This just in: there's some pretty amazing benefits to adding resistance training to your workouts. Pumping iron just a few times a week will not only trim fat off your body but it will boost your mood and completely transform your health.
Plus, the perks can last for many hours after your workout. Here, are just a few:
1. You’ll feel the afterburn.
Ever heard of EPOC? Just in case you haven’t, it’s when the body burns calories even after we’ve stopped working out. The process is scientifically known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, and it refers to the oxygen your body needs to restore itself to the pre-workout state (your resting metabolism). Your body uses oxygen to produce fuel (ATP) needed for your muscles to fire up during exercise, but it can also call on stored energy sources that don't require extra oxygen. Resistance workouts typically utilise the latter more so than steady-state exercise, and will also require more oxygen post-sweat session — this is why these short bursts of intense, taxing exercise are associated with the afterburn effect.
In short: the more intense the workout = the bigger the EPOC.
2. It helps you lose body fat.
Weight training builds muscle, and as lean muscle increases, in turn, so does the metabolism. Having more lean muscle in the body actually burns fat, as muscle requires energy to function, you’ll be burning more calories without moving because your metabolism increases with resistance training.
Many studies have found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly 1kg of muscle and will lose up to 2kg of fat. For each kg of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day, which can really add up over the long term!
3. You’ll gain strength without adding bulk.
One of the most commonly used reasons for women avoiding weight is through fear of ‘bulking’. We’ve all heard the words like ‘tone’ and ‘shape’ but we don’t look into what the words actually mean. ‘Toning’ implies leanness in the body (low levels of body fat), noticeable muscle definition and shape, but not significant muscle size, but in order to ‘tone’ we must add resistance.
The most common misconception is that if women lift weights they’ll turn into a Russan weightlifter. But we actually have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and physically struggle to pack on muscle. Instead, women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.
So, if you want to change your body shape and tone, up your resistance training.
It’s the ultimate mood booster!
Hello endorphins! Everyone talks about them, but what are they exactly?
Essentially, they are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood and fight depression. Endorphins are released during exercise and in particular resistance training, they also naturally reduce stress and anxiety. A study by Harvard University found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counselling did. Plus, women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression. As if you need another reason, to get your gains on!
Katie Williams is part of the Women's Health Fitfluential Network and her mega passion for life is contagious! Katie’s a champion beach sprinter and Ninja Warrior, and her aim is to "lead and inspire the women of Australia to be best version of themselves".