Many women don’t realise that they should be including strength training in their fitness plans. In fact many women fear strength training as they believe it will make them look “bulky”, like a body builder.
The truth is that strength training will increase you muscle mass, but women generally will not bulk up without substantial training involving weights and specific programming that is designed for significant hypertrophy (muscle mass growth). Women lack the hormones that contribute to bulking up.
Lets look at a couple of the key the benefits of strength training…
- More Muscle = More Energy Burning
- Stronger Muscles = Being More Capable and Functional
- Maintaining Muscle Mass is Important
- Strength Training can Help with Bone Density
Strength training (when done correctly and supported by a healthy diet) will trigger your body to create more muscle fibres. Muscle is the main consumer of energy in your body. All your your movement requires muscle activation and for muscles to be active they need energy. The more muscle you have the greater the energy burned every day, as those muscle go about their daily activities.
Our muscles work together and with our bones to allow us to run, walk climb, carry, pick up, pull and push. As women we need to be able to do all of these things well. If you are a Mother you will know that carrying your child gets harder every week/month/year as they grow. Mothers of infants and toddlers also need to manage lifting and manoeuvring their child and/or pram in and out of the car or a pram. If your arms and legs aren’t capable of dealing with these loads in these positions, you will compensate by using other muscles. Doing this over a long period, can lead muscle strain and unhealthy movement patterns that can cause pain and injury.
If you are on a fat loss journey you will likely be in some form of calorie deficit with your nutrition/eating plan. If you do not do work to maintain your muscle mass you run the risk of losing muscle mass, which is not necessarily healthy, it’s certainly not good for helping you be functional in your daily life and it may not look great either (lets face it there are some aesthetics involved in fat loss journeys!).
As women enter perimenopause and menopause, our oestrogen levels reduce. This increases our risk for developing osteoporosis. Strength training helps with this, as long as you are getting enough vitamin D and calcium. The stress of the of the muscle pulling on the bone, triggers the bone forming process. This results in stronger denser bones.