We heard the excuses. We might have even used it ourselves — “but I don’t want to get muscular” or “it’s so scary, the gym is always filled with huge guys”.
It is common to see a vast majority of females confined to the cardio area when you enter a typical commercial gym, while the males with raging testosterone are bursting their veins out on the nearest barbell. Yes, you can’t blame these women really — some of them, especially the newer gym-goers, feel intimidated at the sight of these massive jocks and their thundering grunts before banging the weights onto the floor.
However, it is a shame most women often feel intimidated by the thought of lifting weights since the perks of weight training far outweigh that of cardio’s. Don’t get us wrong, we are not insinuating that cardio is not an effective or a useful aspect of your exercise regimen. Rather, banking on cardio alone will not help you achieve that toned, silky-shaped physique that most of us dream of.
We get it — you don’t want thunderous thighs and bulging biceps. But that does not give good enough a reason for you to be skipping the weights section. Lifting weights, even as light as a five-pound dumbbell, offer astonishing benefits that you cannot obtain from cardio alone. Whether you are looking to tone your body or lose fat, clanking those iron helps you achieve both. Research has shown that you can zap more fat and carve lean muscles with merely two strength-training sessions a week.
Here’s why you should start getting down and dirty with some iron as opposed to slaving it away on the treadmill.
Torch More Fat
Putting all of your faith on cardio for fat-loss will ultimately lead to a plateau in your development because your metabolic rate will gradually plummet down as your body acclimatises to the demand you put on it. Therefore, the most sensible thing to do is to mix it around in the gym and incorporate more bouts of weight training as opposed to cardio. As a matter of fact, a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has concluded that simultaneous endurance and weights training significantly enhanced the metabolic effects of each method of training on their own.
Sure, your cardio workout burns more calories that strength training during your half an hour sweat session. However, lifting weights ensures that your body continues to torch extra calories post-workout all day long. The science behind this is simple: lifting weights increases your lean body mass, which in turn, increases the amount of overall calories you burn throughout the day.
In another research on obesity, it was revealed that the combination of weight training and a low-calorie diet resulted in superior fat loss than a combination of walking workouts with a similar diet. According to the study, while the subjects who walked instead of lifting weights did lose a comparable amount of weight, a sizeable fraction of the weight loss included lean body mass. Conversely, those who were involved in strength training lost weight while at the same time, maintained their muscle mass.
It goes to show that strength or weight training is more effective at helping you lose that stubborn belly fat as it burns fats almost exclusively as compared to cardio which burns both muscle and fat.
You Will Get Stronger
Strength training — lifting lighter weights for more repetitions — is great for enhancing muscle endurance and building muscle strength, although some fitness experts would recommend that you lift a slightly heavier load for maximum effect because when you lift like a man, you’ll look like a goddess. Incorporate compound exercises that works your core, such as deadlifts, squats and rows, and you will be surprised at how easy routine activities like hoisting your child and carrying groceries can be.
Oh, did we mention you will feel like an unrelenting powerhouse too?
Great news for cardio lovers! Now you do not have to rest awhile and stop at a mile. Sore knees and achy hips do not have to be a daily essential in your morning runs. Strengthening your supporting and surrounding muscles of your joints can help prevent potential injuries. Proper strength training is the perfect solution for those niggly joint issues. Stronger supporting muscles hold your joints in position better, so you do not have to be overly-concerned about your knee flaring up the next time you go for a run.
Hit the gym and try squatting lower and deeper. Your knees will thank you for it.
Strong Is the New Skinny
Swinging kettlebells and tossing around some serious iron does not only empower you, it also comes with an immense self-esteem boost. You will not only notice a change in your physique, but also a shift in attitude — sassy, positive and confident. Remember, weight lifting empowers you, so start banging some weights until the body obeys. Don’t be a brat and start burning that fat!