Today on the blog we have Molly from Girls Gone Strong. She is going to be the one to tell you that lifting weights won’t turn you into the hulk, but it will make you a stronger person, and don’t we all want that? Today Molly is talking about strength training, and 4 key reasons why strength training is critical to you looking and feeling your best! Take a read folks!
How many of you are guilty of thinking or saying these common phrases?
“I don’t want to lift weights. I don’t want to get bulky.”
Or how about:
“I don’t want to gain any muscle, I just want to tone the muscle I already have.”
Unfortunately, these are just a few of the common responses I often hear when I suggest strength training to women who are interested in getting in better shape. Obviously “getting in better shape” can means different things to different women, but I think it’s safe to say that “looking and feeling better” is something that every woman wants.
1. Strength Training Helps Burn Body Fat
Yes, for years we’ve been told that we need to do hours of endless cardio to burn body fat, but the truth is – well, that’s just not true. Intelligent strength training using large compound movements like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and push-ups will not only burn tons of calories while you’re performing the exercises, but due to EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) your body will burn significantly more calories post-strength training as well.
Not to mention, strength training will add lean mass, which is very metabolically expensive (read: burns a lot of calories), so you’ll be burning more calories even at rest.
2. Strength Training Adds Lean Mass, And Sexy Curves
When most women think about getting the look they desire for their body, they think about “losing” not “adding,” but hear me out.
As I mentioned above, strength training will add lean mass and sexy curves to your body. Sure, many women are looking to lose body fat, but if you lose body fat without adding lean mass, you’ll simply be a smaller (and possibly softer) version of yourself. If that’s your goal, that’s totally fine. However, if you want to have a leaner and more toned appearance, with a round curvy backside, and firm back, arms, and shoulders, strength training is a must.
And don’t worry – you won’t gain gobs of muscle overnight. When you achieve a level of muscularity that you find appropriate for your personal goals, you can switch to a maintenance strength training program.
3. Strength Training Makes Everything Easier.
First and foremost, let’s clear this up: strength training is not always lifting weights. Strength training is any type of movement or exercise that imposes an increasing demand on your muscles and/or central nervous system, causing an adaptation.
So basically, you apply a stress your muscles and/or your central nervous system, and then your body tears down muscle tissue and rebuilds it bigger and stronger than before, or it increases the efficiency of your neural pathways so you can recruit more muscle fibers more effectively in the future. Simply put, your body figures out how to make the task you just performed easier in case you have to perform it again in the future (and it makes other tasks feel easier too!)
So whether you’re changing the 5 lb. water cooler at work, hoisting your 70 lb. black lab in to the car, or giving your 10 year old a piggy back ride – the stronger you are, the easier those things will be.
4. Strength Training Helps You Avoid Injury.
Yes, many people consider strength training/lifting weights to be dangerous. In response to that, I have to refer to one of my favorite quotes from my friend Bret Contreras:
“If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.”
As with any activity, of course there is an inherent danger. The same would be true with rock climbing, cycling, running, or even yoga.
But it’s very simple to drastically reduce your risk of injury with strength training, and in fact, the stronger you are, the less likely you are to get injured, period.
What are some simple ways to reduce your risk of injury and bulletproof your body?
- Choose a program that’s appropriate for your ability level. You wouldn’t throw a Kindergartener into Calculus, would you? So why would you jump into an advanced strength training program. Start where you are, and you’ll stay safe over the long haul. If you’re curious about where to find a program like this, click here.
- Prepare your body to work out. There are a couple of extremely important things that you can do for 10 minutes before you start your work-out to ensure that you stay safe, and those are foam rolling, and a good dynamic warm-up. These activities prepare your body for the workout it’s about to do, and not only improve your performance, but keep you safe.
- Understand correct form. If you’re performing an exercise correctly, not only are you going to get better results more quickly since you’re using the correct muscle groups, but you’re going to reduce your risk of injury significantly. For example, keeping proper spinal alignment while you pick something up off of the floor ensures that you’re using the proper muscles to stabilize your body and lift the weight instead of jamming your vertebrae together to stabilize you.
- If you’re not sure what proper form looks like, The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training includes over 80 minutes of instruction on 70 different exercises. You can check it out here.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can lose body fat, and gain a tighter, firmer, and more toned appearance while learning how to perform exercises correctly and staying safe, check out The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training from Girls Gone Strong.
The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training Includes:
- Three 16-week training programs that are suitable for women of all ability levels, plus directions on how you can customize your training program by substituting in appropriate exercises, essentially give you tens of thousands of different training programs so you’re never bored!
- Over 80 minutes of high definition video demonstrating exactly how to perform over 70 exercises so you can get the best results, stay safe, and feel extremely confident when you’re strength training.
- An exercise glossary with pictures and descriptions of those same exercises so you can grab a quick refresher anytime you need one.
- A training manual telling you everything you need to know about strength training: what it is, why it’s important, what all of the training lingo means, and what you can do outside the gym to ensure that you’re getting the best results inside the gym!
- Progress tracking guide so you can keep track of not only what you’re doing inside the gym to ensure constant improvements and results, but you can also track fat loss, sleep, mood, and energy levels.
If you’re a woman who is new to strength training and you don’t know where to start, or even if you’ve been training for a while and you’re just looking for a comprehensive program that will get you incredible results while keeping you safe, look no further than The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training.
About the Author:
Molly Galbraith is a certified strength and conditioning coach, former gym owner, and Co-Founder of Girls Gone Strong, a website dedicated to providing women with the best nutrition, training, health, and lifestyle information.
Her personal mission is to, ”Help women discover and accept what their best body looks and feels like with minimal time and effort, and to help them give themselves grace and compassion about it.”