By Chas DeVetter
If you haven't heard, strength training or weight lifting is for everyone; yes even women are doing it for a variety of reasons. Many of the stars on television (my wife has always said that she wants to have Kelly Rippa Arms) are involved in some sort of strength training program as well as the female athletes that you see sporting lean, toned bodies. Not only can strength training help you look great, it can help you maintain weight and body fat levels by raising your metabolism as well as helping to increase you bone density levels.
Before you tell me that you don't want to get bulky and look like one of the jacked up, veiny women in the body building shows I will just let you know that you can save it. That's right, zip it. Women body builders are very dedicated to eating and training to the extreme, not to mention that many of the professionals are getting a little help from good old vitamin S (steroids). Most women lack the testosterone levels to get that HUGE, even with weight lifting. When the women who claim to get bulky from strength training fess up, it often turns out that they were on the Super Size Me McDonalds Diet at the same time, funny how that works. Rather, strength training is likely help you lose inches and body fat while building lean muscle. You have to build muscle to see some definition.
Strength training can help raise your metabolism. For example, if you and your girlfriend (who weighs the exact same but has a much higher percent body fat than you do) are sitting at the Nail Salon getting your nails "did", you are actually burning more calories than her just sitting there. Talk about the rich getting richer!
I often here my over 40 clients say that they just cannot eat the same as they used to because their age. What they don't realize is that a life time of being sedentary or even being cardiovascularly active has allowed their body to lose muscle and lower their metabolism. In fact Dr. Wayne Westcott who is the Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Qunicy, MA has been doing research on strength training for over 15 yrs. He says that after age 20, the average person will lose 5lbs of muscle and gain 5lbs of body fat if they do not strength train. So If you are 50 years old and weigh the exact same as you did when you were 20, but have not strength trained, it is possible that you have lost 15 lbs of muscle and gained 15lbs of body fat. That is a 30lb swing in the wrong direction! Dr. Westcott also has shown women increasing their resting metabolic rate 7-8 percent in just three months after beginning a strength training program.
Finally, women often worry about their bone density and with good reason. Women are much more likely to have osteoporosis or osteopenia than men. Strength training is an effective way to maintain and even build bone density, although I am not talking about lifting the 1lb pink dumbbells or your can of green beans like you read in a magazine (you know who you are), but that's a whole other article. People are surprised at all of the 50 plus women that I have as personal training clients because they want to maintain bone density and stay functionally fit. In fact, I have one client that is in her in her 80's that found out at her last doctors visit that she has significantly increased her bone density.
Whether your goal is to look great in a sleeveless shirt, work towards having a higher metabolism or even to build bone density, strength training is a great option. So, ladies I say it is time to put aside silly mental images of your head, on Arnold Schwartzenaegger's body and start up a program of your own. Join the fun...everyone is doing it.
1. Westcott, Wayne. Dr. Strength-Training Research #1: Examining the Exercise Variables . Club Industry Conference. October 4, 2006.