Welcome to the weightlifting myth – the idea that heavy weights add bulk to a woman’s frame, resulting in an overly muscular appearance. In fact, heavy weightlifting can actually help you carve out a lean, sculpted physique – which is why more and more women are turning to this form of exercise. But how exactly does weightlifting help? Let’s take a look.
1 It burns kilojoules
But every type of exercise burns kilojoules doesn’t it? True – but weightlifting gives you far more bang for your buck. While cardio-based exercise helps you burn kilojoules while you’re working out, muscle-building exercise helps you burn them long after your session is over. In the simplest terms, working with weights breaks down your muscle tissue, requiring energy to repair it. That energy comes in the form of kilojoules – so while you’re going about your normal day after a weights workout, you’re burning kilojoules at a faster rate than you usually would.
2 It burns oxygen
Lifting heavy weights leads to an increased consumption of oxygen following a training session – known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). The more oxygen your body uses, the more energy you use, and (you guessed it) the more kilojoules you burn. Your metabolic rate will increase as well, giving you yet another reason to pick up that barbell.
3 It builds lean mass
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that building lean muscle mass is a bad thing. If the physique of female bodybuilders isn’t one you’re looking to recreate, remember that it takes years of hard work to achieve that aesthetic – so it’s not one you’ll reach after a few sets of overhead presses. Instead of creating ‘bulky’ muscles, weight training helps you to firm the muscle you already have, increase your strength, and burn more fat.
Finally, bear in mind that muscle is denser than fat – which could cause the scale to stay the same, or even go up, which can be hugely frustrating. Rather than stepping on the scale, take progress pictures or try on some smaller clothes. If they fit, then weightlifting is doing its job, burning fat, and making you leaner, stronger and fitter at the same time. No bulk anywhere in sight.
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