day, and is correctly weight-training each part of her body. So when we take a small (and truthful) piece of the puzzle, but forget to include everything else that goes into making the final work of art, we create these false ideas of how to exercise and achieve those goals. 

There also seems to be a ‘shift’ in society’s idea of beauty. I do believe we are finally exploring and accepting the fact that a beautiful body is one that is strong, healthy, and something to be proud of. While “fit may be the new skinny,” one issue still remains: young girls don’t know how to “get fit,” and they rely on quick fixes to “get skinny.” Women of all ages should understand the importance of correct exercise, that food is to be used as nutrition, not as an emotional crutch, and that when we give our bodies both the fuel and the resistance training that it needs, we can and we will remain in-balance. 

Weight lifting is an absolute necessity for all women: young, middle-aged, those recovering from pregnancy, elderly, and every age in between. Resistance training is often-times the most neglected part of women’s fitness, when the reality is; it will benefit women the most. 

The Reasons Why Women Need to Weight Lift:

  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics finds weight-training beneficial

    While I am at the gym, I have seen (only a handful of times) young boys working out with their dads, but never any young girls in the weight room. Why do we underestimate the importance of weight-training and resistance-training for our youth?

    The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines both the benefits and the “inconclusive” results found with weight-training in young women and men.

    “Studies have shown that strength training, when properly structured with regard to frequency, mode (type of lifting), intensity, and duration of program, can increase strength in pre-adolescents and adolescents.”

  2. Strength Training Impacts 10 Biomarkers of Aging

    Strength training has been found to have a beneficial impact on your gene expression -not only slowing aging but actually returning gene expression to youthful levels in seniors who start using resistance training. According to Tanner, “…they showed that strength training in the elderly reversed oxidative stress and returned gene expression in 179 genes to a youthful level. It moved them back to about 10 years. Let me repeat that. The genes got 10 years younger. That’s impressive.”

    Source: How Strength Training Can Help You Live a Longer, Healthier Life

  3. Help to PREVENT and Ease Osteoporosis 

    Prevent instead of correct.According to WebMD, weight lifting can actually help prevent fractures, loss of muscle mass, and broken bones due to osteoporosis related-issues. The article goes on to say that weight lifting actually helps to repair bone loss and overtime can help build new bone. According to Beatrice Edwards, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and director of the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “We lose so much muscle as we age that by the time we’re 70, we only have about 50 to 55% of our muscle mass left.” This bone loss, by the way, can be reversed with proper weight-training.

    Source: Women and Weight Training for Osteoporosis 

    Kathy Keeton, author of the book Longevity, details a research study by Ontario’s McMaster University which found that a year-long strength training program increased the spinal bone mass of postmenopausal women by nine percent. Furthermore, women who do not participate in strength training actually experience a decrease in bone density.

    Not only is weight training safe, it is important for preventing osteoporosis. As muscles are pulled directly against the bone, with gravity working against it, calcium is driven back into the bones. It also stimulates the manufacture of new bone. This adds up to a decrease in the effects of osteoporosis by 50-80 percent. Women need to do weight training two to three times per week for fifteen to thirty minutes. All the different muscle groups should be worked on. For best results, an exercise program should be started long before the onset of menopause.

    Source: Woman’s Encyclopedia of Natural Healing by Dr. Gary Null, page 277 

  4. We burn more calories and lose more weight when we are weight training

    Our bodies continue to burn calories up to 36 hours post-weight training. In one study, detailed by Arwyn Cosgrove, a fitness expert, overweight subjects were assigned to three groups: diet-only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights. The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks. The aerobic group lost only one more pound (15.6 pounds) than the diet group (training was three times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).

    The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than diet and aerobic-only groups respectively). Basically, the addition of aerobic training didn’t result in any real world significant fat loss over dieting alone.

    Source: The Heirarchy of Fat Loss

    Another Fantastic Article: Move Like Your Ancestors

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