Lifting for PCOS

On a regular basis I receive an email from The PCOS Diva. Skimming through February's newsletter, I came across an article that instantly caught my eye, Treat PCOS naturally with Strength Training. I encourage you to read the article in it's entirety as it goes over some of the basics of what Strength Training is and what it looks like. However, I'm going to dive into the meat of the article by Ericka Volk and give you her points on why it helps women with PCOS, specifically.

Something I didn't realize until I read the article was that strength training reduces insulin resistance! This is great news, as this is one of my major symptoms of PCOS. Volk says, "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. Studies have not only observed this change in healthy women, but have also seen type II diabetics improve their insulin sensitivity through regular strength training."

"Muscles fight belly fat. Excess belly fat puts us at risk for PCOS complications like high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome. Strength training does a much better job of fighting abdominal fat. A University of Pennsylvania study found that overweight or obese women, ages 24 to–44, who were assigned to an hour of weight training twice a week reduced their proportion of body fat by nearly 4%."
Since I've started lifting the scale hasn't tipped majorly one way or the other, but I have toned up quite a bit and wear smaller sizes then what most people would think if they knew my actual weight. 

"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.)" My mom has been pestering me about getting my cholesterol checked because I eat a lot of egg whites, but egg whites contain 0 cholesterol! And lifting that iron, should help me with whatever  I'm taking in!

"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 in order 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!" It's been much easier to lose weight while weight lifting than it has been for me to put it on.

"Strength training is empowering. PCOS has a tendency to ravage our self-esteem. Strength training is the antidote! Once I stopped focusing on my PCOS and started focusing on getting stronger, my attitude did a 180 degree turn. I went from feeling defeated to feeling empowered, plus I started looking better and had more energy.  I am convinced that building muscle is good for the soul!" I agree with Erika, I've never felt more confident about how I look than when I started weight lifting.

Check out the full article for the rest of Ericka's story and find out how to begin a strength training program!