Why Women Should Lift Heavy Sh*t
- DAN NORTH
- Strength Training
Sweaty, exhausted, sore…that’s what we often associate with an effective workout. Naturally, this is why some (read: not all) women tend to favour aerobic-based exercise classes over strength training.
The general misconception (often reinforced by mainstream media) is the former helps women “tone” and “lengthen” their muscles, while the latter turns them into The Incredible Hulk and should be avoided at all costs.
This simply ain’t true.
If you’ve read anything on my blog, you’ll know I’m an advocate of weight lifting (if the title of this post wasn’t a dead giveaway). So needless to say, I have some confirmation bias coming into the discussion of whether or not women should be lifting weights.
I favour strength training for many reasons, but mainly because it works (for men and women). It drives sustainable fat loss, increases your metabolic rate, and improves your energy levels along with a whole whack of other perks.
But rather than regurgitating the physiological pay-offs that come with lifting (which would be too easy and predictable), I want to shed light on some of the less spoken benefits for women who prioritize getting stronger.
Like Lisa, who’s hip thrusting more than most people deadlift.
1. Strength builds confidence (in and out of the gym)
A stronger body builds a stronger mind, and with that strength comes confidence in and out the of the gym.
You might’ve heard that the weight room is this dark, dingy dungeon where all the juicehead monkeys congregate. And that a 400lbs bench press and spaghetti string tank are the price of admission.
While you’ll see a fair share of questionable attire at the gym, you don’t need to be a meathead to be in the weight room. In fact, more and more women are flocking to the iron. What used to be mischaracterized as the dark, scary corner of the gym is now flooded with women training to get stronger. And it’s great.
2. It provides an outlet
Lifting provides an outlet for you to completely immerse yourself.
You might be an ex-athlete looking to challenge yourself in a competitive setting. Or maybe you’re a parent who needs something to do that’s completely for you and no one else.
Whichever way you slice it, strength training provides a way to channel your energy.
3. Healthy goal setting
You’ll find that most people who hire trainers (not all) want to lose weight and maybe add some muscle. But the scale isn’t the only way to measure progress, and obsessing over a number is a shortsighted approach.
Strength training provides performance-based goals that lead to aesthetic-based outcomes. Focus on what your body can do, and you’ll change how it looks and feels. Focus on how your body looks, and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
This is why my clients often use indicator lifts as a measure of progress. It’s way more fun to train to do your first pull-up or deadlift 200lbs than it is to train solely for the purpose of losing weight. Because at the end of the day, most people who think they want to lose weight actually want to lose fat. And nothing’s better (from a training perspective) for sustainable fat loss than getting strong af.
4. It builds resilience
Voluntarily engaging in activities that induce physical stress will make many of life’s seemingly stressful situations more bearable.
Your ability to cope with stress skyrockets as a result of strength training. Seriously, I mean it!
Now go lift something.