Women, STOP Being Afraid to Lift Heavy!


Posted by Shannon McGoey

Jun 5, 2023


Let me guess, some unnamed people have ingrained in your brain that lifting heavy, or lifting weights at all, will make you “bulky”. I’m here to tell you that’s BS, and it’s time women take command of the weight floor.

There are so many benefits of weight lifting, and many of those benefits will probably
align with your fitness goals.

1. Increase bone density
By putting stress on your skeletal system, resistance training can help increase bone
density and bone mass (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018). In turn,
this strengthens your skeletal system and reduces risk of osteoporosis. Especially for
older adults, weight-bearing exercises are vital to health and longevity.

2. Burn body fat
Trade in your hours of cardio for a resistance workout. Over time, your body adapts to
the demands of its environment- so if you’ve been doing 60 minutes a day on the
stairmaster for months, chances are your progress is in a lull. Your body adapts to your
routine, which is why switching to resistance training and implementing the principle of
progressive overload can be super beneficial for getting you out of a rut.

3. Boost your metabolism
Heavy resistance training has been shown to contribute to higher levels of excess
post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)(Myzone, 2020). In sum, this means that even
after your workout, your body is still burning calories and working to recover from the
stress of your lift.

4. Tone up
Contrary to popular belief, there’s really no difference between exercising to “tone” and
doing cardio and resistance training. “Toning” is essentially losing fat and gaining
muscle. Trying to achieve a more toned physique through cardio exercise only is
ineffective. Try pairing a 45-minute resistance workout with 30 minutes of
moderate-intensity cardio five days a week while maintaining a caloric deficit, and you
will see results.

5. Increase your confidence
Gone are the days of women “minding their business” on the cardio floor. Learning how
to use machines, and especially free-weights, increases your perceived self-efficacy,
which will in turn improve your self-confidence. If the weight floor intimidates you, try
asking a female staff-person at the club to show you some of the equipment or give you a
few tips. At Merritt, our trainers are more than happy to give you an equipment
orientation to get you feeling confident in your training.

Myzone. (2020, April 15). (EPOC) excess post-exercise oxygen consumption explained.
(EPOC) Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption Explained. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Exercise for your bone health.
National Institutes of Health. Retrieved April 5, 2023, from


Shannon McGoey, CPT is a personal trainer at Merritt Clubs Eldersburg.