It’s no secret I am team lift for life. That is largely where my phrase “long haul mentality” came from. Because I am a sucker for the grind – the day to day that no one wants to do, but everyone needs. The process by which they get the REAL results that they want.
It applies to weight lifting, career, building a business, any pursuit of something more than the mundane.
Today we dive into physical, mental and spiritual reasons for women to lift weights. Most of these apply to men as well, but 85% of you are ladies, and that’s who my clientele have always been, so, that’s who we speak to today.
Weight lifting is in the simplest sense, applying science to a set of skills that you build over time. This CAN and more often than not, does, manipulate the body in the form of adaptions.
Those adaptations are WHY women need to lift weights. Being stronger, more mobile, having higher self efficacy and esteem are rarely bad things.
First up and possibly the most focused on FEMALES:
Osteoporosis is far more prominent in women than in men. We naturally hold less muscle mass, and provide less tension to all of our connective tissues.
Bone is not highly vascular which means it takes LONGER for the bone to adapt to stimulus. Muscle adapts quickest, tendons and ligaments next, due to their lack of vascularity. And lastly, bones.
Locomotion happens via our muscles pulling on bones via tendons. That’s literally how our bodies move.
Providing tension to these tissues is how we cause NEW tissue to grow, and become stronger. That’s what we want. In this case for bones.
It can take six months to a year for significant bone growth to take place from weight lifting. Again, applying LOAD and tension to the skeleton is what causes this demand for new growth.
Load and tension can come in many forms – ie jogging. But weight lifting is the most superior way for this to happen.
Improve and USE mobility
There is some kind of saying about your mobility and age or lifespan. Like you’re only as old as your spine is mobile or something like that.
This is true in my opinion for all mobility. I trained people in person for five years before going fully online. And for me, the sixties was where I saw the largest gap in ability.
I trained three to four 62-67 year old women. One was a national swimmer and had amazing fitness, though she did lack strength, which is what we were working on. One could not get off the floor from a split squat and had a terrible base of fitness.
I’ve had family members in their sixties hiking mountains and playing with grandkids and those who need assistance for daily movements. There is obviously context there, and many variables at play. But witnessing these differences is what brought the importance of mobility and strength to my mind as a trainer.
Mobility, and many other pieces of fitness fall under “you don’t use it, you lose it”
This might be an obvious one. But important nonetheless.
I like to think of this in relationship to other tissues which the human body can be comprised of – mainly fat.
If you’re not building muscle, or largely comprised of muscle…and muscle is how we cause our bodies to MOVE, what are you made of? Truth is, a fair amount of that will be fatty tissues.
Overall health benefits from hosting and maintaining muscle mass in comparison to fat mass.
Muscle is harder to build for women than men. This is due to our natural make up as well as hormone profile. Not a bad thing, we can certainly build muscle, but we definitely have to be intentional about doing so.
And muscle mass becomes harder to hang on to as we age. So the importance of building and maintaining becomes more and more pertinent.
Dr Gabriel Lyon has so much research and information on this. I never thought of muscle as so metabolically advantageous until hearing her speak on several podcasts. Look her up.
This falls outside of the more physiological reasons. If you’re pushing yourself in the gym, you’ll experience challenges. And through taking on those challenges, you’ll see that you are resilient. That your mind and your body are both resilient. You can be uncomfortable and stay under control or push through.
And if you’re doing this for the long haul, you’re bound to have days and seasons where you just don’t want to. But you choose to, over and over.
To quote Elle Woods – people who workout have endorphins, and people with endorphins don’t kill people.
But in all seriousness – anecdotally speaking, I almost always feel better about my entire day when I’ve worked out. Maybe that’s the endorphins. Maybe it’s that I prioritized myself. Maybe it’s the decision making, or pushing myself. I am sure there is research on this I simply haven’t dove into it.
Under the same level of “obviousness” as building muscle…
Moral of the story is, weight lifting is amazing, and provides endless benefits for women. Do the thing. Lift the weights. Get the direction you need. And commit to the long haul.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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