Why should women lift weights? And by weights, I do NOT mean 2-3 pound mini weights. My 4 year old uses 2 pounders. As a rule of thumb, never lift anything lighter than your purse. You'll want two sets of Dumbbells: a light set (5-8 pounds) and a heavy set (8-12 pounds). Now, logistics out of the way, you're a woman, why should YOU lift weights? Isn't that a guy thing? No, it's not. Won't you bulk up? No, you won't. Lifting weights transforms your body. Those beautiful woman figures that you admire? Those aren't cardio bodies, those are weight training bodies. A weight training body looks a hundred times better than a "skinny" body. Women want long, lean muscles. It's "the look" you're going for, trust me.
How about more than looks though, why should you lift? Well, your body is going to function better. Oxygen Magazine explains that lean muscle tissue is actually one of your best defenses against diseases, harmful fat accumulation because muscle burns fat, and many of the health risks associated with aging. The bottom line: those dumbbells that are no lighter than your purse are making you fit on the inside, not just out.
Did you know? Lifting weights boosts metabolism. Working large muscle groups and building lean muscle tissue helps your body to burn more calories throughout the entire day after your workout is complete. And then, those lean muscles work to burn fat. Guess which workout doesn't burn calories or fat throughout the day? Cardio. A cardio workout burns calories during the workout, and maybe a couple hours after, but once it's over, it's over. A body with more muscle and less fat is key for health and fitness on the inside and out.
For women especially, lifting days are important to your health. You can actually “bank” muscle for the future. “You lose muscle mass and strength each year starting around age 50,” says Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Cooper Clinic. Women who lift throughout their lives are more apt to keep their lean muscle mass as they age, instead of experiencing the weakness that comes with muscle loss and frailty. You want to create a good blend of lifting days and cardio days for a well balanced fitness regimen.
5 Tips to build muscle the most efficiently? You got it!
1. Plan your postworkout meal. Within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, your body is most receptive to replacing glycogen stores and protein, leading to muscle building. Your post workout meal should be a balance of protein and carbs, like Shakelogy, which also repairs muscles!
2. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein at each meal. Your body needs lean protein to build lean muscle. Focus on having some protein at each meal of the day.
3. Lift until Fail. You've heard the saying "do more reps with less weight." No. You are not the energizer bunny! During interval training, you want to focus on 10-15 reps of each move, in about 60 seconds. But what we really want to aim for is failure. Do your reps until you've exhausted yourself, and then add 3 more. Don’t stop at a set of 12 if you can do 15 reps — take your sets to the point where you can’t do another rep with good form.
4. Challenge yourself with your weight. Picking easy, light weights means your body has no reason to grow stronger. If a workout calls for 10 reps per set and you can get to 12, 15 or more, you’re definitely lifting too light. Likewise, if you've been using a set of weights for some time, and they are no longer challenging you, time to bump up the weight.
5. Eat apples. The apple peel has a high concentration of ursolic acid which can work to decrease muscle atrophy. Consider adding apple to your salads, sandwiches, or have apple as a snack. Obviously you would want to leave the peel on!