By Kennison Lay
Contrary to the widely accepted gender divide at the gym, (and you all know how we feel about gender-divided anything!) the free weights section in the gym isn’t reserved for buff, grunting male body builders chugging protein shakes any more than the cardio section is exclusive to women catching up on the daily drama of the Kardashian family. Truth is, incorporating some strength training into your exercise routine can be a fun and effective addition to anyone’s healthy lifestyle — here’s why:
1. It’s exciting!
Sure, there are people who love running 5 miles every day. However, for many women, hopping on the treadmill for 30 minutes a few times a week is a dreaded chore done simply out of habit. Strength training is a great break from the monotony of traditional cardio—with numerous muscle groups to target and tons of variations for each exercise, no workout need ever be exactly the same.
2. It’s empowering.
Do yourself a favor and try doing bicep curls surrounded by brawny dudes in front of a mirror just once and tell me that you don’t feel like a total badass. Heading into the free weight section doesn’t need to be intimidating — hold your head high, pick up those dumbbells, and show the grunting horde of sweaty men who’s boss!
3. It’s practical.
Whether you’re struggling to carry a week’s worth of groceries in one trip, walking up to your 7th story apartment during a power outage, or giving your niece a piggy back ride, regular strength training can help make every day tasks just a little bit easier.
4. It’s good for your body-image.
Strength training has the added benefit of helping redirect your body’s value towards what it can do, rather than what it looks like or how much it weighs. Take pride in adding those 2 pounds to your bench press, holding a plank for that extra 10 seconds, or going down that much lower in your squats.
The next time you find yourself gearing up for a 30-minute slog on the elliptical, try venturing into your gym’s free weight section to experience all of these benefits (and more) for yourself!