Editor’s Note: Another of the Ladies of the West has penned an article for us. Here, we present our first post by Faith Sutherland, wherein she addresses why women should lift weights.
- Looking good for your husband
One of the main reasons women hit the gym is so they will look good. Gyms are always packed after the New Year, and before “bikini season.” Women’s fitness magazine covers declare things like “Be bikini ready for summer”. While trying to look sexy for men to ogle her on a beach is not a value that should be promoted, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look good for her husband. In fact, this is a fine goal, and one that her husband will surely appreciate. Women should not be discouraged from trying to please their husbands, as is so often done by modern feminism.
Lifting heavy weights will not, as some women are taught to fear, cause her to develop bulky muscles and end up looking like Hulk Hogan or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lifting weights will help a woman to develop an overall toned look and muscle definition. It will help to develop the type of curves that men admire in the feminine figure. The hulking muscular women that can be seen in body building and figure competitions are almost certainly taking some kind of androgenic hormone which causes them to build muscle like a man. The average woman simply doesn’t naturally produce the amount of testosterone that makes gaining muscle mass easy. It takes years of intense and dedicated training to develop large amounts of muscle mass for a woman, so put those fears aside and don’t be afraid to pick up heavy weights.
I’m currently lifting heavier weights than I have at any other time in my life, and have been consistently training with heavy weight. I have not gained muscle mass that makes me look masculine. I look toned and fit, which is the normal response of a female body with female hormones.
- Being strong enough to be useful around the house
Women who are able to perform tasks around the house more easily will be of great benefit to herself and to a family. Having the strength to easily carry out daily chores will vastly improve quality of life. Caring for children and maintaining a household is not easy work. Sometimes housewives are viewed with disdain by feminists as though women who stay at home to care for their families are lazy or unskilled. Nothing could be further from the truth of course, and any stay at home wife or mother knows that it can be exhausting and is full time work. Developing muscular strength and endurance will make the daily household work much lighter and easier to accomplish.
Lifting weights and being physically fit and strong also increases energy levels overall. I have much more ability to accomplish my daily tasks as well as harder work such as gardening. Taking care of the garden and chores around the yard would be much more difficult and exhausting if I hadn’t developed a base strength and level of stamina that is a direct result of the time I spend in the gym.
- Stress relief
Similarly, the demands of work–whether inside or outside of the home–and children can be stressful. Lifting weights and having time to relieve stress and work on personal goals can be invaluable to a woman. Moms can relate to the feeling of never having any personal time. Trips to the bathroom alone can even be difficult! So, having some free time set aside and dedicated to self-improvement can go a long way to feeling more refreshed and less stressed.
The mood improving effects of exercise are well documented in the literature and have been shown to reduce feelings of depression, fatigue, and other negative emotions. Exercise can raise the “feel-good” hormones in the body and provide an option for dealing with sadness, anxiety, depression or other problems that don’t include pharmaceuticals and their deleterious side-effects which are often worse than the original complaint.
One oft used excuse for not putting in the effort to make it to the gym: “I don’t have time.” We all get it. Everyone is busy, especially in today’s fast paced world and with both parents often having jobs. However, when something is important to you, you will find the time to do it. I like to work out early in the morning, before I have to be where I need to be. Getting up an extra hour or two early to get in a workout makes my entire day go better, and it really isn’t hard to find that “extra” time to accomplish something if you just decide to do it. And making the time for exercising is worth the effort put into scheduling it. Working out after work or in the evening is another good way to schedule a time to make it to the gym. Especially since many gyms offer child care and playground areas for kids to play while parents lift weights.
There really is no excuse not to make the time. Working out at home is possible if there really are extreme time constraints or monetary considerations that make a gym membership unfeasible. Many body weight exercises are challenging enough for a woman to make a lot of progress with and YouTube and the internet are filled with enough example workouts to never run out of inspiration.
