Wellness Weekly: Why women should lift weights

Wellness Weekly: Why women should lift weights


And no, you won't end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger :)

One of the best things that the ladies can do for their health is something we are seeing more and more of in recent times....

It's getting in the gym, and lifting heavy.

I think it is fantastic for so many reasons.

However I understand why many women are reluctant to start.

Historically, strength training has been a male-dominated field; you only have to think of bodybuilders up on stage trying to look as good as they can - think the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and the like.

This belief has led many women to think that they will become too 'bulky' and 'muscular' like a man – which biologically is nearly impossible anyway.

But what is great about modern science (coupled with many people's personal experience) is that we are now seeing the benefits of strength training that go way beyond what it does to a person aesthetically.

Sure, having big arms or prominent glutes is cool.

But do you know what is cooler?

Being able to bulletproof your body, offset muscle loss as we age, build our cardiovascular system and build strong bones.

And why is this so important for women? Because of the key stage of life that all women will go through: menopause.

Menopause is a stage of life that all women go through - which brings physical and biological challenges.

Lifting heavy

Many symptoms of menopause can be managed by strength training - as shown in this really cool systematic review (a review of lots of available data).

To quote the authors, they said that "strength exercises can be beneficial for improving menopausal symptoms that affect muscle performance in general, physical activity, bone density and hormonal and metabolic responses such as heart rate, blood pressure and hot flashes".

I think this should be front page news - given the challenges that women have to face at that stage of life.

If there is a tool they can lean into that is relatively accessible, shouldn't this be known on a much wider scale?

Another incredibly important aspect of lifting weights is its effect on improving bone density – that being the strength of bone and how likely it is to break.

How could this potentially impact women?

Because menopause sees women's risk of osteoporosis – the weaking of bone structure – increase dramatically.

To potentially offset this – lifting weights is a must for women.

A paper from 2015 looking at Primary Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women stated that in order to assist in prevention of bone fragility in menopause, "Calcium and vitamin D should be taken as basic nutritional supplements. Adjustment of lifestyle such as regular exercise, quitting smoking and alcohol, and strategies for prevention of falls can also play a vital role".

A further nod to the benefit of exercise.

The benefits of strength training are well-documented - and a key tool for women post-menopause

So what does this look like?

Admittedly if you are yet to lift weights, the gym can seem like an intimidating place to spend a lot of time.

The good news is that you don't need to be there all day, every day.

Just 3 sessions ranging from 45mins - 1 hour are a great place to start building strength and bone density.

That could look like a lower body/upper body/cardio split, or another routine that works best for you.

The best thing to do really is just start.

Perhaps that might see you getting a trainer, using the myriad of online programs that are out there, or even buddy up with a friend.

But one thing is for sure – lifting weights is one of the best strategies for the maintenance of female health in the long term, and something that I think all ladies should definitely consider adding into their routine.

And if you want some inspiration, check out a recent Instagram post I did reviewing just how positive an impact being in the gym can have for aging well.

Stay well,


For more information on strength training and how to get the most out of it while on a plant-based diet, click the link below for my ultimate guide.

Optimising fitness & protein on a plant-based diet: the ultimate guide
How can you get the most out of your training and fitness on a plant-based diet? Read on to find out more.