Muscular does not equal masculinity

A common thing I hear at the gym is that women do not want to lift weights because it will “make them bulky”. In our society particularly, women are expected to look and behave that align with certain standards. Unfortunately, the “lifting weights makes you manly” idea seems to be a concept that has been around for a while (and in my opinion needs to be erased). Advertisements and media promote women to “look good” rather than promoting positive self image, feeling good, and being strong & healthy.

Not only does weight lifting and exercising improve lean body composition, but it also promotes a larger calorie burn throughout the day.

Powerful chemicals called endorphins are also released while you exercise which can help combat depression, PMS, or even just make you feel better on a gloomy day.

Resistance training and weight lifting is important for women to improve bone density.

Unfortunately, women have a higher predisposition to osteoporosis as we age due to our chemical and hormonal make up. Adding regular weight lifting and strength training into your exercise regimen can help strengthen your skeleton and reduce your risks for fractures.

What weightlifting did to my own self image

Even from a young age, I never met society’s standard of skinny. As I entered my teens, I thought that doing a ton of cardio and eating chicken and green beans every meal was my ticket to finally being “in shape”. For years I tried many very restrictive diets with high emphasis on long cardio sessions which eventually caused a metabolic nightmare every time I even looked in the direction of a carbohydrate. 

In my twenties, I started seriously lifting in the gym.

I noticed my arms and legs looked better even when the scale didn’t change much. I had more energy throughout the day. I looked forward to exercise and I felt strong, confident, and powerful doing it. Growing up I never thought I was “athletic” because I did not play competitive sports.

Now, I am confident enough to try new things such as yoga, rock climbing, rollerblading, and I even competed in a figure competition. Weightlifting has helped me break down personal limitations-both mental and physical- and made me a better, well-rounded, more self-assured woman.

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About the Author: 

Alli Riddering, DPT

Women's Health, Orthopedics and Pediatrics

Alli received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Governors State University and was nominated by the faculty for the Alpha Eta Honor Society (Allied Health Professionals). 

Alli first became interested in physical therapy in grade school after she witnessed her aunt graduating and becoming a PT. She honed a deeper understanding of the human body and a passion for the profession while earning a degree in biology from Purdue University.  

She has a keen interest in understanding the full nature of her patients’ injuries, then utilizing proven therapies that lead to recovery and improved function for them. Alli has a special interest in Women's Health and pelvic rehabilitation. 

She also enjoys participating in fitness and nutrition programs herself and she spends significant time each week working out.  She also loves to travel, dining out at new places, and experiencing the outdoors (especially when the weather is nice).