Why Women Should Lift Weights

There is a common misconception amongst women, particularly young girls when it comes to fitness. Instagram is full of girls striving to get a perfect 'bikini body' or to fit into a certain dress size... we have come to live in a generation where the physical aesthetics are prioritised over health. I was once guilty of this very thing myself. Countless girls wrongly think that the way to go about achieving the body that they want is hours and hours on the treadmill. I truly wish that for once the emphasis wasn't on girls looking a certain way, but living a certain way. Train hard and what happens to your body naturally as a result will be out of your control, but you should feel comfortable in the knowledge that you worked hard for that muscle and should be proud of your body for being healthy and functional.

Weight training has quite literally saved my life, (read more about this here). I want to break the misconception of girls being afraid to lift weights, afraid to be strong and powerful and dominant. Below are my list of reasons for why it is important to fight this stereotype and fight to be strong:

1. The dictionary definition of strength is 'the quality or state of being physically strong.' Personally, I don't believe this definition is sufficient for explaining what strength truly is. Yes, physical strength may be the most obvious reason to train with weights: the heavier you lift, the stronger you become. But for me, with every rep, with every additional weight, with every lift I became mentally stronger too. Resilient to life, confident in the knowledge that I was strong, powerful and independent. The mind is not a muscle, but a goal without a plan is just a wish, so the stronger your mind, the stronger your body. Weight training will allow you to strengthen both.

2. A lot of people fail to realise that a high intensity weight training session can actually burn more calories than a standard mid-intensity cardio session. Lifting heavy combined with plyometric high intensity interval training actually requires a much higher energy output, meaning more calories burnt and more fat lost. Fat loss however will not necessarily lead to weight loss, but will make a dramatic change in your physical appearance. I actually lost 11% body fat over 7 months, but gained 11kg at the same time, however despite this gain still wear the exact same pair of jeans and my waist measurement has not changed at all. The weight gained is muscle, and this muscle was created not through hours of cardio but through lifting weights. Weights will help you to develop shape, tone and definition.

3. Most importantly for me, with strength comes growth - not in the traditional '#GrowMusclesGrow #Gains' sense that floods our instagram feeds daily, (although this is a pretty great result of weight training too), but in the sense of personal growth. Weight training taught me that it's OK to fail, in fact that failing is a good thing. Failing to hit the weight or reps that you intended provides the motivation to walk back into that gym with even more determination to succeed the next time. When you fail, let this fear be your motivation to succeed. I appreciate that not every girl will share my fitness goals to become as strong and healthy as physically possible, but whatever your goal the great thing about weight training (no matter how heavy/ light your weights may be), you will see progress, you will see progression, you will see growth.

Training for yourself, by yourself will lead to a sense of independence and with this will come confidence. Confidence in your strength in the gym will translate into confidence in yourself

'The myth that women shouldn't lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear work and men who fear women'

*Just a quick favour too! I would absolutely love it if you would nominate my blog to win best for fitness in the 2015 cosmo blog awards by clicking here*