Fitness industry has come a long way in the last few decades! For instance, in the 50s and 60s you’d be much more likely to see an average woman using a “fat jiggling” machine than performing structured workouts (those were a prerogative of athletes and rare enthusiasts brave enough to disregard the public opinion).
Image credit: H. Armstrong Roberts / Getty Images
Fortunately, these days a woman in a gym is not a rare sight! In fact, more women appear to be participating in fitness and gym activities in Australia compared to men.
However, it is also true that many of women choose group classes or cardio machines as opposed to hitting the weights room - and there are numerous myths reinforcing this. From being scared of getting “too bulky” to simply feeling intimidated by the idea of lifting weights, there are many potential reasons for a female to avoid claiming that squat rack and jump on a trusty stepper for every workout instead.
And don’t get us wrong - there is most certainly time and place for cardio! It helps increase endurance, burn extra calories and improve cardiovascular health, among other benefits. The problem is that for most women, achieving their physique goals is unattainable when doing exclusively cardio.
Here’s what our ambassador Funmi realised throughout her BBR journey:
“Over the last 2 years, I went from under-eating and being scared to lift weights (as I thought this would make me look bulky) to a completely different mindset! Training hard and lifting heavy didn’t make me look “manly” and taught me a lot about my body”
Still on a fence? Let's chat about the amazing benefits of resistance training for women!
One of the reasons why many women turn to cardio is that it’s often promoted as the best way to boost metabolism. However, resistance training is actually king here, creating lasting changes when implemented regularly!
For instance, one study found that regular strength training can increase your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate - read more about energy expenditure here) by about 5%. This means that even outside of training, your body will then burn more calories throughout the day!
So, even if your goal is purely fat loss, avoiding resistance training gives you a major strategic disadvantage. By incorporating strength training into your routine, you’ll be able to consume more calories and feel more comfortable while still reducing body fat % efficiently - as opposed to having to constantly reduce intake and increase cardio.
Many women start training in hopes to get more “toned” or change their shape in a certain way, such as attaining a hourglass figure.
And yet again, strength training is the answer! Strategically building lean muscle can help completely change your proportions - something that cardio alone most certainly won’t do.
With a tailored strength-training regime and lots of dedication, anyone can create desired curves and build shape while staying lean and toned.
Reduced risk of injuries
A balanced strength training regime can drastically reduce the risk of injuries, being that in everyday life or other sports!
By applying dynamic loads to the joints, resistance training triggers physiological changes in bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. In turn, bones get stronger, and joints become more aligned - which reduces the risk of injuries when performing complex movements.
In addition, while muscles and tendons become stronger with strength training, the ligaments become more pliable and flexible, so you’re much less likely to experience a bad tear or strain.
So, it’s a good idea to add a couple of dedicated strength training sessions into your schedule - no matter if you’re a professional athlete or someone with a sedentary job!
We promise, you will not become “bulky” as a result of strength training - unless it is your specific goal!
Instead, strength training is capable of giving you amazing sense of achievement and help break limitations. Many women believe that they won’t ever be able to perform certain exercises, such as unassisted pull ups or push ups - however, this is simply not true!
Setting and crashing strength goals, however ambitious or modest, can also have a major positive impact on self-confidence and overall mental health. In other words, strength training can help you feel like a true Wonder Woman you already are, by showing you how much you’re capable of!
Here’s what our ambassador Andii recommends:
“Don’t focus on your appearance too much! I honestly train for my mental health and to be stronger. I love the feeling of beating my own personal bests by either an extra rep, set, or more weight from previous workouts. Enjoy the journey & celebrate YOURSELF!”
Better overall health
Last but not least, regular resistance training is incredibly beneficial for overall health!
According to research, strength training has numerous health benefits, including:
- Helping regulate blood sugar levels
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Enhancing cardiovascular health
- Helping manage high blood pressure
- Promoting healthy bone development
- Reducing chronic pain
- And much more!
Strength training is a powerful tool that can help you achieve a multitude of fitness goals while also improving health, both physical and mental.
At BBR, we strongly believe that women shouldn’t be afraid to lift weights and own it!
So, if you’re someone who's been limiting yourself to cardio equipment in the past, challenge yourself and step into the weight room next time you’re at the gym (here is a great glute-focused workout to get you started). We promise that in the long run, the experience will be life-changing!
Liz and Team BBR