Don’t Be Scared to Lift Heavy

You want to be lean, but not bulky. You want to be shredded, but in the most feminine way possible. But you may be going about it all wrong. Read on to find out why avoiding heavy weights might be costing you the body you desire.

What are you afraid of? Spiders? Heights? Getting too bulky from lifting heavy weight at the gym? Spiders and heights can be frightening for sure, but rest assured: your fear of looking too manly from lifting weights is irrational.

You wouldn’t be the first woman in the world to be scared of that, though. For a very long time, the prescription for getting thin consisted of more cardio, less food, light weights, and high reps. It was believed that lifting heavy like men might actually make you look like one. Not exactly the results you’re looking for, right? So of course, generations of female gym goers settled into rep ranges of 10-15 with a weight they could lift easily.

But as it turns out, this approach isn’t optimal. In fact, the opposite–lifting heavy weights that challenge your body and mind–is the way to go if you’d like to look sexy in that bikini or turn heads in that dress.  There are tons of benefits to challenging yourself to lift heavier weight, both for your muscles and your mind. Let’s take a look at why you should embrace going heavy instead of blindly fearing the process.

Your Metabolism
Sure, doing a ton of cardio will help you burn fat and calories when you’re on the treadmill, but what happens when you get home? That Netflix marathon isn’t going to keep your metabolism churning. But if you took the time to build some lean muscle, your body would continue the process of burning calories even when you’re done working out.  With that in mind, it would be advantageous to not only lift some weights, but challenge your muscles with a heavy load. The greater the challenge, the more work your muscles will have to put in to measure up to the task. This way, you’ll be burning calories in the moment, but will also put a down payment on the development of lean muscle that will keep your metabolism working well after you put the weights down.

Tight Muscles for those Tight Clothes
Your general goal may be to lose weight or to fit in some of your old clothes, but don’t you want to look good in them, too? Burning calories on the Stairmaster may burn the fat necessary to fit in your favorite dress, but doing squats and deadlifts will make your curves pop once you slide into it. This goes for your upper body, as well. Slimming your arms and shoulders down by fixing your diet and doing cardio may work, but by doing heavy shoulder presses and arm exercises—with good form, of course—you can begin to sculpt the arms that you’re so ready to show off. Sculpted and strong is just as sexy as slim—and it looks better in and out of your favorite outfits.

Bulking Season? Not so Much
One of the biggest reasons women shy away from lifting heavy is because they’re scared of growing muscles as big as their boyfriend’s. But it’s not the weight that creates gargantuan muscles—it’s the surplus of calories. Your man is lifting heavy to strengthen and grow his muscles, but he’s also probably also inhaling twice as many calories as you are. If you’re eating a well balanced and not-too-calorie-crazy diet, your efforts under the barbell will simply translate to stronger, leaner muscles. It may seem counterintuitive, but lifting big can be a great way to keep your body small—and ripped.

Confidence is Key
You undoubtedly know a woman who owns every room that she walks into. Is it because she’s gorgeous? Maybe. Is it because she’s successful? Could be. Is it because she’s confident in her skin and who she is? Definitely. Confidence is the sexiest and most alluring thing any woman could dress themselves up in. But unfortunately, many of us struggle to discover this side of ourselves even though we know how mesmerizing it can be. Confidence is born in the accomplishment of things that were previously thought impossible, and by lifting heavy weights, you can experience this surge of accomplishment every time you step in the weight room.

 You can increase the number of reps on the bench press, hit a personal record in the squat rack, or just attempt one more set than you’re used to in the deadlift. No matter your form of improvement, you can prove yourself over and over again that you are capable of more than you’d originally thought. Lifting light weights and doing a ton of reps won’t excite your psyche in the same way. You’ll just feel like you’re accomplishing something on your to-do list for the day. When you lift heavy, though, you will feel like you’re moving mountains every single day.  With this newly acquired confidence, you’ll walk through a room and turn heads because of the way you carry yourself–well, that and the body you’ve acquired from all that heavy lifting.

Whether you don’t think you’re capable or you don’t think it’s useful, lifting heavier weight in the gym clearly has way more advantages than disadvantages. Who wouldn’t want to be more confident, burn fat well after their workout, and look toned and sexy in their favorite tight dress? Sounds like a dream to me. Enjoy the struggle of lifting heavy, because the results will be worth every single rep.

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