The Fitness Truth: Why Women Need Resistance Training

Weightlifting 2

Weightlifting 2Most women who workout on a regular basis tend to gravitate more towards high intense cardio, such as spin class, running on a treadmill, or sweating it out on the elliptical. While those of course are amazing for heart health there is also an incredible amount of benefits that will come with resistance training—more specifically weight lifting. There tends to be the notion that weight-lifting will get women super-jacked, ripped, and masculine, but not only is that belief completely ridiculous it’s also flat-out wrong.

The only way women could build significant amount of muscle is if they where to add supplements and utilize steroids. There simply isn’t enough of the hormone testosterone for women to gain muscle of that of a man.

Here are my personal top four reasons why weight lifting is good for women:

1. It builds muscle and burns fat—that equates to a LEAN body which is what most of us are looking to achieve from working out. A great incentive is the calories burned during your session, you’ll continue to torch elevated calories for a prolonged window afterwards.

2. While you are gaining muscle remember that muscle burns more calories than fat. With more muscle you are creating a higher resting metabolism. This translates into you’ll burn more as you work, lie on the couch, and while you are studying.

3. Prevents the metabolic decline that comes with age. Weight lifting can reverse the natural decline in your metabolism, which begins around age 30. Keeping your metabolism elevated for as long as possible will help keep you in top shape and let you eat like a teenager, because you won’t be in college forever.

4. Bone strength. Weight training does more than strengthen your muscles, it also strengthens your bones. Regular weight lifting increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fracture and osteoporosis.

Here at Northeastern there is an elite group of women who make up the powerlifting team and their members are a testament to the benefits of incorporating weight-resistance training into your workout regime.  Last year the women’s team made it to Nationals where they placed fourth and they are busy at work preparing for next April’s competition aiming to improve and hopefully be placed first. One of their teammates explained to me why this “myth” of women being scared to “bulk up” is false and how instead they should embrace the dumbbells and deadlifts.

“A lot of women exercise to try and lose weight, which is awesome,” says Christie Civetta, a senior human services major with a minor in Chinese. “But in my mind that’s working out to lose something. With weightlifting you are working out to gain something. Adding power to your body to me is both physically and mentally empowering, which is why I enjoy it so much.”

Civetta says if you are brand new to weights start easy and more importantly focus on form. “When you first start make sure you are doing the exercise properly otherwise you can end up with an injury. Ask a trainer at the gym or have a friend spot you, but more importantly recognize the good this will do for your body and I’d aim to make it part of your normal routine.”

Libby Leyden-Sussler, journalist, world traveler, and fitness fanatic. Follow my adventures in Boston and abroad on Instagram and Twitter.