Why weight training is so important for women (and Mothers in particular)…
Most women, including myself (as much as I am ashamed to admit it), have uttered the words “I don’t want to do weight training because I don’t want to get too bulky”…. Sigh, I am cringing writing those words. Thankfully, many years ago, I was exposed to the world of weight training and learnt that this is just utter BS. As my husband likes to say, he has been trying to get too big for years and he has a lot higher levels of testosterone than the average woman.
Why is this ridiculous?
Women have much higher estrogen levels than men, which makes it very difficult for a woman to become “too bulky”. The muscle changes as a response to weight training are generally related to endurance and strength in women, and not their size.
So why should women weight train?
There are so many benefits to resistance training, but here are some benefits to get you thinking…
1.) You will lose body fat.
Weight training has this uncanny way of increasing muscle mass, which in turn increases your metabolism – so you burn more calories throughout the day. Generally for each 500g of muscle you burn an extra 35-50 calories a day (and that adds up)! Why would this benefit Mums? Well, any time we have a chance to workout to ourselves is absolutely precious, so why shouldn’t we get more bang for our buck?!
2.) You will increase strength
I remember, the first time I realised I was strong, I was shopping on my own in Ikea. We had just moved into a new house and I wanted on of their Kitchen island benches, and it was a heavy solid wood one. So I got the trolley, the number of the product and proceeded down the aisle. As I was picking up the boxes, a lovely young man offered to help me, my response of “Thanks, but nup, I’m all good” as I was picking up the heaviest box felt great – his face of pure amazement that a 60kg, 5’2 woman just picked it up with no problems was priceless!
How many times do we as Mums need to pick up the tantruming 12kg + kid from the floor? Or bringing in the shopping in 1 trip – how awesome would that be? We do some pretty physical work as Mums, and being strong can only make those tasks easier!!
3.) You will reduce your risk of chronic disease (and improve your health if you already suffering)
Studies completed have shown that weight training reduces the risk and even improves the disease state of Osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Weight training reduces the incidence of these diseases. Studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints. Nobody ever wants to be struck down with a chronic illness, what Mum has time for that crap?
4.) You will reduce your risk of back pain and injury.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain.
Back pain is a common complaint in Mothers, usually starts in pregnancy and then continues on in motherhood because we are always carrying a baby around and moving in all sorts of weird and wonderful positions while carrying (and sometimes co-sleeping with) baby. On top of that, some of us suffer from an abdominal muscle separation and a weak core which doesn’t help the situation at all. The last injury anybody wants is a back injury, there is no getting away from it! Let’s strengthen those backs ladies!
5.) You will gain confidence
Well… duh!! With the loss in body fat and increased muscle mass you are going to have some nice “toning” going on (I hate that word). You will be and feel like one sexy mumma!
6.) Helps fight anxiety and depression
Exercise releases endorphins in our body, which is like a happy drug, this in turn fights off anxiety and depression. Not to mention there is nothing more satisfying that lifting some damn heavy weight after a day of stress at work or with the kids. This is one of the reasons why I have my strength class at night, no babies, Mummas need some timeout and workout their stresses!
How can you start?
I get it, walking into the local “Globo Gym” weights area can be intimidating, not to mention entertaining with all the grunts, ab checking in the mirror, bicep kisses and “bro-ing down” that occurs in those rooms. It wasn’t until I was pregnant and had done Powerlifting and Crossfit did I have the confidence to do train in them (grunters, ab checkers and bros are for the most part, MORONS). Things have changed of recent and there are plenty of women weight training in all different ways:
- Get a Personal Trainer to help you – these people are invaluable and can give you a program tailored to your needs.
- Find your local Crossfit gym – Crossfit gets a bad rep from the morons mentioned above, but this is where I found my love for lifting. These clubs are great, they are all about community and no judgement, just encouragement. Not to mention you have great coaches guiding you all the way!
- Online programs – there are so many online programs that are strength based out there. If you have the discipline to stick to a home workout then go for it!
- Local small group training groups – with strength training on the rise, many smaller Group Fitness groups are implementing strength training to their timetable. These smaller businesses (mine especially, hehe) have a great community atmosphere about them. And again, super encouraging. There is no better way to work out in my opinion, Community is key – it holds you accountable.
If you want to come and join one of my group fitness sessions, check out my current trial and timetable.