Dear Women: Lift more!
You may burn more calories during your 1-hour cardio class than you would lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who did weight training burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended.
And the effect is magnified when you increase the weight, as explained in a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted more weight for fewer reps (85% of their max for 6/8 reps) burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps with a lighter weight (45 percent of their max load for 15 reps).
Lifting lighter weights for more reps is great for building muscle endurance, but if you want to increase your strength, increasing your weight load is key. Add compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and rows to your heavy weights and you’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll build strength.
While it is true that you can’t spot reduce—your body is born with pre-conceived places it wants to store fat—a University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This not only helps you lose your belly pooch and look better in a bikini, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
Fight osteoporosis. The key to this one is consistency, as research has shown that lifting heavy weights over time not only maintains bone mass but can even build new bone, especially in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women.
Go for it! Lifting will give you a lean look you’ll be proud to sport. Don’t worry about bulking up. You would need a lot more testosterone to get bulging muscles.
But…Don’t forget the cardio. Weight lifting and aerobic exercise (running, cycling, tennis, etc.) are the perfect pairing for optimal health.
So… No matter your age, start lifting heavier. Do so in a controlled manner. Small increases. After the first set of 12-15 reps, up your weight if possible until 6-8 reps is all you can squeeze out. Literally. I promise you will like the results 🙂