Weightlifting for Females- The Truth

“Women shouldn’t lift weights because they will look like a man”

“Protein will make you bulky”

“Lifting is dangerous”… Bla bla bla

These are some of the biggest fitness myths around. The thing that no one ever talks about is the benefits to lifting weights, especially for women.

Why is weight lifting important for health?

First things first, the more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolic rate: eg. the more calories you burn at rest. Therefore, if you build more muscle, you actually have to do less or no cardio to burn more calories resting, which equates to more fat loss.

An addition factor is that many studies have shown that regular weight lifting can lead to increased bone density. Although right now you may take your happy, healthy bones for granted, it is worth caring for your bones and lifting weights before you start to have problems with them.

Confidence. Being able to lift weights and feel strong gives you an inner sense of confidence you didn’t know was possible. There’s something very liberating about adding that extra bit of weight to the bar and doing something you couldn’t do the previous week.

That constant feeling that you have accomplished something new allows you to see how strong you are as a person, and it begins to ooze into other aspects of your life, making you more confident as a whole. And not to mention the fact it will transform your body composition which will also make you feel confident and great.

But, will I get bulky?

People will look on social media, and see a picture of a hugely muscular female, and think that is what weights do, I don’t want to look like that. What they do not realise is that these female bodybuilders choose to look that way.

They have trained specifically with that goal, worked for years to build that muscle and are probably taking some form of hormone supplement to help them build that much muscle.

This is because females simply do not have enough testosterone to have a bulky physique, and muscle growth is slow, meaning it can take years to build up enough muscle for it to even be noticeable. Lifting weights merely gives us the ability to sculpt our own bodies.

The bottom line

As useful as all of this is, diet and nutrition is equally as important. An adequate protein intake is essential for muscle growth. It is recommended that females have per day.

Protein is very important when it comes to muscle growth and fat loss. Protein is made up of 20 amino acids, 9 of which are essential, meaning we cannot create them in our bodies and we must consume them through food.

Benefits of protein

  • Every time you go to the gym and lift your weights, you break down your muscle tissue. This muscle tissue then needs repaired to grow bigger and stronger. The fuel you consume will be what helps to mend these muscles quickly and effectively. When you have proper protein intake, amino acids come and help the damaged muscle to recover faster, meaning if you have an inadequate protein intake you may be taking too long to recover, or not building muscle as effectively as you could be.

 

  • Protein gives a feeling of satiety. Protein is a lot harder to digest than carbs and fat, and therefore the body works harder to break it down and digest it. This slow digestion allows you to feel fuller for longer. It is estimated that due to the thermic expenditure of protein, you lose around 25-30% of its calories during digestion as heat. Meaning if you were to eat 1000 kcals of protein, you would lose 250-300 through digestion. Whereas in carbs you lose around 6-8%, and in fat you lose around 2-3%, which shows in a higher protein diet you will actually digest less calories than if you had a lower protein diet (with the same daily calorie intake).

 

  • Protein intake is especially important if you are dieting. As you restrict your calories and fat and carbs become scarce, your body will turn to protein for a fuel source. If you have an insufficient protein intake then this could cause you to lose muscle as your body will turn to your muscle to break down to get individual aminos.

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