Telling people, you lift weights sometimes elicits the knowing smile that you’re a man driven by bro science. It can give the perception of endless protein shakes, illegal drugs and that maybe you’re a bit of a poser. This can put guys who don’t do weights off. A lot of women don’t do weights as they’re terrified they will get big and bulky. This is driven primarily by an unspoken societal perception that all girls should be thin as rakes. Therefore, hours on the treadmill or cross-trainer or spin studio is all you should ever do. Thus, for both men and women the thought of lifting weights can be intimidating.
The idea that long cardio is the route to burning fat and long term health is prevalent. However, lifting weights and having muscle can have the most beneficial and positive effects on a person’s physiology, mental state, longevity and long term health. Both men and women should lift weights, and to begin with let’s dispel the notion that you must be on a bodybuilding program of split routines and shovelling all kinds of supplements, you don’t! You can work on strength, minimum twice a week, and really see results by just concentrating on compound lifts (these are lifts that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously).
What can be lifting weights do for you? First, stop muscle wastage and an individual developing back or knee or other joint problems. Most of these are due to the muscles not being worked and wasting away, therefore causing pain in later life. As you get older doing weights becomes even more important to keep your strength up and to slow down the decrease in type IIb muscle fibres (these are the fibres that give you explosive strength). Secondly, do you want to look leaner without really losing weight? Weights will give you that look. The more muscle you have the faster your metabolism. For every 0.5kg of muscle put on, your calorie expenditure raises by 50calories, meaning you burn more calories at rest. It also means you can burn fat faster. The more muscle you have the less fat you will have. You will reduce cortisol which is the stress hormone that promotes body fat retention. It also breaks down muscle and attacks your hippocampus in your brain, which can lead to higher instances of depression and anxiety. Therefore, weights are great for brain health and regulating your mood. There’s also evidence that lifting weights keeps you younger looking and can help in a preventative manner with disease in later life and promote longevity.
In short, weights are brilliant and there’s the science to back it up. Women should do weights to tone up get stronger, lose weight and breed confidence. Men should do weights for all the same reasons. Weights don’t care about gender.
Why not try out Tom's Strength Circuits class 7.50am Wednesday or book in with Tom for some 1-2-1 sessions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org