There I was, just finishing the day’s chores, helping load the last boards into the fireplace to heat our farm house with my Stepdad. I stood proudly up on the brick fireplace base and decided to show off my 8 year old calf muscles by doing calf raises. He applauded me, saying, “Very nice. You’re so strong!” Then handed me some wood to hold for extra resistance, “now try this.” That small line of encouragement stayed with me.
I soon caught myself in my parents’ bathroom with my abdomen exposed trying to flex and see a six-pack after a long day of loading/breaking/hauling pallets for firewood, helping mow 7 acres of grass and cleaning the goat stalls with my sister. Probably dehydrated a bit, I noticed for the first time… abdominal muscles… and I liked it. Mom says, “Wow, nice job Dee. See, hard work pays off.” Another moment that stuck with me.
Back then, it wasn’t AS normal for little girls to want to grow up with muscles. Recently, especially with the Crossfit trend, I’ve noticed an influx in little girls being encouraged by female athletes and fitness models to embrace and embody STRENGTH. Of course, for decades, women have hard charged the long endurance sports but the muscular development community was heavily lagging. But not anymore. Let’s talk a little bit about how awesome this is, that little girls now are inspired on the daily.
The benefits of heavy lifting for your fine female body:
Curves! Doing endurance/cardio work burn fat. But, the long calorie expenditure tends to wipe out fat stores and muscular tissue. Leaving those hard working muscles a little slim and… well, let’s be honest… flat and long. Heavy weightlifting allows those short twitch muscles to round out a bit and cuuuuuurve. Va-va-vooooom. Here comes that perky, round backside ladies! Not to mention some nice rounded shoulders and some broader lats to off-set our naturally wide hips!
Beyond looks, heavy weight training is more effective for fat loss. Cardiovascular health is important, but if fat loss is your goal, you need to listen up. After a heavy lifting session, your body continues to burn fat for 24+ hours. You see, your body is craving more oxygen through this recovery process and is a fat burning machine! Steady-state cardio burns calories in the time period in which you are performing that exercise.
The more muscle mass, the more calorie expenditure. Have you ever wondered why your husband, boyfriend or male co-worker can slip in that cheat meal much more often than you? It’s because of their muscle mass. Naturally, muscle burns more than… fat. Okay, that’s a duh. But if you’re spending all your waking time running and cycling, your fat storage is gone and your thighs aren’t touching (eye-roll)! Yes. But now those cardio events are just burning right through muscle. You’ve just created a disastrous situation. The next time you take in a cheat meal, your butt with thank you and store that baby ASAP. Do yourself a favor and gain some muscle mass. Then, eat that cheat meal occasionally and watch it not even come close to affecting your physique.
Sleep, energy and balance comes with the heavy training. Heavy training promotes Growth Hormone to run sky high when you’re sleeping. This recovery process will have you dead-tired (not tossing and turning all night). I know personally, that in the past, when I did too much cardiovascular training I felt restless, achy and hot all night. Now I wake up rested and ready for the next session. Energy goes without explaining – HELLO ENDORPHINS and DOPAMINE. Soon, you’ll be smiling your way through your day.
Heart Health. Heart disease is one of our nation’s leading killers. Your heart is the biggest badass in your body. Hard to believe an organ can withstand all the crap/stress we put it through! Heavy weight training, is an added stress but in a good way. Lifting is a sort of interval training where your heart has to adapt to forceful output and rest/recovery…on repeat. In adaptation, the heart starts to beat less heavily with the effort and significantly lowers your “resting” blood pressure”. All of a sudden, taking the stairs doesn’t even raise your heart rate. Score!
Bone Health. Resistance training is THE MOST EFFECTIVE preventative measure to osteoporosis. In the female body, post menopausal women are at high risk of osteoporosis due to a lack of estrogen production. In this state, women are much better off if they had a weight training background. Resistance training forces an increase in bone density. Leaving us less likely to have breaks, weak joints and bone pain as we age. Double Score!
Now all those sounds nice, right!? So the next time you hear your girlfriend say…
“But it’ll make me bulky. Isn’t it bad for your joints? I won’t be able to find clothes to fit. I hate how those Crossfit chicks look. I don’t want big thighs. I just don’t feel comfortable going into the guy’s side of the gym. I don’t even know how to start.”
SLAP HER. Then guide her to this Webpost. =)
How to START:
3 Days / Week, Hit Major Lifts:
Monday = Deadlifts and Pullups (assisted machine). Done.
Wednesday = Bench Press and Dips (assisted machine). Done.
Friday = Squats and lunges. Done.
^^^^^ So that’s where you start! Easy peasy. Don’t slip anything else in there or get overwhelmed by those other machines (or all the men grunting near the dumbbells). Walk in there, own your space, zone in and get after it! Cheers – to gains!
– BnG –