4 Myths About Weight Training for Women
Many women decide to stick with cardio programs because of myths they have heard about weight training for women. Other women weight train but are disappointed with their results because of what they believed to be true only to find out it was not. Let’s explore four myths that prevent people from achieving their fitness results.
1. “I don’t’ want to bulk up.”
This truly is a myth in that it is impossible for women to get bulky regardless of how much weight lifting they do. It just isn’t going to happen. Why? Because to do so, requires a level of testosterone that is far above what women normally have – eight to 10 times more. Even women bodybuilders have a hard time bulking up and many resort to taking steroids or testosterone supplements. Put that fear to rest and start lifting.
2. “I don’t want to lift a lot of weight.”
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, weight lifting doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weight. Actually it should be called resistance training as it can be done with anything that imposes an increasing demand on your muscles. Instead of weights, some people use resistance bands, which are just as effective and come in varying levels of resistance. The beauty of them is you can take them with you without adding much weight to your luggage – an important consideration when traveling by air today.
3. “I just want to tone up.”
Toning up in a specific area is the same as spot-reducing which is a myth in itself. It isn’t impossible. What is possible though is to burn off some fat all over your body through cardio training and increasing the muscle size in that area slightly with strength training that targets those particular muscles, therefore making you look as if you just toned up.
4. “I want to turn fat into muscle.”
Because muscle cells and fat cells are completely different, it is impossible to convert one into the other. What can happen, as noted in the previous myth, is that you do both cardio and weight lifting, you will burn fat and add a little muscle at the same time making it look like you indeed did turn fat into muscle.
The other is also not true -if you stop exercising muscle will turn to fat. Here you are losing muscle mass (from non-use) and adding fat from eating more calories than you are burning.
Now that these four myths are put to bed, get out and start strength training. Whether you use free weights, weight machines or resistance bands, the point is to mix in at least two days (non-consecutively) into your workout schedule to get the body you desire or the body back that you once had.
Another common BIG myth is “Why Women Shouldn’t Just Stick to Light Weights”
One common misconception is that women should stick to lifting lightweight dumbbells and leave the heavy lifting to the men. One reason this misconception manages to prevail is that many people still believe a woman will “bulk up” like a man is she lifts the same heavy weights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reason men are able to bulk up is due to the high level of testosterone in their systems. Women have eight to 10 times less than men; if men had the same amount as women, they would not bulk up either regardless of how much they lifted.
By women lifting heavier weights, it naturally encourages the release of testosterone and the growth hormone, both of which are required to build lean muscle and burn fat. However, building lean muscle in women means toning and firming existing muscle and adding just a touch of mass.
Lifting Strategies for Women
We know a women’s weight lifting routine should involve lifting weight, but different amounts, reps and sets will produce different results. By lifting heavy weight one to five reps, you’ll build strength. But lift moderately heavy for six to 15 reps and you’ll build shape and definition. Lift lighter weights for more than 15 reps per set and you’ll build endurance which is something you also want if training for a triathlon or other endurance event.
If you are new to weight lifting, start out lifting lighter weight for lots of repetitions. Not only will it help you build endurance, but it will give you a better feel on how to properly do the weighted exercise, before you start getting to the heavy weight. Once comfortable, start adding weight and cutting back on the number of reps.
Technique is Critical
In the last paragraph we mentioned learning how to do exercises correctly by first using light weights. The value of knowing how to do it right not only works the muscles intended to be worked from that exercise the right way, but by lifting correctly, you reduce the chance of a debilitating injury that could put you down for days, weeks or even end your lifting career.
If you want to get that sexy, lean, toned body that you have always dreamed about, then walk over to the “men’s” weight area and start lifting. You have nothing to lose but body fat and everything to gain in muscle toning and definition.