I watched Olympic weightlifting, in particular the women, with far greater interest than I ever have before. Until I began weightlifting, which was about a year ago, I barely had a clue of what it was. Weightlifting in my mind back then was something overly-muscled meatheads did. For years I thought that in order to get fit and healthy, all I had to do was eat sensibly and do a lot of cardio. Hello running, elliptical, and aerobics class!
A whole lot of cardio and a relatively good diet only got me so far. I still had stomach rolls (even when I was down to my lowest weight) and I found the hours of cardio rather tedious, not to mention unsustainable to my lifestyle. Whenever I got too busy at work and had to cut back on going to the gym, the pounds came on quickly. After seeing the numerous vacation photos of me looking a little too plump for my liking, I desperately knew I had to change what I was doing. My biggest problem was that I often got bored with exercising. The mind-numbing hours on a treadmill or elliptical often defeated my best intentions.
One day I saw this XKCD comic on Fitocracy. Fitocracy is a fun social networking site based around fitness. The premise of Fitocracy is that it treats exercise as a Real Life Role-playing Game. You log in your activities and it awards you points. Those points accumulate and once you obtain a certain number of points, you level up. I like Fitocracy for a number of reasons: 1) it’s a great and easy way to track your workout, 2) getting internet points is fun and addictive, 3) great community of supportive people to interact with, and 4) I learn a lot about health and fitness. If you’re interested, you can become a member here.
Thanks to Fitocracy I learned about the importance of weightlifting for women. Weightlifting, for me, is a crucial part of my fitness and I think it’s such a pity that so many women are intimidated or ignorant about weightlifting. I know because I was one of those women. There are several benefits to weightlifting: 1) effective way of losing fat (vs. simply losing water weight), 2) getter stronger, 3) builds stronger bones (reduces risk of osteoporosis), 4) increases metabolism, 5) helps with performance in endurance sports, 6) benefits your cardiovascular system, 7) improves cognitive functions, and of course 8) there are psychological benefits as well, such as reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Don’t be afraid to go to the weight training room/section of the gym and lift heavy!