Cardio or strength? A question as old as time itself (okay not really, but it’s asked a lot!).

Men typically gravitate towards strength training, because they want to get bigger and stronger. Women on the other hand, tend to gravitate towards cardio, because they want to lose fat or weight.

You might be asking yourself which is better. The answer is BOTH!

Cardiovascular training and strength training are important for overall health and wellbeing. They serve different purposes and should be utilized by both men and women! The problem I see is that women tend to disregard strength training because they’re afraid or uncomfortable. It is scary and uncomfortable to step into the weight room of a gym- I know that first hand! So, if you’re a woman, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t incorporate strength training into your routine.

Reason #1: You definitely do not want to build lean muscle mass.

Building lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest; meaning, if you have more muscle on your body and you’re sitting down, you’ll be burning more calories than someone who has less muscle mass.

Increasing your lean muscle mass will also give you a “toned” look. Now, toned means different things for different people- but 95% of the women that I speak to want to achieve some level of toning. Doing endless hours of cardio simply won’t get you there- you need to build your lean muscle mass to achieve that look. It’s an amazing feeling to start noticing muscle definition, it’s a huge confidence boost to feel phenomenal in your own skin, and strength training can do that for you!

You will not get bulky from incorporating strength training into your exercise routine. Those amazingly built women you see rocking an itty bitty bikini and showing off their muscles have been training for years to achieve that look. They eat a very specific diet, do very specific exercises, and have dedicated months, if not years, to achieving that look. You will not look like that if you start lifting weights- unless of course you want to!

Reason #2: You definitely do not want to increase your strength.

Not only will building lean muscle give you that toned look and burn more calories at rest, it will also make you stronger!

Being stronger means carrying all of your groceries in from the car in one trip, being stronger means rearranging your living room without any help, being stronger means playing with your kids with ease!

Strength is especially important for women as we age. We are more likely to develop osteoporosis in later years, and strength training has been shown to help build strong bones alongside strong muscles. Strong muscles + bones = living your best life!

Reason #3: You definitely do not want more energy.

Energy creates energy, which means that if you’re constantly sitting around watching TV, your body will produce just enough energy to watch TV (tough love: it doesn’t require a lot of energy to watch TV). The same goes for exercise, the more consistent you are with exercising, the more energy your body needs to make.

This is why it’s so hard to start an exercise routine if you’ve been sedentary for a long time. Your body isn’t accustomed to creating that amount of energy, so you’re going to be tired and questioning your decision to move your body more. Once you get past the 4 week mark, it gets a lot easier! The key is to stay consistent and build up your energy. If you constantly start something and give up when it gets hard, your body will never learn how to adapt and get past the hard.

Start with baby steps. 1 workout a week is a fantastic start, then next week add another workout, and another, and another; 2-4 workouts a week is fantastic! They don’t have to be hours long either, even 30 minutes is beneficial. The key is to start small so that you can set yourself up for success and build off of that success.

Don’t give up!

Reason #4: You definitely do not want to improve your daily life.

Strength training helps you do daily tasks with ease. Practicing and loading the movements that you do on a daily basis like: standing up out of a chair, walking up the stairs, carrying groceries, carrying kids, putting items away in a high cupboard, pushing a stroller, can all be improved with strength training.

My clients are always surprised when they’re able to walk up the stairs without being out of breath or when they’re able to get in and out of their car with ease. You can make your daily life easier by incorporating strength training into your routine!

Reason #5: You definitely do not want to increase your confidence, feel like a badass, or gain mental strength.

Lifting weights is empowering. Working towards a goal and achieving it is motivating. Strength training not only strengthens your body, but your mind as well. When you approach something new, like strength training, and actually do it, you start showing yourself that you are capable of anything!

Spending the time working on yourself, not because you’re punishing yourself for something you ate, but because you love yourself is the single greatest thing you can do. You’ll start showing up better in all aspects of your life; as a mother, as a partner, as a friend, because you spend time proving to yourself, over and over again, that you are capable of anything.

So, you definitely don’t want to incorporate strength training into your life if you want to improve daily life, have more energy, burn more calories, be stronger, have more confidence, feel like a badass, or look great naked!

About Nicole

Nicole is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach for women who want to ditch the scale and start living life as their best self. Nicole prides herself on her relationships, ensuring that she gets to know each of her clients on an individual basis so that she can help them achieve their goals. She believes that you don’t need restriction to achieve your goals and teaches her clients how to make informed decisions in all aspects of their life.

Nicole is most often seen singing and dancing to whatever music is playing, while sporting her brightly coloured water bottle and a smile.

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