When I set out on this journey of sharing my passion for health and fitness with others, something strange happened.  I started to think about the message I wanted to convey, who I wanted to reach, and how I could best inspire others.  I knew that I wanted to celebrate all aspects of fitness, and encourage any and all exercise, but somewhere in this intention, I got it into my head that writing or teaching about heavy, strenuous, and intense lifting would somehow “put off” my readers who are just beginning their health and fitness journeys.  And I knew I really didn’t want to turn anyone off of exercise!

What’s more, I’ve been afraid that heavy lifting may be perceived as too “hard core” to fit into my notion of an inspired healthy lifestyle, which I’ve come to think of as creative, light-hearted, genuine, wholesome, and fun. But then, isn’t that silly? The key word here is inspired, and inspiration is whatever moves you! Well let me tell you, throwing around some heavy weights moves me!

So, in the spirit of busting through these limiting beliefs, sharing my passion for weight training, educating about the amazing benefits of resistance exercise, and empowering women to be strong and fit, I have put together my top reasons to lift weights. ohspolaroid

  1. Boost metabolism. It’s no secret that many people want to lose weight. And though nutrition is an important part of the weight loss puzzle, resistance exercise plays a critical role too. Weight training builds lean muscle, and lean muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.  The take away? Weight training will speed up your metabolism, help you lose fat, and keep it off!
  2. Improve body composition and decrease risk of metabolic disease and other chronic health conditions. Ever heard of the term “skinny fat?” Even if you aren’t overweight, being “skinny fat” (defined by Dr. Mark Hyman as having not enough muscle and too much fat, especially belly fat) can still lead to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. (Read Dr. Hyman’s article on skinny fat here). So, even if you are at a healthy BMI, incorporating strength training into your exercise routine is still key in staying healthy!
  3. Build strong bones and decrease risk of osteoporosis later in life. How many times have you heard that strong bones come from getting enough calcium? While sufficient calcium (and vitamin D), is crucial to bone health, so is weight-bearing exercise. Stressing our bones under resistance exercise helps to increase bone density, keeping our bones strong and healthy.
  4. Quality of life. This is so important! When it comes down to it, we don’t need to get stronger just for the sake of being stronger. We need to be strong so as to remain capable – to be able to go out and do things and have our bodies hold up through our adventures. Whether your goal is to hike to Machu Picchu, keep up with your kids, or just be able to carry your own groceries and climb stairs as you age, strength training makes it all possible.
  5. Aesthetics. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy looking good as a result of my hard work in the gym! Because weight training builds muscle and helps to decrease body fat, it yields a “toned” look that many women, myself included, desire.
  6. Feel like a badass. Okay, I know this last one is completely subjective, but when I throw around some heavy weight, I feel like one strong, empowered, capable badass! There is nothing quite like the feeling of achievement, pride, and confidence you get from knowing just how strong your body is, and what amazing things you are capable of!

There you have it! No matter your reasons for weight training, I am confident you will see amazing benefits from incorporating resistance exercise into your routine. Weight training doesn’t have to be “hard core” and it certainly isn’t just for “bros.” Weights are a big part of my inspired healthy lifestyle, and if you choose, you can make them part of yours as well!

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