There's no question about it; women should lift. It's about more than looking good in the mirror, although it'll likely make your curves pop. Lifting weights can transform you from the inside out and change things for the better.
I spend a lot much time coaching women on how to change their bodies, but I focus on more than their physiques. I teach them how to improve on the inside to reflect their lifestyle changes. Lifting has changed my body and life for the better, and I want all of you to experience the same.
Here's a quick rundown of the key reasons you should be lifting, too.
Reason 1: To Boost Your Confidence
The number one reason women should lift is for the confidence boost. I have so much more confidence now in my mid-30s than I ever had growing up. When I first started training, I'd freeze when I walked into a gym. If I wasn't with my husband or a friend, I had no idea what to do.
Even if I knew what machine to use, I was worried people were watching me or that I wouldn't know how to adjust the settings. Every doubt was running through my head, and I didn't have the confidence I needed to get in a great workout.
Now that I've been lifting for years, I feel like I own the gym when I walk in. I love that feeling. It's taken some experience, but if you just keep going to the gym and keep lifting, you'll build up your confidence. You're going to walk into the gym, use the equipment you need, and kill your reps and your sets. And you know what? So what if people are watching? They probably want tips or want to know how you're doing what you're doing. Nothing feels better than when you're in the gym with that kind of confidence.
Outside of the gym, I can't even go grocery shopping in a tank top without women and men stopping me, complimenting me, and asking what I do. It's just really neat to be able to say, "I lift." It's as simple as that—I go the gym, and I lift. It's so rewarding to put on a dress or your favorite pair of jeans and have those curves. You feel good about your body and walk out there in the world knowing that you look and feel great.
Reason 2: To Eat More Carbs
Who doesn't love to eat? When you lift, you get to eat all the carbs. Well, maybe not all the carbs you want, but a lot of carbs. If you're lifting with intensity at the gym, you have to eat. You won't have a successful workout if you aren't properly fueled.
Still, a lot of women are scared of carbs and wonder if upping their intake will cause them to gain weight. I have good news for you: It won't if you're lifting with intensity and have consistency in the gym. You need those carbs to change your physique.
So, if you have carbs all day long on a leg day, your body will use up every drop of that to grow and maintain muscle. That's a pretty darned good reason to eat carbs and lift weights.
Reason 3: To Sculpt All the Right Curves
Lifting weights is going to put muscle on your body, change your shape, and change the way you fit into your clothes. Cardio alone is not. A lot of women get caught up in spending hours in the gym on the treadmill. Don't get me wrong—it's important to do cardio. I do cardio, but lifting weights has definitely added curves I didn't know could exist on my body. My butt and glutes have grown. I have awesome legs, and I'm not scared to show them off. I love wearing my favorite pair of jeans or just my leggings—especially when I can see my developed hamstrings peaking through.
Reason 4: To Burn More Calories
The best part of lifting is the afterburn affect, or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). When you do cardio only, you're burning fat but not really building muscle. When that cardio session ends, the fat burning stops. When you lift weights with intensity, you're burning fat and calories, too.
Your metabolism rate has increased, and you're burning calories all day long—even after your gym session is over and you're home resting. I don't know about you, but I'm really into burning fat while I sleep. The more muscles you have, the more calories you burn. It's as simple as that.
Reason 5: To Strengthen Your Bones
While you might not be concerned with it just yet, women are at higher risk than men for osteoporosis, which means a higher risk for fracturing and breaking bones. A great way to minimize that risk is by lifting weights with intensity. I don't mean a few reps here and there on machines and a little circuit training; I mean intensity.
Get into the gym—you can use machines, you can use cables, you can use dumbbells, or you can get into the squat rack—whatever is comfortable for you. Just lift weights, and whatever you do, go hard. You will build muscle mass, increase your bone density, and increase your strength, which will help you later in life.
Reason 6: To Do Things for Yourself
Lifting weights is empowering. Whether it's carrying your groceries, schlepping luggage, putting something in an overhead compartment, or rearranging your furniture, lifting gives you the choice to do things on your own rather than waiting for someone to help.
It's especially amusing when you're at the gym setting up for a lift and a guy asks if you need a spot. Being able to say "Nope, I got this" is priceless.
Jessie's Full-Body Workout
I've put together a sample full-body workout with some of my top-rated exercises. They recruit a lot of muscle and energy and give you that intensity you need to spark change. In short, they'll give you the most bang for your buck. Lift and enjoy!