We have seen a shift in female training recently, and we are so here for it!
Strength training has entered the room in a big way, and the fear of lifting heavy weights is slowly dissipating. We are feeling more empowered to reach for kettlebells and dumbbells, and step away from the treadmill for a while.
What is strength training?
Simply put; the movement of weight. Whether it be a dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, machine or even your own bodyweight, it exerts your muscle outside of its comfort zone. Working your muscles in this way actually tears them slightly. The 24-48 hours following your strength workout, they repair and rebuild themselves to be bigger and better than before (with the help of protein).
A very important element of strength training is ‘progressive overload.’ As we get stronger, we need to keep on exerting the muscles past their ‘new’ comfort zone. We must continuously increase the effort whether that is by increasing the weight that we are lifting, the number of reps or the time under tension. If not, the body will plateau.
Why should you strength train?
There are so many reasons as to why you should strength train to name a few;
1) Quality of movement for life: Carrying your children, shopping, or just going up the stairs becomes easier.
2) Disease or degenerative condition prevention: Strength training can help with issues relating to high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes which can lead to heart disease. It significantly reduces the chance of osteoporosis as the bones are used to stress, and are stronger because of it.
3) Increases Cognitive Function: More energy, confidence, reduces stress and anxiety.
4) Combined with the correct diet it also gives you a ‘toned’ look a lot of us strive for.
5) Lean Muscle actually burns fat. Having more muscle mass increases your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). It takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat.
Why does strength training aid weight loss?
It is first important to understand that you cannot transform fat into muscle, they are completely separate from each other. We all have muscle and we all have a layer of body fat that covers the muscle. If you are aiming for a “toned” or “defined” figure, we must look to do two things – burn the layer of fat and build our muscles to be bigger and stronger. Strength training will do both. If your aim is to lose weight then you cannot rely purely on strength training. You will also need to restrict your calories (burning more than your consume). You also need to keep progressively overload the muscles, and add in HIIT sessions for maximum calorie burn.
Another bonus from weight training is that It has a greater level of excess post – exercise oxygen consumption (than aerobic exercise). Once we finish exercise it takes the body a lot of energy to return it to it’s normal/pre-exercise state. It has been shown that this metabolism boost can last up to 36 hours.
Will strength training make me bulky?
No! This is one of the biggest myths about strength training for women. Quite simply, it is very difficult for women to “bulk up” because we don’t have a hormone profile for it. Men will “bulk”, because they have ample testosterone that stimulates muscle growth. Catch 22, they build muscle and lose body fat at different rates/quicker to women, but there’s very little danger of changing our body composition in a way we don’t want it to.
At Beattitude, we are a big fan of strength training. It’s not just about aesthetics, we know the benefits, and we want you to reap them! Not to mention the feeling of nailing a heavier weight, or doing 1 extra rep is pretty great. Our B’ Lift and B’ Strength classes are definitely one to try!
So go on, reach for the weights!