Despite study after study supporting the benefits of strength training, many women still opt for cardio over weight training. Maybe they’re worried about “bulking up.” Women have seen a few too many beefy men grunting it out in the weight room and fear that if they pick up a dumbbell; they’ll suddenly start to resemble a lumberjack or linebacker.

  1. METABOLISM: the-myth-that-women-shouldnt-lift-heavy-is-only-perpetuated-by-women-who-fear-work-and-men-who-fear-women-inspirational-quoteAs women age, they naturally lose muscle mass. This causes your metabolism to slow, which means you could start building up unwanted fat by the time you reach your 30s. Weighted exercises are the easy solution to this problem. “When you do weight-bearing exercises, you start revving up your metabolism—and it keeps burning for many hours after your workout,” says Wayne Westcott, PhD, director of fitness research at Quincy College and Prevention advisory board member.
  2. FAT BURNING: Muscle tissue is more “active” than fat tissue, with each pound burning about 30 calories a day just to sustain it. So even if you’re sitting on the couch or are stuck at your desk for eight hours a day, the extra muscle mass you develop will burn more calories, helping you keep weight off for good.
  3. TIGHTER BODY While cardio is important and will help melt fat, weights sculpt your body, creating curves and definition right where you want it. They also help fight the effects of gravity. Win.
  4. FIT INTO YOUR CLOTHES: One pound of fat will take up much more space than one pound of muscle. So even though muscle weighs more, what do you want all over your body? Would you prefer something that’s bulky, like body fat, or something that’s lean, and takes up less space, like muscle?
  5. HEART DISEASE/ DIABETES: Lifting weights isn’t just good for your looks; it can protect your heart and help ward off type 2 diabetes, as well. “Muscle helps remove glucose and triglycerides from the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as hardening of the arteries,” says Timothy Church, MD, PhD, a preventive medicine expert at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
  6. SLEEP: Strength training greatly improves sleep quality aiding in your ability to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake less often during the night. A study published in the International SportMed Journal suggests that morning resistance training or high intensity training greatly affects the quality of sleep and lengthens the time of sleep the night after training.

LADIES…LIFT…I know all of you want to feel strong, determined, and confident in everything you do: from fitting into jeans, to moving heavy furniture, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful career. High Intensity training can benefit in all aspects of your life.