Author: Swati Sodhi, Visiting Faculty at INFS IGNITE and SQUATS Consultant
It is a fairly common sight at my gym, to see majority of young women (talking to all you college girls) confined to just the cardio area or queuing up outside the aerobic/zumba class. Are you one of them? Then you should not miss reading this article.
As a consultant, it bothers me to see girls feel intimidated by the mere thought of lifting weights, since clearly the benefits of weight training supremely outweigh the benefits of cardio alone. Many published researches have shown that weight training not only burns fat but preserves muscle mass (or fat free mass as it is popularly referred to in studies), while cardio makes you lose both – fat and muscle.
So girls, it is high time you stopped being fascinated by that “fat burning zone” blinking on the treadmill display. Step into the weights section and start lifting. Lift and lift heavy – else the benefits just will not accrue.
Now even before I go further, I’d like to clarify that you should not take this to mean that cardio is therefore useless in an exercise regimen, but cardio on its own is not going to give you that toned sculpted body that you desire.
Undoubtedly, you have heard the horror stories: “Lifting weights makes women bulky,” “It’s dangerous for women to lift,” or the worst one – “If you stop lifting, all that muscle will turn into fat.” It’s time to put those apprehensions and uncertainties aside. Here are few reasons you should prioritize weight training over cardio in your fitness regime:
- Effective fat loss – The topmost advantage to go for weight training is your body’s ability to consume energy both during and after exercise. After a heavy workout of strength training, your body continuous to consume additional oxygen in the hours to follow. When your body consumes more oxygen, it calls for more calorie expenditure. Even though the difference is small to begin with, it builds up over time.
- More muscle, better Nutrition Partitioning – Your body will become more efficient at handling excess calories. Did you know that excess calories, stored as fat, can also sit inside your muscles? Instead of filling up your muffin top, it will be shuttled into the energy stores in and around your muscles where they can be consumed next time you contract and flex your toned muscles. Result? You go from looking like an inverted triangle to having a curvaceous to die for figure! And I talk from personal experience.
- Increased Bone Density – When our bones are put under stress from the force of resistance training over a long period of time, they increase in density and grow stronger. Increased bone density therefore decreases the chances of women developing osteoporosis later in life. Stronger bones and increased muscle mass also lead to flexibility and balance, which is especially important for women as they age.
- Reduces risk of chronic diseases – Strength training has proven to regulate blood sugar levels, thus considerably lowering the risk of diabetes. Since it helps in burning fat, it reduces chances of obesity, which in turn is a major contributing factor to many other diseases. Also when you lift weight at a constant pace, the blood flows rapidly, thus helping you maintain a healthy heart by amping up your heart rate. This leaves you at a lower risk for many cardiovascular diseases.
- Stress buster – Yoga isn’t the only zen-inducing exercise. Lifting weights has the same effect. Endorphins released during exercise makes you happy. Try it for yourself – try getting into a lifting session after a boring lecture and you will feel the exhilaration of feeling alive!
- Improves posture, sleep quality, and energy levels – Told you, it has a long list of benefits! Besides the aesthetic and physiological benefits, it affects how we feel and how we think. It is also proven to improve sleep quality, which has long lasting impact on the way our entire body functions.
- Increases your productivity and efficiency – Weight training also improves your ability to perform daily activities. You can carry your own shopping bags for longer without the need to take a break, good for your mood, bad for your wallet! Any regular exercise will give you an endorphin rush but only strength training will give you the confidence and swagger of a strong petite curvaceous body.
So girls, please lift hard and lift regularly! There is absolutely no reason not to, and every reason to do it every day. When you are in college, life revolves largely around friends and home and you are busy with an active social life. Like it or not, here’s a reality check – it’s going to get tough to get in shape as you age. Act while you still have youth on your side. Strengthen yourselves inside and out with the right kind of training.
About the Author, Swati Sodhi: Swati is an internationally certified Nutrition Coach and also a Senior Consultant at SQUATS. She gained a lot of weight during her two pregnancies but with strong determination was able to lose over 35kgs and was featured in Times of India for her fabulous transformation. With two young kids, she is concerned about the lack of Nutrition and Fitness knowledge that the youth of today is struggling with. She has joined the INFS IGNITE project to change this and is our Visiting Faculty for IGNITE led initiatives in Delhi NCR. For more information about project IGNITE, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.
Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences (INFS) was established with the intent of providing comprehensive and practical knowledge in Health and Fitness. INFS Nutrition and Training courses are divided into levels so that everyone from a general health enthusiast to someone who wants to build a career in Fitness industry can benefit from them.
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