Do you think lifting weights is just for men? Aren’t you better off doing hours of aerobic exercise? Think again because women can gain significant benefits from weight training and it won’t make you bulky! A lot of females go to the gym and use the aerobic machines to achieve the body shape and fitness they are seeking.
This is fine, but a good fitness program for anyone – male or female – should have balance between all the training modalities. What a lot of women leave out is strength or weights training. We think this is a big mistake!
Now you might think strength training is just for men, or maybe you’re worried that you’ll bulk up if you lift weights. But in reality strength training reduces body fat, increases lean muscle mass, gives you shape, increases tone and definition, provides numerous mental benefits, wards off osteoporosis, and even helps your body burn calories more efficiently. Wow, what a fantastic training tool!
You don’t need to worry about bulking up – you’ll actually look thinner because your muscles will be more toned. And increased lean muscle mass will provide you with a bigger “engine” to burn calories so even on days when you don’t work out you’ll be burning more energy! Females can definitely benefit from weights training.
Strength training will help you:
* Increase your strength and stability: strong muscles enhance your ability to move and lift things. Your aerobic workouts will be more effective because with extra strength you can work harder.
* Maintain and increase your bone mineral density: working your body with weights increases bone density and decreases your risk of osteoporosis. When bone is stressed appropriately through muscle movement, it gets stronger.
* Control body fat by boosting your metabolic rate: when you lose muscle, your body gradually becomes less efficient at burning calories. That’s because muscle burns three times more calories than fat does. The more muscle mass your body has, the more efficiently and quickly it burns calories, even when you’re at rest.
* Reduce your risk of injury: building muscle protects your joints from injury during aerobic exercise and in normal daily activities. Strength training also helps protect your lower back and keep it healthy.
* Improve your overall body image: studies suggest that women who strength train feel more self-confident and have an improved body image.
Still not convinced?! Consider the alternative – if you don’t use your muscles, you lose your muscles. Your lean muscle mass diminishes with age, and your muscles will actually shrink if they’re not used. This is especially important for older women and osteoporosis risk because resistance training decreases your risk of falls, increases your bone density, and increases your general strength and stability
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 tbsp chunky mango chutney
1 tbsp medium curry powder
4 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp sunflower oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
7 oz basmati rice
4 tbsp chopped coriander
lime wedges, to serve (optional)
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a baking tray with foil. Cut a horizontal pocket in each chicken breast, taking care not to cut all the way through to the other side. Stuff with the mango chutney, then seal the pocket closed around the chutney with a cocktail stick.
Mix the curry powder and 2 tsp cumin seeds with 3 tsp oil, then brush all over the chicken. Place on the baking tray and roast for 25-30 mins until cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil and fry the onions for 6-8 mins until golden. Add remaining cumin, bay and cinnamon then cook, stirring, for 1 min. Stir in the rice. Pour over 450ml boiling water, add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, stir and cover. Reduce heat; simmer for 15 mins.
Remove bay and cinnamon, stir in coriander and serve with the chicken.