Strong is the new sexy

Doing weight training has a host of gains you can’t get from cardio. Time to do some heavy lifting, ladies.

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Next time you are in the gym, don’t restrict yourself to the treadmill and cross trainer. In fact, head over to the weight room and invest as much (or more) of your workout hours to strength training. It’s in your best interest.

You will lose fat faster, no kidding. Steady state cardio [long jogs or stationary cycling] will give you guaranteed active burn (fat loss during the workout). What’s special about pumping iron is that you burn fat while working out (active burn) AND while resting (passive burn). Over time, your resting metabolic burn (RMB for short) rate goes up and you will be burning fat for doing nothing!

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Personal experience

My own experience with bodyweight drills on the Nike Training Club app and (more recently) with good ol’ dumbbells in the gym is that I am getting leaner and losing “skinny fat”. I am beginner to fitness, I confess. This routine is making me confident and stronger every day.

I couldn’t do a single push-up or lift 5 kg dumbbells when I started out. A couple of months on, I am doing 10 reps of three sets with 17.5 kg in each arm, and have graduated to barbell squats and deadlifts [you can follow my fitness journey on Instagram @kasminfernandes]. The more you push yourself, the better you get.

Female celebrities are pumping iron

Research shows that strength training beats those mood swings guys like to jibe us about. We aren’t talking about those pretty pink 2 kilo dumbbells. Female Bollywood stars Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, not to forget television celebs Mandira Bedi and ‘Roadie’ Bani credit weight training for their chiselled bodies. “My gym routine is the secret to my youthfulness,” says 45-year-old Mandira who looks a decade younger.

 

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Still worried weights will make you look manly? Won’t happen. Our bodies simply don’t have enough testosterone to gain mass. Those bulked up female bodybuilders you are imagining you’ll resemble have trained like crazy and injected themselves with steroids to look a certain way for the contest they are entering.

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Kelsey Wells

Gorgeous fitness blogger Kelsey Wells has the perfect response for people who think weights aren’t for women. She posted on Instagram:

Comments along the lines of ‘you’re looking manly’ or ‘careful you don’t want to be bulky’ or ‘weightlifting isn’t feminine’ never cease to amaze me.🤦🏻‍♀️🙄 I choose not to respond to negativity, but I do have something to say about this and I want to say it loud and clear. NOT in response to those who have left negative messages and comments, but instead to ALL MY FELLOW WOMEN who have ever received a similar comment or been told they need to do/be something different to be beautiful or feminine.
THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF. We empower ourselves when we are living our truth and doing what we are PASSIONATE about with our WHOLE HEARTS. I was always a girly girl growing up and I love getting dressed up on occasion. What has surprised me though is finding I feel most beautiful when I’m gross and sweaty in the gym when I’m pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I’m wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I’m looking into that little face and teaching him about his world. .
There is 100% beauty and femininity in lifting weights. Just as there is in dancing. There is beauty in MOTHERHOOD. There is beauty in marriage. There is beauty in being a homemaker. There is beauty in being single. There is beauty in pursuing a career. There is beauty in education, in learning both inside and outside of school. There is beauty in public speaking. There is beauty in private, sincere conversation. There is beauty in writing and cooking and cleaning and singing and playing sports and playing instruments and anything and everything else you might enjoy, because simply there is SO MUCH BEAUTY in YOU, you just need to choose to see it. And it has nothing to do with what you look like. So free yourself of the opinions of others and the beauty standards of society. Pay attention to the moments in life you FEEL beautiful. What are you doing? DO MORE OF THAT. 🖤

– Kelsey Wells

I am reproducing her post right here. Do follow her account for workout dope.

