The fitness industry can be confusing, particularly for those who are just beginning their journey. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there and fitness marketing for women can be especially bad. This can turn people off before they’ve had a chance to get started on their goals.
I’ve put this article together to dispel some of the common myths with regards to women and strength training.
We’ll cover 3 misconceptions that need to be banished forever and finish with a summary of the amazing extra benefits to strength training.
The 3 Myths:
• I'll Get Bulky from Lifting
• Cardio Is Better for Weight Loss
• It Takes Too Long
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This is the most common concern with regards to training females. I’ll cut straight to it – you WILL NOT get big or bulky lifting weights.
It’s harder for women to build muscle as they don't have the same hormone profile as men so don’t be afraid of the dumbbells. Resistance training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and increase muscle. A regular routine will help you build a body that’s lean and toned, not bulky.
And you’ll get stronger too. Moving furniture, lifting children, carrying luggage or shopping are taxing. The stronger you are, the easier they become.
Something to Consider: It is excess body fat makes you feel 'bulky', not too much muscle. Note that 1 pound of lean muscle mass takes up approximately 20% less space in the body than 1 pound of fat. So, if you lose 5 pounds of fat and gain 5 pounds of muscle, the scale will remain the same, but your body size will decrease.
While cardio does have its place, it’s not necessary to elicit weight loss. If the thought of a treadmill or bike fills you with dread, know that you can torch all the body fat you desire without stepping foot on a cardio machine ever again*.
A weight training programme will help maintain the muscle you have while burning the layer of fat on top. It will increase your EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis) meaning you’ll continue to torch calories long after your session is over.
If you like running, cycling, aerobics, or Zumba, etc, then that’s cool. I’ll always say the best exercise to do is the one you enjoy the most as you'll be more inclined to continue with it long-term.
But if you’re doing them for weight loss and you’re not getting results you want, then why not give the weights a try? I guarantee you’ll be delighted with the difference it makes.
Knowledge Bomb: If your goal is ONLY to lose weight then you don’t need to strength train or do cardio. Get your diet on point and you can get fat loss without any exercise. BUT, if you want to be healthier and look & feel better, then I highly recommend resistance training.
*Hate cardio? Check out my other article - '15 Alternative Ways to Get Lean' here.
You don’t need to hit the gym every other day in order to get results. Provided you're following the correct routine a few hours a week is all you need to transform your body.
An effective fat burning workout can be done in just 30 minutes a day. Make time for 3 or 4 sessions in your weekly schedule and you won't be asking 'where can I find the time for exercise?' but 'why didn't I start this sooner?'.
And you don’t even need a gym membership. Try out a bodyweight routine at home to get the ball rolling. When you're ready to progress to the next level you can invest in some dumbbells. This will enable you to burn hundreds of calories from the comfort of your front room while building a lean physique you can be proud of.
The research shows people who are physically active enjoy more restful sleep and are less prone to suffer from insomnia and sleep apnoea.
A common cause of bad posture is weak muscles, mainly in the upper back. Strengthening these areas will not only improve your posture but prevent muscle imbalances and potential injuries. Your overall physique will appear more balanced too.
Increased Bone Density
Strength training can prevent bone loss and in some cases, even build new bone. This can decrease the chance of injuries and fractures due to osteoporosis as we age. Get lifting to retain your strength, stability and confidence in later years.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
Strength training is beneficial for brain health and cognition. It helps to fight depression, elevate your mood and decrease levels of anxiety. You literally protect the brain against degeneration by exercising. And if work or family life gets a bit much, there's no better way to de-stress than by working out.
A Better Sex Life
If you look good you feel good and that confidence will transfer to the bedroom. And it goes without saying, the fitter you are the better you'll perform between the sheets.
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