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You have likely noticed most women restrict their workouts to pure cardio while men concentrate on getting strong. One of the reasons for this is to simply want to lose weight and the fear of becoming a muscle-bound shehulk. I am going to break down the reasons why this is not the case after all and why all women should lift weights to improve their physique.

Building Muscles is HARD

Ask any bodybuilder or guy at the gym and they will tell you building muscles is hard. Was it easy, every guy you saw at the gym would be packed with bulging muscles.

On the contrary, building muscles takes years of dedicated, consistent and hard work. There are no shortcuts.

Building muscle is even harder for women than it is for men, for the simple reason women have 10-30 times less testosterone than men, which is in huge part responsible for how much muscle you have.

On the other hand, you will be delighted to hear building muscles will help you to look smaller, not bigger.

Are You Struggling To Lose Weight?

The best answer might not be cardio after all. As many of you might be aware, every pound of muscle in your body requires calories to function. Therefore the more muscles in your body you have, the more calories you will burn making it easier to lose that last shred of body fat and maintain your slim figure.

It is also said that muscles make the curves in women, and shredding fat makes them show.

Do You Want To Look Beautiful? Sexy?

What happens when women lift - expectations vs reality

Derivative of Tricep Pull Downs by Flick user midwestnerd is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Time to start building some muscle. Muscles are the very component that makes your body firm.

You have likely seen many slim people who still have that flabby, unattractive fat wobbling as they walk. The very reason for this is that while they have little fat, they don’t have much muscles of to speak of either. This body type is also known as skinny fat. If you are skinny fat, you will look good in clothes, but fat once you take your shirt off.

The natural answer to this is to pack on some muscle. Muscles will give your body that firm, sexy look. No more ugly, wobbly fat as you move. Only tight, sexy curves.

You might be even more surprised to realize you are looking even smaller than before, even having to shop for skinnier jeans, despite your weight remaining the same if you have lost a couple pounds of fat while gaining a couple pounds of muscle.

How can it be possible?

Fat Takes Up More Space Than Muscle

5 lb fat vs 5 lb muscle

Photo by Flick user Next TwentyEight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Fat is light. A pound of fat takes up a lot of space. But muscle, on the other hand, is very compact, dense and firm. A pound of muscle will take up significantly less space than a pound of fat.

Do You Enjoy Your Diseases?

Lifting makes you healthier, makes you live longer & younger. It will decrease your chances of getting various diseases.

I always look at inactive, lazy people eating that one more piece of cake, or whatever their favourite delicious, sugary snack might be. I look at them savouring their drool-worthy, deep-fried junk food while thinking to myself: ”I hope you enjoy your diabetes”.

Do you enjoy diabetes too? How about heart and cardiovascular diseases?

Healthy eating and lifting can decrease your risk of getting them and many other health issues.

Your heart will get stronger, veins will improve their ability to carry oxygen, muscles improve their ability to utilize energy, your bones will get loaded with heavy weights making them denser.

Every Third Woman Over 50 Experiences Osteoporotic Fractures

Older women are at the highest risk of osteoporosis.

If you are not familiar with osteoporosis already, it means a loss of bone density. Once your bones start losing their density, they become more prone to fracture which is a serious issue among inactive older women. The best way to combat it is to consume enough calcium & vitamin D and exercise.

It is never too late to start exercising.

Health Benefits of Lifting

Lifting will fatigue your muscles. Have you ever felt downright exhausted after exercising? I have. And I love that feeling! Why?

Because I know I will sleep soundly and get a deep, good night’s sleep at the end of the day.

Working out will improve sleep quality and make falling asleep easier which is good news if you have ever struggled falling asleep. I know I have.

It will also improve your mood and boost your confidence. There aren’t many things that beat the good feeling you get after exercising.

And after pounding all those heavy weights at the gym you’ll be confident too. After all, what couldn’t you do, if you can lift all that heavy mass of weights lying on the gym floor?

You Will Be Independent

Do you struggle with your lack of strength? Do you constantly find yourself in need of help from your male friends, feeling helpless when there is no one around to help you?

Say hello to the gym and good bye to your struggles of the past.

You might not pack muscle like Hulk or Arnold, but what you will do is get stronger. Need to hold your child on your shoulders? Carry groceries back to home? Rearrange heavy furniture, or move without help? Now you can!

Why You Absolutely Shouldn’t Diet Without Lifting

Now you already know what good muscles do to you. But let’s take a look what will happen if you diet without strength training on cardio alone.

Many women want to be thinner. You may hear people say ”I wanna lose weight”. You may have even had this same goal yourself.

But what you don’t often realize is, this weight loss can come from either fat or muscle. If you aren’t using your muscles, you are telling your body they aren’t needed. This means that when you are dieting, or ”losing weight”, your body will naturally get rid of both your fat and muscle.

Strength Training While Dieting Will Prevent Muscle Loss

The easiest way to prevent losing your muscles while dieting is simple: use them. No, I’m not advising you to stop doing cardio. You should definitely do strength training while dieting.

You can continue doing cardio too at the time. But if you are tight on time or just have to choose one, you will be better off doing strength training instead of cardio.

Strength training is essentially what tells your brains ”Hey, I need my muscles! Don’t get rid of them!”. It gives a sign that your muscles are needed and your body won’t get rid of them. In the best case scenario you might even build some muscle while burning fat.

Why You Absolutely Shouldn’t Lose Your Muscles While Dieting

Okay, okay, so now you are probably wondering ”But what’s so bad about losing my muscles?”. Even if we were to ignore all the benefits of having muscles which I explained before, there is one very essential reason you do NOT want to lose them while dieting: they burn calories.

If you lose your muscles while dieting, your body will require a smaller amount of calories to maintain your current weight. This means that when you stop dieting and return to old eating patterns and habits, you will gain your weight back. Not quite what you want, right?

How Does Female Performance Differ From Men?

Women’s performance differs from that of men. The most obvious reason are sex hormones: males have more testosterone which dictates how much muscle an individual has while females have more estrogen.

Another, perhaps a more surprising difference is that females have more Type 1 (slow twitch) muscle fibers while men have more Type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibers.

This means that men excel at creating huge amounts of strength quickly but they exhaust fast. Men can use more energy without oxygen causing more lactate to produce in their muscles leading to longer rest times.

Women do not have as much strength as men and their bodies aren’t capable of using strength as efficiently as men are. But they have better endurance and can complete a greater amount of reps and sets at a given percentage of their 1 RM (one-repetition maximum).

In addition to having better endurance, they also recover faster from their workouts requiring smaller rest periods between sets. Women feel less soreness the day following their workouts allowing them to workout more frequently.

Women’s muscles can use both fat and glucose more efficiently compared to men.

Conclusion

Personally I wish everyone made the best of their lives and reaped the health benefits of weight lifting. Besides, who doesn’t want to look beautiful and sexy? If hitting the gym and lifting weights can make you a thousand times sexier, then what else are you waiting for?

Part of my motivation to write this article was to motivate my dear, beautiful girlfriend พลอย (Ploy) to start strength training (wink, wink) after reading this article. I hope she (and You) will ditch the endless hours of cardio and introduce your body to the marvelous world of strength training.

Let me know your experiences and thoughts below!

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