(in no particular order)
- You’ll probably meet cute boys. This is how I met my boyfriend (*wink wink*).
Just kidding. On to the REAL reasons:
- You’ll feel really awesome. I’m serious about this one. Who doesn’t want to be able to beat their little brother arm wrestling? Or brag about being able to do 15 whole push-ups (and not the girl kind!)? When you lift weights, you’ll likely start feeling strong and confident, which will show in your personality AND (this is the best part) in your other workouts.
- You’ll start to see and feel results almost immediately. When you’re running or biking or doing a fitness class, sometimes it’s hard to see yourself making progress, especially if you’ve “plateaued.” When you lift weights, it’s a lot easier to see changes and improvements from one week to the next. You might start out not being able to do a single push-up (ahem… me) and within three or four weeks you may be reppin’ them out like crazy. You’ll FEEL improvements strength-wise, and also SEE improvements in your body, because…
- You will begin to lose fat more quickly. If you’re constantly doing cardio, you’ll eventually lose weight, especially if you’re eating properly. But all too often, it feels like, ughhh I’m running so much and hardly losing weight! (<— story of my last two months). When you lift weights, you are building lean muscle mass, and although this can *technically* equate to weight gain (because “muscle weighs more than fat”), it’s much easier to lose fat. Think about it this way… fat is inactive tissue. It basically just sits there and takes up space in your body. It requires very little energy to stay alive. But muscle, on the other hand, is active tissue, and it requires much more energy just to sustain itself. Meaning, even if you’re sitting there doing absolutely nothing, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you are burning.
- You won’t get “skinny fat.” I remember reading in a magazine once about the concept of “skinny fat,” and as much as it sounds like an oxymoron, I totally know what they were referring to. A lot of times women get caught up in only losing weight and not building muscle, so they do lots and lots of cardio, and get “skinny,” but still have that “flabby” (for lack of a better term) appearance. And aside from being “skinny fat,” who actually wants to be “skinny” anyway? Wouldn’t you rather be lean, toned, slim? You can have a flat tummy, or a flat, sculpted tummy. You can have skinny arms, or fit, toned arms. Know what I mean? And if it has ever crossed your mind that you don’t want to lift weights because you don’t want to “bulk up,” erase that silliness from your head right now! End of story!
- It’s free. You don’t need a fancy (and expensive) gym membership to do weight training. Although it is nice to have an array of machines and dumbbells at your disposal, you can make do with what you already have — your body. Push-ups, squats, tricep dips, and leg lifts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great exercises you can do without fancy gym equipment.
When I first started getting into fitness (over two years ago… woah), I started out by just running. Right away, I lost some weight, because I had some to lose, and I had never run before (or done any exercise, really). Then I met my boyfriend, who introduced me to weight training (and started training me… yes, I am very lucky to have a personal trainer boyfriend!). This was a whole new way of working out, something I had never even imagined doing. The weight room is for dudes. Big, sweaty, weight-belt-wearing, unnecessary-supplement-taking, dudes. Right?
After a couple weeks I was hooked! All those magical changes I was waiting for running to give me, I started seeing (what seemed like) immediately. Fat started disappearing a lot more quickly, and woahhh, muscles started to show up! Since then, I can always tell (by looking in the mirror, stepping on the scale, or even just by how I feel) when I’m not lifting regularly. I can run all I want, but I don’t really feel “good” unless I’m lifting, too. I forgot about this over the summer, when I stopped working out pretty much altogether. Since I started running again, I’ve been impatiently waiting for my weight to drop, my percent body fat to decrease, and for my running to improve.
Being unemployed, the last thing I can afford is a gym membership. So I haven’t been doing any strength exercises, and I’ve been relying solely on running to get in shape. Last week, I began doing some basic body weight exercises at home, just twice a week, and I kid you not, I already see and feel a significant difference in my body.
These are just my five, somewhat shallow, reasons to get into weight training. It also provides all sorts of health benefits, like increased bone density, improved balance and posture, and injury prevention (click here to read an article from LIVESTRONG.com about the benefits of weight training for women).
So, happy lifting! I mean… Get big! Pump iron! Feel the burn! and all that stuff…
Do you supplement your cardio workouts with strength training? Who would be interested in some body weight exercises you can do at home, for free? Or maybe a challenge of some sort?