Why women need to lift weights

I wish I could add a pound to my deadlift for every time a woman has told me, "I don't want to lift weights because it will make me bulky!"

Suffice it to say, my deadlift would be well over 1,000 pounds by now.

Unfortunately, women have been coerced by the media and Hollywood to think that they should be "tone" and "slim" as opposed to "strong" and "powerful." Toner is for printers, people. Humans need to be strong ... for a lot of reasons.

Not including women ... especially women.

What if I told you that you've been sold a bill of goods? What if I told you that lifting weights will not make you bulky? What if I told you that women NEED to lift weights -- not just for aesthetic purposes, but for overall health and longevity?

Because if I told you that, I'd be telling you the truth. Backed by science.

Here's an article from one of my favorite websites, "Breaking Muscle," on a study of skeletal mass and distribution in men and women age 18-88. Essentially, skeletal mass and muscle mass decline as we age, and women are starting from a point of relative deficiency in both. One of the most effective ways to slow down the aging process and improve your quality of life as you hit your 40s and beyond is to incorporate resistance training -- i.e. contracting your muscles in opposition to a force -- into your fitness routine.

Instead of cardio, cardio, cardio, women should be thinking strength, strength, strength.

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Women are at a higher risk for Sarcopenia and Osteoporosis as they age. Sarcopenia is the involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass (and strength) that can start as early as the 4th decade of life. If you haven't already, this is the time to begin following a well-designed strength program to slow down this process.

Muscle tissue is metabolically active and is the largest site of glucose disposal and fat oxidation. Dr. Gabrielle Lyon refers to muscle as the “organ of longevity.” All important metabolic processes happen around muscle tissue, and the loss of skeletal muscle has profound effects on your overall health.

So as we lose skeletal muscle, strength and function decline. This puts us at risk for numerous adverse health outcomes. Sarcopenia is associated with acute and chronic disease, insulin resistance, fatigue, falls and mortality, not to mention Rheumatoid Arthritis in women.

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by having low bone mass, affecting more than 25 million Americans each year. It is associated with pathologic fractures and is considered a metabolic bone disease, putting women more at risk than men -- especially after menopause. 

Knowing what you know now, are you still afraid of strength training? As women age, the best way to stimulate the maintenance of skeletal mass and muscle tissue is to get STRONGER. Period.

You can’t reverse the aging process; as Kobe Bryant once said, "Father Time is undefeated." But if you begin to lift at an earlier age, you can get ahead of this "game" we call life and minimize the inevitable decline as you age.

If you're already into your 40s or beyond -- and spinning and aerobics are the extent of your fitness plan -- it's time to seek out an experienced, educated trainer who can show you a few basic resistance training exercises that anyone can do in order to improve their overall health and longevity. Future you will thank you.

If you're still unsure about what type of strength exercises you should be doing, or just need someone to point you in the right direction, tell us where you are in your fitness journey in the comments.