Comments along the lines of "you're looking manly" or "careful you don't want to be bulky" or "weightlifting isn't feminine" never cease to amaze me.🤦🏻‍♀️🙄 I choose not to respond to negativity, but I do have something to say about this and I want to say it loud and clear. NOT in response to those who have left negative messages and comments, but instead to ALL MY FELLOW WOMEN who have ever received a similar comment or been told they need to do/be something different to be beautiful or feminine. THE ONLY THING A WOMAN NEEDS TO DO TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND FEMININE IS TO BE HERSELF. We empower ourselves when we are living our truth and doing what we are PASSIONATE about with our WHOLE HEARTS. I was always a girly girl growing up and I love getting dressed up on occasion. What has surprised me though is finding I feel most beautiful when I'm gross and sweaty in the gym when I'm pushing myself in my training, and even more so as I'm wrestling on the floor with my son or any time I'm looking into that little face and teaching him about his world. . There is 100% beauty and femininity in lifting weights. Just as there is in dancing. There is beauty in MOTHERHOOD. There is beauty in marriage. There is beauty in being a homemaker. There is beauty in being single. There is beauty in pursuing a career. There is beauty in education, in learning both inside and outside of school. There is beauty in public speaking. There is beauty in private, sincere conversation. There is beauty in writing and cooking and cleaning and singing and playing sports and playing instruments and anything and everything else you might enjoy, because simply there is SO MUCH BEAUTY in YOU, you just need to choose to see it. And it has nothing to do with what you look like. So free yourself of the opinions of others and the beauty standards of society. Pay attention to the moments in life you FEEL beautiful. What are you doing? DO MORE OF THAT. 🖤 . kelseywells.com/app

A post shared by KELSEY WELLS (@kelseywells) on

Even if you train like mad, you are more likely to look like VJ Bani J [she lifts like a boss] than a bodybuilder.

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Bani J in beast mode at the gym

5 more reasons women should be lifting heavier:

You’ll lose weight faster

Cardiovascular activities – swimming, cycling, jogging – burn more calories than strength training but lifting weights burns more fat overall. The logic is simple – lifting weights builds muscle mass. Your body needs more calories to maintain muscle cells than fat cells. When you lift weights, it boosts your metabolism, and your body effectively turns into a fat-burning machine so you are losing fat even during rest.

You will have stronger bones

liftingWeight-bearing exercises are proven to be effective for staving off osteoporosis which primarily affects women. You engage muscles that tug on tendons, which in turn exert force on the bones. This strain makes the bones stronger.

Your brain will be sharper

Spending hours solving puzzles won’t sharpen your brain cells – doing workouts along with these activities will. Mayo Clinic reports that a combination of activities that stimulate the mind (computer games and puzzles) and exercise (cardio, sports and strength training) protects brain function. This combo decreases your chances of memory loss more than any one activity on its own.

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You will look younger

Women lose 22% of muscle between their 30th and 70th birthdays. “This void is usually filled with fat, which takes up a lot more space. So even if your weight drops, your dress size could increase,” says Yasmin Karachiwala, personal trainer to the stars. The best way to beat this effect of ageing is 2-3 sets of total-body strength workouts every week.

You’ll be happier and stress-free

People in Australia who did three strength workouts a week for 10 weeks experienced an 18% drop in depression. Weight training releases “feel-good” chemical endorphin into your brain. “Exercise reduces the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and relieves anxiety,” says celebrity fitness expert Samir Purohit who runs the Pilates and Altitude Training Studio in Mumbai.

How safe are weights for women?

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Heavy lifting is not inherently dangerous, as long as your technique is right and the weights are appropriate for your strength level. Ask the trainer at the gym to chalk out a weightlifting schedule for you. Check with your family physician if weight training could personally pose any dangers.

It’s important to lift weights that are heavy – no tiny dumbbells if you want to get fit. It’s important to lift appropriately heavy weights. You should be able to lift a certain weight 12 and 15 times without overstraining.

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3 essentials for beginners

  1. Learn correct form for every weight-bearing exercise
  2. Wear sports shoes with traction to avoid slipping
  3. Remember to breathe through the lifts

by Kasmin Fernandes

(A version of this post was first published on Alldatmatterz.com)

Weight training for female fitness is piquing the interest of YouTubers as well. There is an insane number of “female fitness motivation” videos out there. The blogosphere has been making space for this topic too, among other things that interest writers. WordPress writing prompt “interest” threw up quite a variety, and here are the top posts (in my humble opinion).

 

 

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