Now, I didn’t fully give up cardio nor do I completely ignore it in my current exercise routine. However, I’d definitely say I flipped from a 70% cardio/30% lifting routine to a 70% lifting/30% cardio one. I’ve been on this for about 4 years now, and I’m so in love with the results that I want to get you on board as well. Thus, here are the 7 reasons why I lift – and why all you ladies should, too.
1. Burns More Calories
Let’s make this simple: If you are a cardio queen, you are only burning calories while you are actually on the treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike. If you lift, you are burning calories not only while you’re doing squats, but also while watching Netflix that evening, cooking breakfast the next morning, out to lunch with your friend that afternoon…you get the picture. Why? Because muscle burns calories, and the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you will burn (even when you’re not at the gym).
I’ve listed this first on the list for a reason. Just like I love making money without doing extra work (hello, rental income), I love if I can get my body to work for me even when I’m not in the midst of a leg workout. If I miss a few days lifting, I don’t go into panic mode because I know my body is still sustaining me. I can go on vacation and not worry. If I’m flooded with work and can’t make it to the gym, I don’t worry. Back in the day, however, if I missed a few days of cardio, I had to really watch what I was eating so as to not quickly put on the pounds or make up for it by running 6 miles for 2 weeks straight. That freedom alone is worth it to me, and one of the greatest benefits of adding weight-lifting to my exercise routine. Now I can have my cake and eat it, too.
2. You Look Better Naked (and Clothed)
This may be personal preference (or maybe not), but I really feel that “strong” is the new “skinny.” Look at all of the #fitspo posts on Instagram – they are the women with abs or toned arms or a butt I would kill for. I’m not saying you have to go to that extreme (even I don’t want a 6-pack), but having a little definition in your body makes your butt look better in jeans, your calves look AMAZING in heels, and allows you to finally rock a tank top (yes, no more arm jiggle). I’m almost 30, and I feel like I’ve never looked better, and I want every woman, no matter what age, to have the confidence that comes with feeling.
Also, don’t think that lifting automatically means that you will start to look manly. You have to ingest A LOT of protein and lift pretty heavily to get close to looking unfeminine, which I know is the fear of most women. I felt the same way. However, like I said, I’ve been at it for 4 years, and not once have I ever looked in the mirror and thought it was getting to be too much.
3. Strengthens Your Bones
This one kind of threw me for a loop when I first heard it (how the hell does lifting help your bones?), but it’s true. As women hit menopause, their bodies no longer secrete estrogen, which causes a loss in bone mass. And when you have lower bone mass, your bones aren’t as strong, which could eventually lead to osteoporosis. Scary, I know. But you know what combats this? Yep, you guessed it – strength training.
I know this issue seems like a long way away for most of you reading this, but the earlier you start lifting, the better. You give your bones time to not only build up strength, but maintain that strength through all the changes we women go through as we age. As someone with relatives who have to deal with the effects of this disease, this is one benefit you don’t want to downplay.