Why Women Should Lift Heavy

After 30 years of age, we begin losing muscle mass, as much as 3-8% each decade depending on how active or not active we are. We can’t just sit around and do nothing about that. Lifting heavy weights is important to maintain and increase muscle mass and bone density. With age, there is an increased risk of falling. Falling leads to broken hips and increased rate of mortality. Don’t you want to be able to have a good quality of life in your 60’s to 90’s? Don’t you want to be able to chase the grandkids around, take the dog for a walk, lift the groceries by yourself and not have to depend on other people to help you? What about posture? Maintaining a good posture helps prevent pain, and compensations in other muscles that often lead to injuries. It’s all about prevention now so that you can maintain that independence as you age. Prevent yourself from having to use a wheelchair or cane later on. Be independent. Yes, there’s genetics and luck as well, but doing everything you can now to prevent losing muscle mass and bone density is huge. Get ahead of it while you can.

“I'm going to get bulky. I want to tone up. I won't fit into my jeans. I'm going to get hurt. Lifting heavy is for men. I just need cardio.” These are the first things I hear every time someone is ready to change and start at ANCHOR. I’m here to tell you, why you NEED to lift heavy. There is a ton of fitness “knowledge” out there, all over the internet with different celebrity trainers guiding the way and telling people how fitness should be done. You can get a daily “work out” in any fitness magazine that you pick up on the shelves at the grocery store. The amount of information is mind blowing and most of it not supported by research or the organizations who should be the leaders in the field (American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength & Conditioning Association, StrongFirst, Functional Movement Systems, and others). So, if you finding your information in a fitness magazine, I’m begging you… stop now. Don’t listen to everything your best friend tells you when you get together for book club and wine night. Find a professional who knows the industry, spends time continuing their education, and will help you on your health and fitness journey. There are no such thing as quick fixes, or 30 minute abs. It takes hard work , dedication over time and learning of a new skill to progress over time to get you to meet your goals. Don’t avoid the heavy weights. Learn how to safely do them, get on a program and progress. It will all be worth it.

If you want to change your body composition, get stronger, and feel better overall, you need to lift heavy weights and come to the barbell class at ANCHOR. We start everyone in the kettlebell classes to learn the basics of lifting. How to breathe, how to brace, what you should and shouldn't be feeling. We progressively have you increase your weights in the kettlebell class and make sure you can lift safely. We dial in the technique. We also have members go through a barbell seminar to learn all of the lifts, accessory moves, and programming to help prepare you for class. We won’t even allow you to attend the seminar, unless we know you are ready to start throwing heavier weights around. After completion of the seminar, you are approved to begin taking our barbell classes. Our focus is on the deadlift, squat, bench press with accessory moves to compliment and improve the main lifts. Our programs are written to progress you safely and max out days happen upon completing the program so that you can see the progress you have made. You will not see fast results. Sorry, I’m blunt and honest. 30 minutes of abs sounds so much sexier. I know. But, it’s a bunch of bull. I often say that it could take up to a year of consistency before you begin seeing body composition changes. Also, you may gain weight, but could go from a size 10 to an 8 or a 6 over time. Muscle mass takes up less room. I know a lot of you love the feeling of sweating when doing cardio. Cardio is great to work the heart, improve circulation and prevent heart disease. But, it is not better for burning fat. I know 80’s step aerobics with Jane Fonda was a ton of fun, and the outfits…well, ya know. But, the 80s are over and research over the past couple of decades has improved and shows that lifting heavy is what will help to change your body composition.

It takes time (yep, we all have plenty of it;), consistency, hard work, and dedication. If you want something bad, if you want to improve yourself, you can find a way. A way to commit to a program. A way to show up each week and try to be better every single session. I don’t care if you start deadlifting at 40kg or if someone else is at 90 kgs. Don’t compare yourself to others. Get in there, put your head down, put the work in and have fun. Try to be better every single session. There will be days that are better than others and times when it is appropriate to regress to progress. But, ladies… I’m begging you. Please, keep an open mind, understand the importance of lifting heavy. I promise, it will all be worth it.

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