More women, individuals should consider weightlifting

Sabrina Snowberger, Staff Columnist

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Although I tried many sports as a kid – including, but not limited to, ballet, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, tennis and volleyball – I have never been very athletic or coordinated. As a result of this, I have never really enjoyed working out either. I dreaded dragging myself to the gym to do an hour of cardio, while I listened to the same playlist for the millionth time and stared aimlessly out of the gym window.

Of course, cardio isn’t the only option at the gym. There are group classes, recreational sports and weightlifting. Because of my lack of athleticism and grace, I was always too scared to venture into the weight room at the gym, even if it was just to do something simple like bicep curls. I would have had no idea what to do with myself and would have worried that I was doing everything wrong.

This summer, I decided to begin weightlifting. I was extremely scared and reluctant at first, but luckily I had my boyfriend, who is an aspiring bodybuilder, to give me guidance. At first, I was so weak I could barely do anything. But I committed myself to getting better, and over the last six months, I have made huge gains and I am one of the strongest girls at my gym.

Unfortunately, every time I am at the gym, I can’t help but notice how outnumbered women are. For every 10 guys, there is probably one girl. While I can understand that many girls have rational reasons for not wanting to venture into the weight area, like being self-conscious about their form or wanting to avoid being around a bunch of beefy guys who may try to start unwanted conversations, I believe more women should give weightlifting a shot.

There are so many reasons that weightlifting is a more beneficial way to exercise than cardio for anybody, regardless of who they are. For one, cardio can only build muscle within a limited number of muscle groups, mainly in the legs. According to an article on, while cardio can burn more calories in a short period of time, weightlifting will ultimately burn more calories over time, because it increases the metabolism for up to 48 hours, whereas cardio only does so for 30-60 minutes following the workout. Not only this, but putting on additional muscle mass helps us burn calories more easily just going about our daily lives.

No matter how much fat you burn off doing cardio, your body will still look more contoured if the remaining fat on your body has muscle to contour itself to. My personal favorite part of weightlifting has to do with a concept called progressive overload. In weightlifting, progressive overload describes the continual increase in demand put on the body by either adding more weight or doing more repetitions. Working constantly to add more weight and do more reps gives me something to strive toward, which makes weightlifting far more exciting than cardio to me.

I encourage everyone who hasn’t already to give weightlifting a try. Try to put misconceptions about the activity behind you. Not everyone in the weight room is a scary, aggressive meathead on steroids. And if you aren’t trying to get big and bulky arms, don’t worry – you won’t. Unless you drastically increase your caloric intake and start lifting super heavy weights every day of the week, the size of your muscles won’t grow out of control. Weightlifting is all about tailoring your routine to meet your personal goals.