It puzzles me why so few active women strength train: the benefits of weight training for fat loss far outweigh those of cardio.
Think you’re going to get big and bulky? Think again. You might be surprised to learn that lifting weights is the most efficient way to quickly gain the lean physique you are after.
The negative prejudice towards lifting weights is an all too common mis-belief that is holding women back in achieving their fitness goals. As a trainer and coach, I spend a lot of time convincing female clients to ditch the treadmill and get in the squat rack. After all, my job is to make people lean, strong and sexy in the shortest amount of time possible.
Slow Cardio Is Making You Fatter And Weaker
Let’s say you run for an hour on the treadmill and burn 300 calories. That’s less than one “healthy” muffin at Starbucks. Run for just 11 more hours, and you’ll burn a pound of fat!
On top of the minimum calorie burning that takes place during that long, slow, and boring cardio session, you can also bet that your body used some of your lean muscle for energy.
The less lean muscle you have on your body, the more fat your body will store, and the harder it will be to lose weight, or even maintain a weight you’re happy with.
And to make it worse – your fat loss hormones are virtually unaffected by traditional cardio. You’ll experience no prolonged metabolic benefit, which means, the minimal calorie burning you spent so much time on stops shortly after you step off the treadmill.
You’ll end up slaving away for the bare minimum of results.
A much better alternative to traditional cardio, is High Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT for short. HIIT is a method of cardio during which you alternate periods of intense work (like sprinting), with periods of rest. For example, run hard for 30 seconds, walk for 60, and repeat about eight times.
Training like this taps into your fat cells and burns more calories, keeps your metabolism elevated longer, and is much more time efficient. One study showed that HIIT was nine times more effective at burning fat than traditional cardio.
HIIT is much more effective for fat loss than traditional cardio, but not quite as effective as weight lifting.
You’ll Burn A Lot More Fat
In one study on over 700 females, lifting weights for just 25 minutes three times per week led to the gain of nearly two pounds of muscle, and the loss of four pounds of fat. If you’re familiar with how physiques work, then you know that is a radical change in appearance!
Now, picking up heavy things burns a respectable amount of calories on it’s own. No doubt about that. But that’s not why lifting weights is so effective for burning fat.
When you lift something heavy, you’re setting your body up for metabolic reactions that allow you to utilize nutrients better (like ice-cream), and continue burning calories for up to 36 hours after your workout.
There’s this thing called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It controls how many calories your body burns while you rest. As you gain more muscle, you increase your BMR, along with how much you can eat and still stay lean.
The more lean muscle on your body, the less body fat you will store, and the harder it will be to gain weight.
You Won’t Know What To Do With Your Free Time
All you need is a 30-60 minute lifting session about three times a week to start seeing great results in as little as two weeks.
I like to reinforce this efficiency mindset with all of my trainees:
Get In. Work Hard. Get Out.
You’ll have more time to spend with your favorite people, and to do your favorite things.
You’ll Get Stronger And Feel Awesome
Studies show that moderate weight training can more than double a woman’s strength. I’ve had a female trainee get 400% stronger in about 30 days. When we started, she could barely do two push-ups, less than a month later, she was banging out sets of eight push-ups. It was awesome.
When you’re stronger, daily tasks like groceries, lifting children, and pushing that creep at the club off of you become much easier, and enjoyable.
And along with the sense of pride that comes with finishing a challenging workout and beating a personal record (it’s super easy to track your progress with weights), your body will reward you with a dose of euphoric chemicals called endorphins. These affect us like powerful drugs, but without the nasty side effects. I’m sure you’ve heard about the runner’s high, but have you ever tried the lifter’s high? It’s much easier and faster to achieve. The more intense your workout, the higher you’ll get.
You Will Not Get Big Or Bulky
At this point you’re probably thinking everything sounds amazing, but have this little voice in your head telling you that you’re going to get big or bulky.
I hear this way too many times. It’s simply a mis-belief that is holding you back from seeing results you love in a short period of time. Unless, of course, you’re training like a monster, consuming a massive amount of calories, and injecting yourself with synthetic hormones.
Let me break it down for you. Hormones, such as testosterone, are responsible for muscle growth. Women have anywhere from 10-30 times less testosterone than men.
Now, there is an extremely small sample of women that do, in fact, build bigger muscles from lifting weights. This is a very small group, and I’ve never worked with anyone that falls into this category. But even in that case, as soon as you notice irregular muscle growth, you stop and change your routine.
Simply lifting something heavy does not mean you’re going to build muscles overnight. Hell, even guys that are doing everything in their power to build muscle are struggling!
You Will Develop Nice Assets
The gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in your body. The shape of your glutes are influenced by muscular development.
When it comes to building size in your glutes, there is no substitute for a deep, heavy squat. This will also help rid you of cellulite, while “firming” and “toning” your legs in the process. You’ll also strengthen your lower back and help prevent back injuries that are all too common as we age.
There is nothing more enchanting than seeing a woman commanding a respectable amount of weight at the gym. It’s effective. It’s empowering. It’s dang sexy! Don’t be afraid to give it a go.