Walk into any gym and you will witness a rather remarkable gender divide: girls populate practically every treadmill, elliptical, yoga and cardio class, not daring to venture into the man cave that is the weight room. There seems to be an unwritten rule that women should max out at 12 lbs dumbbells. Why is it that women shy away from lifting weights?
The real reason women don’t lift weights
Among women there seems to be a rampant obsession with becoming smaller. As if we want to erase ourselves to perfection. We are possessed with the notion of taking up less space. We cling to the mantra “small is beautiful” while our male counterparts strive for size and strength.
In short, the image of what is healthy and beautiful has been portrayed by media and culture as very skinny and with little muscle tone. Look at any magazine and you'll see models with impossible physiques, idolizing smallness and frailty. This idea is further perpetuated by a billion dollar diet industry that promises quick and easy results.
Decades of bad and lacking information have left women with the misconception that if they lift heavy they will become masculine and bulky. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The amount of testosterone in a woman's body prevents her from achieving too much size. There really is no reason women should need to fear heavy weights. On the contrary, to build a healthy body, we should be flocking to them.
Why should women lift?
It’s actually quite simple - women should lift for the same reasons men lift:
- It boosts your metabolism: Because muscles burn more calories than fat, even at rest, increasing lean muscle mass increases metabolism so that we actually need more calories in a day. And let’s be honest, who wouldn't want to eat more?
- Body composition: Most women say they would like a “toned” look. In most cases, achieving this is done not by losing fat, but rather by building muscle (a perky butt is made of strong glutes!). Take a second to think about the math; you can significantly improve body fat percentage simply by adding muscle, even if you don’t lose any fat.
- Injury prevention: Strong muscles support a proud posture and proper movement patterns, which reduces the risk of injury and chronic pain. Muscle also helps to maintain bone density as we age, which is even more important for women than for men!
- Confidence: Women should lift because no matter who you are or what you do, it feels good to know you’re strong.
To all the women out there, challenge the status quo and go lift something heavy today. And when you do, share it with us and be an inspiration to others - post a picture to our Facebook page, tag us on Instagram post, and use #ADRFitnessDC.