Weightlifting is one of the most important things a woman can do for her health. It provides many benefits from increased strength, to increased bone mineral density which makes it an important component of health across the lifespan. What many people don’t realize is just how important weightlifting is for mental health, particularly when it comes to body image.
Admittedly 8 out of 10 women are unhappy with their appearance but only 5% of women in the U.S will achieve the media’s ideal standard of being “thin”. This “idealized” body is often unhealthy and unattainable without drastic and severe measures. The media images of glamorized emaciation, sex appeal and objectification smother the magazines, the billboards, the TV, the products we buy. They send the message that we need to look like these perfect, photo-shopped, airbrushed celebrities and models or that whatever we currently have is lacking and we must do something to fix ourselves. It is a constant game of trying to prove oneself but always falling short when we chase these kinds of standards.
A combination of the sociocultural pressures and body image perceptions can be very impactful in determining exercise habits. When it comes to body image, many people have the misconception that more cardio equates to more fat loss. This leads them to believe that weightlifting will make them “thicker” or more “bulky” which simply isn’t true. When we constantly chase a physique goal, we are never truly satisfied and at the same time are sending the internal message that who we are in the current moment isn’t good enough. It perpetuates a vicious cycle that leads to worsening body image and often disordered patterns of eating and overexercising.
Studies have demonstrated that women who strength train not only build stamina and strength but also build self efficacy and have reported improvements in health, body image, anxiety and quality of life. The act of focusing on form, technique and performance measures makes weightlifting less of a means to an end and more of a process-oriented art. This shifts the mindset away from one of lack to one of possibility and growth.
When we get outside of our comfort zone and overcome it leads to feeling strong, both mentally and physically which translates to other areas of our life. Weightlifting is a catalyst for many women to find body satisfaction and confidence in themselves. If you are unsure of where to get started we have amazing programs at Prototype Training Systems.
We are excited to have Prototype Empowered which offers education, fitness, and nutrition resources geared towards women’s health. We also have an amazing weightlifting program, the Prototype Barbell Club run by Head Coach Joe Black and our Personal Training Services which offer a myriad of programs geared to help participants become stronger and more confident.
If you are interested in learning more about the mind/body benefits of weightlifting and wish to get started on your own journey towards better health and body satisfaction, use the link below to book a Free No Sweat intro OR reach out to Leah by e-mail at Leah@CrossFitprototype.comand we will be happy to have a conversation to help you!