As I mentioned in part one of this post series, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend “adults do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week”. Lifting weights is just one form of strength training–you can also satisfy strength training recommendations through basic calisthenics and other activities.

Today, we’re talking weights.

This post is dedicated to anyone who is hesitant to add weightlifting to their routines or who wants to lift heavy but is afraid of “bulking up”.

I reached out to some wonderful women to gain their insight and words of wisdom on this topic and I am happy to share it with you!

First, I connected with Nancy Clark, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics. Nancy shared that she’s witnessed women in particular benefit from incorporating weight training into their exercise routines–it “helps them lose weight, feel stronger and feel proud of their new strength.”

Let Nancy put your fears of getting huge to rest, ladies. She explained that women do not have the testosterone needed to “bulk up” and that instead, weight training produces the “tightened and toned” look many women are going for.

So what might a beginner’s weightlifting routine look like?

“A woman can get benefits from light weights twice a week. In 20 minutes, she can do a total body workout (1 set of 9-12 reps to fatigue). Not a huge time-drain but an effective investment in health and weight”, Nancy explained.

Then, I chatted with two inspirational women who fell in love with weightlifting and went on to gain fitness certifications. They were kind enough share their stories with me:

Amanda Williams-Henderson, a certified CrossFit trainer, calls herself a “former cardio bunny”. Amanda’s personal experience with weightlifting includes lower body fat and pushing herself in new ways. “I felt my goals shift from caring about the numbers on the scale to caring more about how much I could add to my deadlift or back squat. Lifting has also helped me become a faster runner. It’s all about finding that balance.”

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Tricia Byers, who became a personal trainer after a significant weight-loss journey, shared how strength training played a pivotal role in her transformation and inspired her to become a fitness coach to help empower others. “When I took my first step on this journey, I, like many other women, was greatly misinformed about fitness and weight loss. I thought I had to spend hours on the ‘dreadmill’ in order to lose the weight. In addition to helping with my weight loss and overall change in body composition, weightlifting has become a sanctuary and extremely rewarding experience.”

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Each of these ladies stressed the importance of working with an exercise professional to gain the foundational knowledge of form and safety for weightlifting. Investing in a handful of personal training sessions will pay off big time in effectiveness of your workouts and preventing injury. It also helps boost confidence if you’re wary of stepping into the weight room or aren’t sure how or which equipment to use. This doesn’t exclude home exercisers–let a professional show you the best exercises for you and then you can apply what you learned in the comfort of your own home.

Are you a female weightlifter? How has lifting weights had an impact on you?

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