Have Baby, Will Exercise: Lifting Weights Is Not Off Limits For Women
A lot of women who work out regularly structure their workouts around cardiovascular focused exercises, like walking, running or Zumba class. While doing cardio will help you burn calories and has fantastic health benefits, it’s just one aspect of fitness. Activities like bootcamp, Pilates or yoga which engage muscle groups using your own body weight are a great place to start, but if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts and feel like Wonder Woman at the same time, you can’t be afraid to pick up some weights and start strength training.
There’s several reasons women tend to shy away from lifting weights.The most common is the worry that by lifting weights you will start to resemble The Incredible Hulk. Establishing a regular weight lifting routine will help you gain definition and strength. But getting the rippling muscles you see on the covers of body building magazines takes years of training, highly specialized nutrition and, let’s be honest, a fair amount of Photoshop.
Some women avoid weight lifting because they believe it will help them reach their weight loss goals to do more cardio instead. If you’ve attempted weight lifting in the past and were frustrated because the scale didn’t change, chances are you should try lifting heavier weights. There’s a common misconception in the body building community that to get bigger muscles you should do fewer repetitions of an exercise with a heavy weight and to tone but not build your muscles, you should use less weights but do more repetitions of an exercise. Since many women fall into this latter category for fear of bulking up, they dedicate more time to weight lifting than necessary and aren’t getting its maximum benefit.
As trainer Joe Dowdell explained to Shape, doing higher reps of 15-20 at a lower weight will build the endurance of your muscle, but by challenging yourself and picking up a heavier weight for 8-10 repetitions, you’ll build the muscle while also gaining the advantage of increasing your metabolism. This will help you lose weight because the higher your metabolism is, the more calories your body will burn, even while it’s at rest. Think of it this way– the next time you really push yourself with heavy weights, you can lounge on the couch afterwards guilt-free because your body is still burning calories.