After a year of working on my own fitness, I made a breakthrough. Rather than spending hours on the treadmill or stairmaster (hating my life), I could spend thirty minutes to an hour in the weight room and get better results while, you know, not hating my life.

Crazy, I know. But let me elaborate.

It’s an extremely common belief that lifting weights (as a girl) will make you bulky. I’d like to challenge every bit of this belief and support you in your own journey towards weightlifting.

I know from my own experience and a lot of research that just doing cardio is not the answer, and success lies in a combination of cardio, preferably high-intensity, and strength training. 

Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training in Women

While cardiorespiratory endurance exercise such as running five miles or laboring on the elliptical for an hour burns muscle and fat, weight lifting burns almost exclusively fat. Sorry ladies, that “fat-burning” zone is kind of a scam.

Plus, with more muscle mass, your resting metabolic rate increases, causing your body to burn more calories throughout the day than you would normally. That means you’ll be burning calories just by checking Instagram! On a serious note, though, it will boost your metabolism in a way that detox teas or a magic fix will never be able to. 

Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training in Women

To address the idea that lifting makes girls bulky, I’ll just say this: you have to try really, really hard to become bodybuilder muscular. It’s not going to happen by accident.

Believe me, I’ve been trying for three years, and I still haven’t reached that status. A goal many girls have is to “tone up,” but just cardio will never give you those muscle-building results. Building a baseline of muscular strength and building it up will give you the “toned” look, in conjunction with some cardio (which helps to shed off that extra fat).

In summary, it’s a combination of the two that will boost your results, depending on what works for your body.

Lift Like a Girl: The Benefits of Strength Training in Women

If I can do it, so can you!

Beyond sculpting a super hot bod, weightlifting has incredible effects on the mind. Once you begin to see results, it becomes an addiction and you strive to better yourself each and every time you step into that gym. You learn discipline and begin to find motivation within yourself rather than from an external source.

Confidence and self-esteem inevitably get boosted and all aspects of your life seem to fall into place.  When you learn to love your body, somehow you learn to love and appreciate all other corners of yourself and your life. If you’re skeptical about this, try it for yourself and let me know. 

If and when you do begin lifting weights, don’t expect results to come overnight. Like the 50 day squat challenges and what not, success just doesn’t happen in such a short time frame. You have to want it, be consistent, and love yourself along the way. Nothing good in life comes easy, and this applies to your own self. So get in the gym, get your head and heart in it, and lift all the things.

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About The Author

Hannah is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Health Science and English with hopes to become your go-to trainer, dietitian, and wellness expert! When she's not planning her next four meals you can find her at a music festival, a yoga class, or the cutest coffee shop in proximity.

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