Any exercise improves how your body functions so you’ll respond better and more quickly to the changes you’re making in your diet. If you have PCOS, this is a big deal because our genetic makeup makes us resistant to losing weight.
Of all the types of exercise, strength training causes more positive changes to a PCOS body than any other type of workout. In fact, these changes can improve PCOS symptoms even if you are a lean woman living with PCOS.
What exactly is Strength Training?
You may envision dumbbells and barbells when you hear the words strength training, but that is just one of several ways you can strength train. You can use kettlebells, resistance bands, sandbags, and even your own bodyweight to strength train.
No matter what type of strength training you choose to do, it is essential that you keep challenging yourself by following a program that progresses in difficulty. Why? Because the body adapts to exercise and needs to be constantly challenged in order to continue to grow and change.
Basically, strength training improves your body’s day to day functioning. Many of the physiological adaptations created by regular strength training are extremely beneficial for women with PCOS.
How does strength training help women with PCOS?
Strength training reduces insulin resistance.
Progressive strength training will increase the size of your skeletal muscle and can enhance the muscles’ ability to manage glucose. Researchers believe that these adaptations result in increased insulin sensitivity. Since insulin resistance is at the heart of PCOS, increasing your insulin sensitivity can help you manage your weight and possibly improve fertility!
Muscles fight belly fat
Your body dislikes belly fat almost as much as you hate seeing it poke out over your jeans. Excess belly fat puts us at risk for PCOS complications like high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome. In an effort to tame tummy flab, many women gravitate toward exercises like crunches that target the abdominal muscles, but they would see better results from a pair of dumbbells and some squats! Strength training does a much better job of fighting abdominal fat.
Weight lifters carry less cholesterol
Studies on both healthy women and women with type II diabetes have demonstrated a clear connection between strength training and lower LDL’s (bad cholesterol.)
Having more muscle will help tip the scale
…In the right direction! The metabolism stoking effects of muscle can help you lose fat. Muscle is metabolically active, which means it burns calories to sustain itself. Every bit of muscle you gain will increase the number of calories you burn each day, thus making it easier to lose weight and keep it off!
Start doing those squats, lunges, push-ups, burpees, planks and lift some weights-don’t worry, you won’t bulk up. That was also a fear of mine until I learned that you first need to lose body fat before you start looking like Johnny Bravo…and that takes time.
I was saved by the bells…kettlebells. I loved working out with kettlebells as they’re didn’t seem as intimidating as barbells and I was also able to track my strength and challenge myself by upgrading my weights. The 1st time I started, an 8kg kettlebell was torture. Then I progressed to a 10 kg because I was getting stronger and then a 12. A 16 was a bit ambitious at times but a definite for deadlifts. 9 months later I was swinging a 20kg…sadly I am back on 16 but slowly working my way back up to 20 – this is what happens when you get too comfy with Zumba lol. Look out for my kettlebell workout DVD especially for you soon-soon…will keep you posted.