The Workout You Should Be Doing But Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

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There’s this myth in the fitness world that weightlifting (aka strength training) will make you bulky if you’re a woman, and the fear of “bulking up” is what keeps a lot of women from picking up a barbell. But that’s all it is—a myth. Unless you’re mainlining protein and training like a CrossFit Games athlete, it just isn’t going to happen.

Lifting heavier weights at lower repetitions isn’t going to turn you into The Rock because most women don’t have the level of anabolic hormones (like testosterone) to build giant muscles. Also, have you seen what The Rock eats in a day? It’s insane.

It’s time to let go of your fear of strength training. Here, five reasons to start lifting weights right now.

Grab A Barbell

Sure, cardio is great—but adding in a couple of days of weightlifting will help you burn even more fat. Studies have found that doing cardio results in loss of both fat and muscle, whereas strength training burns more body fat. Which leads us to our second point...

Strength training seriously improves your metabolism. Lean muscle improves your base metabolic rate, aka how much energy your body uses at rest. Read: The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during the day.

And you may have heard about this thing called "afterburn," where your body keeps burning calories at an increased rate long after your workout. Studies have shown that weight training can help you burn more calories up to 24 hours after you picked up that dumbbell. One study from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise even found that women who lifted heavy weights for low reps burned nearly double the amount of calories in the two hours post-workout than when they lifted light weights for more reps.

Yes, exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy, but new research has shown that resistance training may be even more beneficial for mental health. Studies have found that people experienced less anxiety after resistance training for six weeks.

It turns out your body creates two types of muscle: red and white. People who weight train have more white muscle than people who stick to cardio. Okay, so what does this even have to do with your blood sugar? Scientists at the University of Michigan found that white muscle is actually beneficial in keeping your blood sugar levels regulated.

Last but certainly not least, there's something ultra-empowering about weightlifting. Performing a personal-best deadlift will make you feel like Wonder Woman, and when your body is stronger, you feel it—both physically and mentally. Take it from this editor.