- Self confidence
Developing specialized skills will inevitably increase self-confidence. Self-confidence is attractive and appealing and having self-confidence is an important trait for a successful woman. Expressing a sense of self-assuredness and competence will benefit a woman and the rest of her family. Nobody likes someone who is not self-confident and seeks too much external validation. Men tire of being asked inane questions like “do I look fat” or similar annoying behaviors that attempts to glean self-confidence from someone other than oneself.
Lifting heavy weights means looking and feeling good due to having developed physical skills and abilities. This in turn will make it less likely for a woman to annoy her husband or others with frivolous questions and approval seeking behaviors that stem from a lack of self-confidence. Making and achieving personal goals will go a long way to removing the temptation to gain confidence from external validation. Weights won’t lie. They are a concrete and observable measure of ability and strength and provide undeniable feedback of progress and ability.
Every time I reach a new goal in the gym, or beat an old personal best, I feel a great sense of accomplishment and I feel my confidence and self-assuredness increase. These feelings definitely carry over into the rest of my life and activities and have benefitted me greatly. I used to be extremely shy and feel like I needed a lot of praise to feel good about myself. Now, I have developed these feelings internally and I don’t have to seek them outwardly. I believe this makes me more fun to be around, and also allows me to motivate others to achieve this for themselves.
- Consistency and Discipline
To make any progress in physical fitness, one must develop the discipline to consistently adhere to a routine. This consistency and self-discipline will inevitably bleed over into other areas of your life. There is nothing negative that can come from being more disciplined and consistent.
Following some kind of weight lifting routine or fitness regimen is a sure-fire way to become disciplined and this will improve all the other aspects of your life. This does not mean that one has to be obsessed with fitness or be in the gym for hours a day. An hour three times a week is a great goal and will still allow for the development of a consistent routine and the discipline to make substantial physical progress.
In addition, going for walks with the family or participating in other active pursuits can strengthen family bonds and is far superior than wasting time staring at a television or other screen which breeds familial disconnection and so many of the modern ills that work to destroy family coherence and bonding. Being physically fit makes the likelihood of engaging in physical activities much more probable and therefore provides increased opportunities for wholesome fun.
- Following a healthy diet
Since a good diet is one of the keys to good fitness, lifting weights will undoubtedly lead to an increased awareness of what is being eaten on a regular basis. Who wants to work hard in the gym only to ruin the fruits of that labor with poor dietary choices? This is another way that a fit woman is a benefit not only to herself but to her whole family.
A woman who is working hard to lift weights and achieve fitness goals is likely to not bring her family McDonalds or other junk food to eat. While she is conscious of what she is using to fuel her body she will be increasingly conscious of what she is feeding her family as well. Everyone will benefit from a diet that is more balanced and higher in protein and healthy carbohydrates. Freshly prepared healthy meals are a must for success in weightlifting and they will benefit the health of everyone else as well.
Since I put a lot of effort into the gym, I’ve also put a lot more effort into the kitchen. Planning meals becomes a lot more meaningful when you are thinking about how you can fuel your body for great recovery after workouts, or to reach a goal you’ve set as far as weight or body fat percentage. Thinking more about food means I make a lot healthier dietary choices and pay attention to macro nutrients. With tools like MyFitnessPal, there is no excuse not to be more conscious of the food being consumed and the caloric intake as well as the amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Apps make these things easier than ever and its fun to see what you are eating and track your progress. There really is no excuse not to since it is easier than it has ever been.
- Being an example to the next generation
One of the most important roles a woman can play is being a great example for the next generation. Embodying the values of self-confidence, strength, competence, discipline and healthy eating makes a woman priceless as an example to the next generation. In short, physical activity such as lifting weights will not only benefit an individual woman immensely, but her whole family as well. Having a fit mother and wife is a boon to a family, and a strong family is the fundamental unit of a strong society.
I have had friends tell me that I’ve inspired them to make progress in the gym. I’ve given people I know a feeling they can achieve things for themselves by leading by example. I have a lot of satisfaction in knowing that I can live my life in a way that can help others to improve theirs.