International athlete and wellness coach Sonali Swami sets out to debunk some myths and provide tips for women who are starting their weightlifting journey.
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Wellness takes many forms with countless interpretations, increasing the likelihood of finding a fitness plan that suits your lifestyle. To enhance physical health, an expert proposes weight training as the ideal workout for those women seeking to incorporate a new routine.
Weight training which refers to any exercise that enhances muscle strength through resistance is suitable for all, international athlete and wellness coach Sonali Swami said.
According to Sonali, everyone should include resistance or strength training in their fitness regimen.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2022) found that individuals who engage in muscle-strengthening workouts have a lower risk of premature death, reinforcing the long-term health benefits of strength training reported by Harvard University, The Indian Express informs.
Though the outdated belief that women shouldn’t lift weights has been discredited long back, yet some women still avoid weight training.
Therefore, Sonali sets out to debunk some myths and provide tips for women who are starting their weightlifting journey.
It is suitable for all
Sonali reportedly said, “Whatever your goal may be, the answer is always weightlifting. Yes, you heard me right! If your goal is to lose weight, then you should still focus on lifting weights heavy enough for muscle gain, and on weights heavy enough to build strength.”
According to the expert, increasing lean muscle mass raises the body’s fat-burning capacity.
Want a toned body?
“I hear this all the time: I want a toned body. Well, believe it or not, there is no such thing as ‘toning.’ You can either build muscle or lose fat. That is all,” she explains.
Sonali suggests boosting results by lowering body fat and building muscle, which can be accomplished through weight training.
Focus on proper form
She adds, “My motto is ‘form over weights.’ The most important thing is to ensure that you are lifting with good form.”
For optimal results, begin with easy exercises that maximise muscle engagement, and concentrate on proper form, the expert states.
Simple exercises can yield results if the form is prioritised.
Additionally, experts consider proper form crucial for injury prevention, however, they feel it’s often overlooked, especially for those, in a hurry. Also, women, due to their wider hips, are more susceptible to form-related injuries than men.
According to a study, women suffer nearly double the number of leg and foot injuries compared to men, an earlier feature in Women’s Health informs.
Ensure your workout is planned
“Always have a plan” Sonali claims, adding, “Many women go into a gym without a plan and do random workouts. They always settle for the least intimidating ones but 90% of the time these are not very productive.”
So, seek help from your trainer to plan a workout tailored to your needs.
Take breaks and recover
“Remember! More is not always better,” Sonali warns. You don’t need to exercise daily to achieve health goals. Take time for rest, recovery, nutrition, sleep, and stress management to allow your body to heal.
In conclusion, she is quoted as saying, “So if you really want to get the most out of your training session and get more efficient, give yourself the TLC it deserves.”
Further, experts explain that strength training offers a flexible approach, thereby dispelling the myth that women will bulk up just by lifting weights.
Apparently, it takes a significant amount of time, effort, and focus to bulk up, and women’s testosterone levels are typically not high enough to do so.
So, the benefits of strength training go far beyond this myth.
Speaking about the benefits of strength training, Shelley Armstrong, Ph.D., MAT, MCHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) in an earlier report, told The Everygirl site, “Lifting weights two to three times per week is extremely beneficial for women to reduce their risk of osteoporosis by promoting bone health.
“Weight training can prevent or even reverse this process and, in turn, provides the following benefits: improved performance of physical activities, prevention, and management of chronic diseases, improved joint health, prevention and treatment of low-back pain, injury prevention, relief of aches and pains from stress or after prolonged sitting, improved posture, and improved quality of sleep.”
Overall, experts are of the opinion that having an open and determined attitude is crucial for success in weight training.
Weightlifting is a learned skill that takes time and patience. Listen to your body to know when to ease off or push harder. Reduce weights and focus on form during rest weeks, and push yourself to set new records when feeling energetic.