When I first started becoming interested in working out and going to the gym, I fell victim to the same habits that many women do. You get in there, maybe do a little mat work, some warm-ups, maybe 100 crunches. Then hop on the treadmill or elliptical for 20-40 minutes thinking that it’s the most effective way to reverse that cheesecake, burger and fries, pint(s) of beer, whatever your vice is.
But I (and possibly you or your friends) have been doing it all wrong. While you might get a good sweat going and even torch some calories, you won’t reshape or tone your body. And you definitely won’t build any muscles. You know what’s a really great way to burn calories? More muscles!
Here are some reasons and busted myths about why ladies should be liftin’.
MythBusted: Fear of looking “bulky”
Probably not going to happen. At least not very easily. We just don’t have the testosterone levels needed to put on crazy amounts of mass. I know there are some very impressive she-Hulks out there, but these women would have worked extremely hard to build that mass. So unless you’re caught in a blast of gamma radiation, don’t worry about turning into the Hulk overnight.
Do it for: Your metabolism
As we get older, our metabolism slows down. As you lift weights, your metabolism revs up. This is the kind of math I enjoy. Not only does it rev up, it stays revved up hours after you’ve finished working out. Muscle is also more active than fat tissue, meaning your resting metabolic rate will be higher if you have more muscle. You’ll literally be burning more calories just while sitting on your
ass buns of steel. Pretty sweet deal.
Another common reason we don’t get bulky while weight training, is because you need to consume a lot of calories to put on significant mass. Like, a lot a lot. And when was the last time you intentionally over-ate to gain weight?
Do it for: Your body on the outside
Running until you’re drenched in sweat is great cardio and definitely burns fat, it’s weights that do the sculpting and give you the definition. Go hard, though. None of this 2lb hand-weight business.
Do it for: Your body on the inside
Where to even begin? Regular weight training can help increase bone density (which can help prevent osteoporosis), muscle also helps prevent type 2 diabetes and keep your arteries healthy (by removing glucose from the bloodstream). It even helps lower your blood pressure for up to 12 hours after you’ve finished working out.
Here’s a pretty good workout plan that can help you get started.