Strength training with weights is one of the key elements of changing your body for the long-term. When you add muscle, you are changing your body composition.
You are made up mostly of water, lean muscle/tissue and fat. What the ratio of fat to lean muscle is is determined by what you are doing with your body and what you are literally putting into it via your mouth.
It seems that a lot of women (again I am speaking generally-and from talking to lots of women that go to gyms) stay away from the iron...it seems to be the man-cave of the gym.
Believe me, I have walked into the weight room many times to get cross-eyed and cock-eyed looks from the guys and once in awhile an admiring look-more than hey-you-lookin-good look; it was the "wow-you-aren't-afraid" look. And it made me proud to learn how to rack my own Olympic bar and get under it on a squat rack and manuever my own body weight.
I'm sure to some of you, that's nothing. And my hat is off to you! But to those women who have never lifted a 45 lb. iron Olympic bar, do it. Try it. Feel it in your hands. Steady yourself under it. Don't be afraid-even if it's all you can lift, do it and you will find a steady strength and confidence come and build in you.
There are lots of ways you can start out to build muscle. Plan it into your fitness training once a week. Here is a plan that I used from a great website that I will talk more about later: lift just 5 lbs. more than you did the week before until you reach whatever goal you set for yourself.
My goal was to squat my body weight. It took me a few months but I did it. I started out just with the empty bar-no I take that back.
I started out with plastic, cement-filled dumbells and then when I reached the 50 lb. limit on those, I went to the weight room at the gym. (I did try to avoid the man-crowd, though-at first!)
Then I went straight for the bar-the Olympic 45 lb. bar that had these intimidating huge iron plates stacked next to it. I paid no attention to those and just used the empty bar. I didn't care if I looked silly to all of the other people there. I just went for the gusto and did it!
There are some safety measures for women though when weight training. You want to avoid injuries or straining yourself so it's good to have several things:
Here are the exercises I used the most when lifting weights. Click on each one for tips and a demonstration of the movement:
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press