Have you ever lifted weights? Real weights?
I see a lot of girls in the gym picking up the brightly colored 3lb, 4lb, or 5lb weights to do triceps presses, bicep curls, or weights squats with. While any weight is more challenging than doing exercises without the weight, women seem to be constantly underestimating their own strength. Either that, or they have fallen victim to the myth that women who lift weights will become massive and look like men. I promise, the picture is the truth (I lift heavy and I am actually thinner, leaner, and have better curves than ever!).
Ladies, there is no point lifting weights lighter than your purse.
Seriously, if you want to build muscle, tone-up, and help your body to burn more calories while at rest, you need to challenge it. Go ahead, weigh your purse. However much is weighs, that's what you lug around all day and any weighted exercise should use that much or more weight.
I know it can be intimidating. Weight rooms are often packed full of men, some of them grunting and yelling and being generally obnoxious (I promise, no noise is necessary to successfully lift weights and make physical gains). But don't let that stop you. Half of them don't really know what they are doing, and the other half are going to be focused on their workouts and not you. I've had quite a few experiences of guys helping me figure out a new machine I want to try or re-racking weights for me so I don't have to lug 45lb plates off a machine.
Not sure where to start? I have fallen in love with Bodybuilding.com. They have all sorts of (free) workout plans and each one includes not only a schedule of exactly what exercises to do, but descriptions of how to determine the weight you should use and videos of each move to help you learn proper form before you get to the gym. The best rule of thumb... start light to make sure you understand correct form, then bump it up a notch and keep pushing yourself.
I'll post more on weightlifting soon, but for now, just go to the gym and give it a try! There are so many benefits to women: higher metabolism, decreased risk of osteoporosis, lower body fat % (without cutting calories), not to mention the added independence of not needing help lifting heavy boxes or carrying heavy bags. There is no better feeling than finding your grocery bags are suddenly easy to get up the stairs or that hauling your luggage around an airport isn't so painful.
And who knows, you may actually start to ENJOY it!
If you're a woman who lifts, let us all know about your experience in the comments below.
lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and feeling confident.