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15 Reasons Why Every Woman Should Lift Weights

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Times are changing. Go back a few years and you rarely saw a female lifting weights in the gym. More recently though, many women have started to appreciate the value of strength training for their physique, confidence and health. Not every woman though… yet. 

Before we start we just wanted to mention one thing – weight training will not make you big and bulky. What it will do is add shape, curves and athleticism. It’ll also turn you into a fat burning machine.

With that in mind we’ve complied a list of the reasons why every woman should lift weights. Read on to find out more…


#1. Reduces belly fat

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Your metabolic rate is based around how much muscle you have, combined with how active you are. What this means is that you burn more calories the more muscle muscle you have.

Research shows that weight training can induce fat loss quicker than cardio alone. It has a more potent effect on the hormones that promote muscle growth, but at the same time reduce fat – a process referred to as partitioning.

Aim for big exercises that include lots of different muscle group to maximize the fat shredding effects. These could include squats, deadlifts, pushes and pulls.


#2. You’ll Get Stronger

There are no down sides to being strong. Having a workout plan that relies on cardio will not make you stronger though – and due to the type of muscle fibers and long-slow nature of aerobic exercise, it might even make you weaker.

Regular weight training strengthens the right muscle fibers and trains your nervous system to be able to stimulate enough muscle to overcome heavier weights. Cardio just can’t do this.


#3. Improves muscle shape

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Not only will you get stronger, your muscles will change shape too.

There’s nothing more attractive than nice, shapely curves. As you build muscles you’ll start to add athleticism to your frame that you just won’t get from cardio – aerobic exercise might help with weight loss but that’s all it’ll do.

The additional benefit is that more muscle equals a higher metabolic rate so you’ll not only get better curves, but less fat sitting over them. You’ll really be able to show them off.


#4. Active Daily Living Tasks Get Easier

Getting strong in the gym will positively affect all aspects of your life. Day to day functional tasks such as walking, shopping, playing and dancing all become easier when your muscles are strong and more resistant to fatigue.

Essentially, when you’re muscles are stronger you expend more energy completing non-specific tasks – a process called metabolic economy.

A loss of functional ability is particularly common in older women who can gradually lose muscle mass with age – this is referred to as sarcopenia. Strength training is by far the best intervention to fight this and retain your independence.


#5. Keeps You Looking Younger

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It’s not quite a miracle cure but hitting the weights area of the gym can keep you looking fresh and young. Nice full muscles give the skin a nice tone and the increased blood flow ensures a nice glow.

Weight training reduces inflammation and regularly sweating during your sessions gets rid of dirt and oils from the pores. On top of that, weight training boosts chemical in your body known as growth factors – these help your stem cells to divide and multiply which also keeps you looking and feeling young.


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#6. Fights Depression

Strength training is is increasingly recommended for improving mental health. Scientists are now realizing what a powerful tool it can be.

During exercise you’ll get a big feel good release from the neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These can help to immediately life your mood.

There are a number of psychological and emotional benefits to weight training. In the long-term it can improve sleep, confidence and energy levels which can all elevate your mood. The increase in self-worth and feelings of achievement will also benefit you.


#7. Improves Fertility

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Being overweight can reduce your chances of conceiving – but being underweight can be just as bad. Having a curvy, athletic build keeps you healthy and boosts your fertility, and keeps you at a healthy weight.

A healthy body mass index for women wanting to get pregnant is around 22.

On another note, being healthy, fit and strong will also make childbirth, and recovery back to your pre-pregnancy figure much easier.


#8. Your Health will Improve

Weight training improves the size and function of your muscles – and this makes it one of the most effective ways of improving insulin sensitivity. This in turn can reduce your chances of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Bigger, denser muscles are better at using carbohydrates as glycogen for energy. This means you can store more sugar in your muscles and not in your blood stream, meaning you’re less likely to store it as fat. Storing more glycogen in the muscle also helps with the recovery and muscle building process.

Weight training has also been found to improve blood lipids – it decreases the ‘unhealthy’ LDL cholesterol and boosts the ‘healthy’ HDL.


#9. Your Libido Will Spike

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Male and female hormones are not a million miles away from each other. Both men and women have testosterone and estrogen in their body, just at different amounts.

The main difference is that whilst men have more testosterone, women have more estrogen. Regardless of gender though, when you weight train you will get an increase in testosterone. This results in increased sex drive and libido. Cardio doesn’t have the same effect, and could even reduce your T levels.

To be clear, the increase in testosterone in women is only small and nowhere near enough to promote masculine characteristics.


#10. Improves Your Bone health

Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis than men – a degenerative disease of the bones that makes them weak and brittle.

It is a condition that results from low estrogen, so post-menopause women are at a highest risk. However it is also becoming more common, even amongst young females.

Weight training has been shown to preserve, and in some cases even improve bone density. Whereas physical inactivity is a major cause of bone loss, weight bearing exercise places mechanical stress or ‘loading’ through the bone that forces it to remodel and grow stronger.

Cardio such as running provides only a minimal stress on bones, and activities like cycling and swimming provide no stimulus whatsoever.


#11. You’ll sleep better

 

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Weight lifting is a tiring game. When you train regularly your body needs sleep to restore and recover. By regularly lifting weights you’ll sleep longer and deeper.

Research has shown that those who suffer from sleeping disorders can improve their sleep quality by as much as 30% by regularly participating in strength training.


#12. Improves Your Motor skills

trength training improves your ability to move.Free weights in particular will challenge your co-ordination and technique –  your success in weight lifting relies ultimately on how well your nervous system can control your limbs whilst under load.

Essentially, strength training is a skill that needs practicing. Improving your ability to move weights has a knock on effect to your overall ‘motor skills’ or body awareness. This basically means you’re co-ordination, balance agility, speed and power will all improve.


#13. Boosts Your Immune System

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When you are excessively stressed your body can’t manufacture enough white blood cells to protect you from infections and viruses.

Weight lifting reduces stress, therefore it allows your body to produce white blood cells and boost your immune system. You’ll be less likely to pick up coughs, colds and respiratory tract infections.

Just be aware though that more isn’t always better – the immune system works in a J curve with regards to exercise frequency. Too much is as bad as too little.

If you lift hard every day you might find that you’re not giving yourself enough opportunity to recover. This in itself will make your immune system plummet. 2-3 sessions a week is fine.


#14. You’ll Have More Energy

The increased metabolism, strength and blood flow you get from lifting weights will reduce feelings of fatigue- it’ll also conserve energy.

You’ll feel more confident and have a sense of achievement with your new physique. Couple that with the feel good chemicals flowing around your body and you’ll be bursting with energy in no time.

Whats more – as you’ll be fitter you’ll be using less energy to complete everyday tasks as well so you’ll have a bigger ‘energy bank’.


#15. Decreases PMS Symptoms

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Regular exercise can help to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome.

If you feel a little cranky and you’re suffering from cramps then you’ll probably not feel like physical activity.

Studies show though that by hitting the gym you can relieve menstrual pain and bloating. You’ll also have a surge in energy about half way through your cycle, meaning if you time it right you’ll be able to lift heavier and with more energy.


Summary

Hopefully this has given you enough reason to include strength training in your workout routine. It doesn’t necessarily have to replace cardio, but should outweigh it if you are to get all of the benefits discussed above.

If you are unsure where to start, ask your local trainer for advice or follow one of our Workout Guides.


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