Plenty of women care about staying in shape, but did you know that strength training is the best way to do so? Muscle mass is key in keeping extra weight and belly fat off our bodies. Mitch Shooks, Dr. Bitner’s personal trainer as well as founder and owner of GRIP Center in Grand Rapids, joined us for this week’s Let’s Chat to discuss the importance of strength training for women in building and maintaining muscle. The more muscle mass women maintain through menopause, the less their risk of serious illnesses such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
Dr. Bitner admitted she was hesitant to start weight training, preferring more leisurely activities like bike riding, but noticed how much better she felt after each training session with Mitch. Weight training is one of the most efficient ways to reach your fitness goals.
Why Muscle Matters
We put together a list of the top ten reasons why muscle matters and strength training for women is vital.
10. It reduces the risk of falling, and a bad fall can be catastrophic for your overall health and independence.
9. It improves coordination and the stronger bones make breaks less likely if you do fall.
8. Weight training improves body structure, from fat distribution to posture.
7. When we feel good and energized, we’re more likely to do things that burn calories.
6. It increases libido and boosts confidence.
5. Bone strength and mass increase as we build muscle.
4. Mobility increases, and women find themselves with less body pain.
3. Women with muscle mass actually produce more amino acids, which fight infection and better tolerate cancer treatment.
2. Levels of insulin resistance are improved, as the body starts to store more calories in muscle rather than in fat cells.
1. The number one reason strength training for women is important? It lets you do the things you love, longer.
Our Fitness Tips for You
Dr. B has some advice for women who want to improve their physical health through exercise. First, know your numbers: fat percentage and muscle percentage. Weight isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Second, decide on an activity you enjoy to build muscle. Don’t forget to study up on the proper form to avoid injury. Tip number three, identify your barriers to your goals or to getting started. Four put your workouts on your schedule. It helps you stick to it. Lastly, give yourself recovery days to stretch and relax. Days off are vital!
Five Questions for Your Provider
Dr. Bitner always gives us five questions relevant to the topic to ask our primary healthcare physician.
- What is your phase of ovarian function?
- What is your muscle mass and body fat percentage?
- How would more muscle mass improve your risk factors?
- How would building muscle help you feel better?
- What is your bone density?
Don’t Let Intimidation Stop Your Exercise
Some women hesitate to go into a gym because they imagine it will be full of sweaty, hulk-like men, or they feel fear and embarrassment and the notion of being seen doing their workout as a beginner. There is a gym out there that’s perfect for you! Mitch sees an incredibly diverse population at his gym, and the people there are all incredibly helpful and non-judgemental. Mitch recommends two sessions a week to maintain muscle mass, and around four to build it. It is never too late to start training. You can pick start buffing up for the first workout at ninety years old.
You Can Reach Your Goals, Even in Menopause!
It’s normal for women in midlife to struggle with their weight or with “menopause belly.” We are losing estrogen which impacts our insulin sensitivity, we’re stressed out and dealing with increased cortisol. It’s not an easy battle, but it’s one you can accomplish! By figuring out what works best for each unique person, the staff at true. will help you discover what your barriers are and what exercises are best for you. If you are looking for a trainer, we’d be happy to refer you to a gym in your area! We hope you learned a lot from this Let’s Chat, and hopefully discovered the important power of flex appeal.